Friday, May 09, 2008

PLASTIC MAN: A Novel of the Sixties

And after a fairly long "glitch," we are back in business:

PLASTIC MAN: A Novel of the Sixties, by Dan Culberson, was published April 3, 2008, in both a hardcover and a softcover edition by Xlibris Corporation, a division of Random House Publishers.

This serio-comic story about college life at the University of Colorado in Boulder symbolizes the decade of the Sixties and has been called "a legitimate contender for the Great American Novel." A work of self-discovery and cultural analysis, the novel employs three different time schemes: The present describes the protagonist's journey after dropping out of college following a personal tragedy and hitchhiking from Colorado to California, the past describes his memories of his mostly comic experiences in college, and the future describes his musings of what happened to the country from the Sixties up to the present day.

Culberson was graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. degree in English literature in the Honors Program from the University of Colorado, was president of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and was also a member of the Phi Epsilon Phi sophomore men's honorary and the Hammers junior men's honorary. Classmates of his at C.U. and longtime residents of Boulder might very well recognize characters, events, and places depicted in the novel.Culberson was born in Carmel, CA, but grew up all over the U.S. and Europe. He has lived in Monterey, CA: Medford, OR; Lawton, OK (twice); Pampa, TX; Minot, ND; El Paso, TX; Tacoma, WA; Kennewick, WA; Erlangen, Germany; Lebanon, MO; Colorado Springs, CO (where he attended high school); Boulder, CO (where he attended college and now lives); and Heidelberg and Sindelfingen, Germany. He served three years in the U.S. Army, retired from IBM after a career in publications and is a writer, editor, and publisher who came of age in the Sixties, which he remembers quite well, and who continues to write, edit, live, and think in the mountains. He was named a Boulder Pacesetter in 1985 by the BOULDER DAILY CAMERA in the first year of that program and has been a film reviewer since 1972 for magazines, newspapers, radio and TV, whose current "Hotshots" reviews are on KGNU Public Radio in Boulder and Denver every week, as well as on TV and all over the Internet.

To order the novel directly from the publisher: 1-888-795-4274


Book page:

Author page:

PLASTIC MAN: A Novel of the Sixties

ISBN: 978-1-4363-2027-6 (Hardcover)

ISBN: 978-1-4363-2026-9 (Softcover)


Dan Culberson said...

The following is the first review I've found about my novel, which was posted on and

"The Perfect Novel for Baby Boomers"

PLASTIC MAN: A Novel of the Sixties by Dan Culberson is the perfect novel for Baby Boomers...and for anyone who has ever experienced the angst of burgeoning adulthood. It is a witty, engaging, and insightful account of college life in the 1960’s, an era in which tumultuous societal change mirrored the vicissitudes and emotional upheavals that have always characterized human adolescence.

Much like the protagonist in his quest to find redemption in the “huge vastness” and “spilling wonderment” of the sea, activists of the Sixties, appalled at perceived social injustices, sought a “sea change” in social policy and popular culture. Readers of PLASTIC MAN will follow Hud’s long journey (both emotionally and geographically) to the sea, and share in his disappointment/enlightenment when he finally glimpses his personal holy grail. Hud’s experience serves as a reminder that, while the hopes and dreams of the Baby Boomer generation eventually fell short of reality, there were invaluable lessons learned in the pursuit of those idealistic goals.

The story of PLASTIC MAN is told with humor and empathy. Those of us who came of age in the Sixties cannot fail to identify with the events and youthful emotions portrayed in the novel. Younger readers should note that, despite the many contrasts between the popular culture of the Sixties and that of later eras, it is the similarities that are more profound. If ever a novel illuminated the paradoxical truism that “the more things change, the more they stay the same," this is it. Human adolescents will always push the limits of authoritarian rules, agonize at the vicissitudes of young love, worry about grades, seek to “fit in” while standing out, and be traumatized by tragedies befalling their peers.

Many facets of this novel distinguish it from other fictionalized “coming-of-age in the Sixties” accounts. The author’s numerous glimpses forward illustrate clearly the specific ways in which popular culture has changed since the decade of the Sixties. The novel is peppered with amusing puns and word play, along with lingo and musical references that those of us who lived through the era will instantly recognize, perhaps with nostalgia for “the old days.” Moreover, there is an underlying mystery that keeps the reader keenly interested until the final pages of the novel.

