Authors' Lowlights, Resurrected from the Dustbin Literary sleuth Paul Collins reveals obscure credits in authors' closets, including a guide to the Space Invaders arcade game written by Martin Amis and a children's book by Graham Greene.
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Authors' Lowlights, Resurrected from the Dustbin

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Authors' Lowlights, Resurrected from the Dustbin

Authors' Lowlights, Resurrected from the Dustbin

Authors' Lowlights, Resurrected from the Dustbin

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4931188/4931510" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

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, 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

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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.

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

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

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

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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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