I have also: The Bible of Hell: which the world shall have whether they will or no.”
—William Blake

The Orphic Egg, from Bryant’s An Analysis of Ancient Mythology, 1774

Soon to Be Hatched:

A User’s Guide to People

Written by Terry Richard Bazes & Illustrated by Louis Netter

A User’s Guide to People is the indispensable guidebook to the time-honored art of using other people for personal advancement. Combining Celebrity-User quotes, contemporary satire, political incorrectness, outrageous illustrations and the structure of an inspirational how-to book, A User’s Guide to People is simply How to Win Friends and Influence People brought up to date for the Me-Generation.

If Machiavelli had been reborn as a smiling dentist, he would have written the User’s Guide to People. Purportedly written by a dentist named Max Smedlow* and subtitled “How to Feast on the Family of Mankind,” this “Essential Self-Help Book for the Undiscovered Celebrity” is presented to the reader as a feast: each chapter either discusses the decorum of formal dining or is devoted to a particular course or garnish of the meal.

  • “Hors D’Oeuvres,” for example, introduces the reader to the fundamental strategies that successful Users have employed since time immemorial. “Table Manners” teaches him the great importance of pleasing appearances.
  • “Grace” is a meditation on the “Zen of Me.”
  • “Soup” teaches the student how to use his family. (Read an illustrated Excerpt from the “Soup” chapter here.)
  • “Entrées” instructs him how to choose and use his friends, etc.
  • A User’s Guide to People culminates in dessert—a how-to-do-it discussion of the ultimate objective of the User’s art: the attainment of celebrity.

The publication of  A User’s Guide to People will be a significant event because the book will appeal to both the literary and the commercial markets and also create lucrative merchandising opportunities: “Me-First”™ bumper stickers, T shirts and coffee cups. Although the brief, mass market, impulse-purchase book has long become a commonplace in American bookstores, it has never before achieved its potential of reaching a broad commercial market while at the same time achieving genuine quality, both as literature and as visual art.

*Readers will recognize Max Smedlow as the hapless antihero of Lizard World.

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Contact the author directly to find out more about this work or to be placed on the list for a personalized copy upon publication.

About Louis Netter, Illustrator

Louis Netter is an illustrator, animator and designer whose work may be found in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The New York Historical Museum, the Library of Congress, and several other museums and university libraries. His illustrations have appeared in several magazines, including The Stranger, Stocks and Commodities, The Cimarron Review, Sub Terrain and many more; his social and political artwork has been collected in a disturbing little book entitled Life’s Too Short For Nuance. He currently teaches illustration at Portsmouth University in the UK.

Half of Netter’s illustrations for A User’s Guide to People are etchings—a fact that Netter finds particularly appropriate: for the acid he uses to engrave his mordant and astonishing images are the perfect complement to the Guide’s acidic prose.

Indeed, the text of the User’s Guide is a perfect match for the whole grotesque body of Netter’s work, which can be described as political commentary without politicians. For although he hasn’t shied away from drawing horrible politicians and their henchmen, Netter is much more interested in the impact of their political chicanery on the wilfully ignorant public. For him the circus of American politics is above all about the American people’s blind faith and the failure of their curiosity.

They are, in his words, “poor suckers”—and the User’s Guide (in the scathing satiric tradition of Hogarth and Swift) is the how-to handbook for duping them. As long as the crowd under the American big top stays fat, dumb and poorly read, Netter will continue to find inspiration in drawing them.

» See more of Louis’s illustrations on the A User’s Guide Excerpt page.

» Learn more about Louis and his work on his website, LouisNetter.com.