If you read this book, one thing is for sure: The sentence "It' Saturday, by God!"will take on new and hilarious meaning. You'l have to read the book to find out why.

(Lynne Vigue is a free-lance writer based in Meriden, Connecticut.)


Dan Culberson said...

And here's what a fraternity brother of mine had to say about it:

"An Unsolicited Review"

Dan, I finished PLASTIC MAN, which I thoroughly enjoyed because of the style in which it was written, the memories it brought back of CU and of Fort Leonard Wood, and the cut-out-the-crap type of philosophizing.

(I don’t think I’ve had a thought about Waynesville in 40 years or so. Mentioning it in your book brought back some memories about a few buddies in basic and of a couple of nights out together, the details of which I would never dare pass along to my wife or daughter.)

If I wasn’t on the edge of senility, I’d memorize some of the paragraphs so I could gleefully repeat them at the next ‘cocktail party’ I attend, especially when some 65 year old woman wants to tell me why her life is now on track, finally, after reading the 26th or 27th self-help book.

A lot of the situations in our lives must have been similar and as I read along I thought to myself, “Now, why didn’t I think of saying that at the time?”

There IS a lot of bullshit in life and mostly it’s something I’ve just dealt with or put up with, albeit not always willingly, because I knew at the time it was in my best long-term interest to do so. (It happens when you’re working for someone else and need the money.) I appreciate the ways you must have handled it, or at least how you think about it now.

A few years ago I started volunteering in the ER, and that’s a good reality check. I’ve met about every kind of person in every kind of bad situation. It helps keep things in perspective.

Again, a great read. Thanks for letting me know it had been published.

(The writer is a fraternity brother of the PLASTIC MAN author and was a year ahead of him in college.)

Dan Culberson said...

After what seems to be much too long, my "Royalties Page" now shows an additional six books sold wholesale in June. Howver, because the novel has been listed for sale on the Internet in quantities up to 100 for both the hardcover and the softcover, I'm now convinced that what is listed as "Date Shipped" is really "Date Publisher Received Payment."

Dan Culberson said...

Comes now the third "review" that I've seen, which was posted on a "Baby Boomers" forum on the Internet:

"Flashback to the Early 60s"

PLASTIC MAN: A Novel of the Sixties is a flashback to the early 60s. The book follows its young protagonist through a series of adventures and friendships as he begins to peek upon adulthood. The main character, Hud, has quit school right before graduation and is making the trek to California to see the Pacific Ocean.

He has a few pauses here and there, items he doesn't understand, but quickly sweeps under the rug. His journey to see the ocean and the metaphor therein also becomes something he fights, while at the same time the longing confuses him. And then suddenly there he is, flatly confronted with the ocean's vastness.

Some parts of the book made me cry. Some parts were just irritating. Long drawn-out conversations with drunk friends did nothing for me, even if they were further exhibits of Hud's lack of personal advancement. I may have been reading too much into it, but the choice of the ocean as Hud's attempt to find something bigger than himself was very good. Even if he didn't understand it at the time, Hud had found what he was looking for.

(The writer is a woman who hosts a Baby Boomers forum on the Internet.)


Dan Culberson said...

After what seemed to be too long a time, sales are now showing up: three paperbacks and two hardcovers in July were sold wholesale.

Rob W. said...

Were you connected with Culberson, Heller and St. Gil, Inc, that shot (among other things I suppose) materials for Senator John Tower in the 1970's?

Rob Walker
SMU, Dallas

Dan Culberson said...

No, sorry. Never heard of them. I was working as a technical writer for IBM in the Seventies.

Dan Culberson said...

Yesterday I met with Father Rol Hoverstock of St. John's Episcopal Church in Boulder. He was a fraternity brother of mine at C.U. back in the Sixties, and I wanted to know if he had read my novel.

He said, yes, he had bought a copy and had read it. Did he like it, I asked. No, he said, because the incidents in it were such that he couldn't relate with them. (This surprised me a bit, because I'm sure that he was a participant in at least one of the events described.)

However, he said that he had sent the novel to another fraternity brother, Joe Keitel, and so I'll just wait to see what Joe has to say about it.

Incidentally, I told Father Rol (who was known as "Skip" in college and was one of the biggest hellraisers back then) that he was the source of one of the direct quotes in the novel, the one in which a character says that he wants to take a piss on the Continental Divide so that half of his piss would flow into the Atlantic Ocean and the other half into the Pacific.

Good times.