Authors' Lowlights, Resurrected from the Dustbin

Here's a quick literary quiz: See if you can tell which of these passages was written by cerebral British author Martin Amis.

Cover of 'The Little Horse Bus' i

Cover of The Little Horse Bus, a 1952 children's book by Graham Greene, author of decidedly adult novels such as The End of the Affair and The Quiet American. hide caption

itoggle caption
Cover of 'The Little Horse Bus'

Cover of The Little Horse Bus, a 1952 children's book by Graham Greene, author of decidedly adult novels such as The End of the Affair and The Quiet American.

Cover of 'Len Deighton's Action Cookbook' i

Collins calls this title by best-selling spy novelist Len Deighton "a shockingly good cookbook." hide caption

itoggle caption
Cover of 'Len Deighton's Action Cookbook'

Collins calls this title by best-selling spy novelist Len Deighton "a shockingly good cookbook."

Cover of 'Invasion of the Space Invaders' i

Martin Amis reveals his dependency on video games in Invasion of the Space Invaders: An Addict's Guide to Battle Tactics, Big Scores and the Best Machines. hide caption

itoggle caption
Cover of 'Invasion of the Space Invaders'

Martin Amis reveals his dependency on video games in Invasion of the Space Invaders: An Addict's Guide to Battle Tactics, Big Scores and the Best Machines.

A. Cities at night, I feel, contain men who cry in their sleep and then say Nothing. It's nothing. Just sad dreams. Or something like that... Swing low in your weep ship, with your tear scans and your sob probes, and you would mark them.

B. The last two or three aliens move faster and spray off bombs at an angle. If they reach the surface, then the game is over, extra lives or no extra lives... and keep your eye on the aliens, not on the bombs. Got him? Now that Wave 1 is over — whew — let's move on to Wave 2. But first a word about Saucers.

The answer is both: The former is from Amis' novel The Information; the latter is from his 1982 masterpiece on how to play and win at the arcade game Space Invaders. Literary detective Paul Collins shares this and other examples of vintage titles generally left off the resumes of their now-prominent authors.

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