Birdland: The Syllabus

General Course Information

Birdland is a novel I’m writing for my writing program.  I’m currently finishing chapter three (which was originally chapter four before I cut 8,000 words off the front end) and will be starting the next chapter within the week.  It’s planned to be twelve chapters, so, at one chapter a month, I hope to have this finished by the summer.

The objective of this course is to introduce you to all of the influences of the novel so that when it is published, you’ll be able to defend the work to others who just quite can’t figure out what these characters are supposed to look like.  (Hint: like this but with feathers on their arms.)


I expect you to buy the book when it’s published.  Also, get your friends to buy it, too.


Below is a list of multimedia that should be consumed before the book comes out.  Everything listed has had some influence on the story or my thinking behind the story.

TV Shows

  • Dragonball Z
  • Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law
  • The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!
  • Sledge Hammer!
  • True Detective (both seasons)
  • Twin Peaks


  • The Buddhist Fist
  • Bullitt
  • Dirty Harry
  • Drive
  • Fist of Fury
  • The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
  • Inherent Vice
  • Iron Monkey
  • The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Zootopia


  • The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler
  • Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy
  • The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon
  • Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson
  • The Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller
  • Div, Grad, Curl, and All That: An Informal Text on Vector Calculus, H. M. Schey
  • Farewell, My Lovely, Raymond Chandler
  • Fear Agent, Rick Remender
  • The Iliad, Homer
  • Inherent Vice, Thomas Pynchon
  • An Introduction to Error Analysis: The Study of Uncertainties in Physical Measurements, John R. Taylor
  • An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, Bradley W. Carroll and Dale A. Ostlie
  • Mason & Dixon, Thomas Pynchon (this chapter in particular–god I love this book!)
  • Moby Dick, Herman Melville
  • Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, Edith Hamilton
  • The Odyssey, Homer
  • A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn*
  • The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell
  • The Tao Speaks: Lao-Tzu’s Whispers of Wisdom, Tsai Chih Chung (author), Brian Bruya (translator)
  • Zen Speaks: Shouts of Nothingness, Tsai Chih Chung (author), Brian Bruya (translator)


  • Act I, The Protomen
  • Drive (soundtrack)
  • Hotline Miami (soundtrack)
  • Lost Highway (soundtrack)
  • Morphine Mambo Jazz Club (compilation)
  • The Murky World of Barry Adamson (album), Barry Adamson
  • Music From Twin Peaks (soundtrack), Angelo Badalamenti
  • Reflektor (album), Arcade Fire
  • To Pimp a Butterfly (album), Kendrick Lamar
  • Tonight, Tonight, Tonight (single), Genesis

Games (Video and Otherwise)

  • Double Dragon (NES)
  • Hotline Miami (PC)
  • Secret Hitler


* I haven’t actually read this book, but people tell me I should. I’ve included it here to make me look smart though.

Final Exam and Grading

The only way to pass this course is to buy the book.  From there, your grade is bumped up a letter grade for every ten people you get to buy their own copies.  When the book comes out.



  1. Luigus

    Well played.

    Next topic: Krypton

    1. dasfuller (Post author)

      Alright. I had a post idea ready to go on this, but Amanda told me it was lazy. So you post yours first, and then I’ll catch up.

      1. Luigus

        Fair. I’ve already been slacking.


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