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Creator / Chuck Palahniuk

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Charles Michael "Chuck" Palahniuk (born February 21, 1962) is an American freelance journalist and novelist of French and Ukrainian descent. He is known most for writing the novel Fight Club, which the movie was based on, and has since then garnered a respectable following.

He has a minimalist writing style that utilizes a limited vocabulary, short sentences, and is meant to mimic the way an average person would talk when relaying a story to someone else. His stories typically start close to the end, with the protagonist recounting how he got there, the events of which might also be told out of chronological order as well.

His earlier works fall under the label of transgressive fiction, while his later works contain more horror elements. Many people feel that his works are overly nihilistic and cynical, and have labeled him a shock writer. Palahniuk does not believe that his work is in any way cynical or nihilistic, and has gone on record referring to himself as a Romantic—presumably the old Chivalric Romance.

He is a distant nephew of actor Jack Palance (born Volodymyr Palahniuk).

    His body of work includes: 
  • Fiction:
    • Fight Club (1996)
    • Survivor (1999)
    • Invisible Monsters (1999)
    • Choke (2001)
    • Lullaby (2002)
    • Diary (2003)
    • Haunted (a book of short stories, 2005)
    • Rant (2007)
    • Snuff (2008)
    • Pygmy (2009)
    • Tell-All (2010)
    • Damned (2011)
    • Doomed (sequel to Damned, 2013)
    • Beautiful You (2014)
    • Make Something Up (2015)
    • Fight Club 2 (graphic novel sequel to Fight Club, 2015)
    • Bait (half short story collection, half coloring book, 2016)
    • Legacy (half novella, half coloring book, 2017)
    • Adjustment Day (2018)
    • The Invention of Sound (2020)
  • Non-fiction:
    • Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon (2003)
    • Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories (2004)
    • You Do Not Talk About Fight Club: I am Jack's Completely Unauthorized Essay Collection (2008) (introduction)
  • Film:
    • Fight Club (1999)
    • Choke (2008)

Works by Chuck Palahuniuk with their own pages include:

Other works by Chuck Palahniuk contain examples of:

  • Anti-Hero: Practically all of the protagonists.
  • Arc Words: When he uses them, he refers to them as "choruses".
    • And what might be considered an arc color. All of his books have a passing reference to cornflower blue.
    • As well as "antifreeze green," at least when it comes to eye colors. (Fight Club and Rant are just two examples where this crops up.)
  • Author Appeal: Quite possibly the colors Cornflower Blue and Antifreeze Green.
    • And snarky protagonists. And graphic and/or Squicky sex scenes.
  • Author Filibuster
  • Beige Prose - Readers may find Palahniuk's terse style honest or lazy or anywhere in between.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: "Red Sultan's Big Boy", a story from the collection "Make Something Up" about the horse of the infamous Mr. Hands. And don't you google.
    • Same collection also contains an angry "Intercourse a pony!" directed to noisy neighbors.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Snuff might count. It just might.
  • Black Comedy
  • Buffy Speak: Occurs frequently both in speech and narrated thoughts.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Hazie Coogan to Katherine Kenton in Tell-All. At least this is how she sees herself.
  • Contraception Deception / Baby Trap: In Diary, Peter intentionally sabotages all of Misty's contraceptive efforts. Getting her pregnant so she'll marry him and go to Waytansea Island with him is part of the island-wide plan to fulfill the legend of the artist who will save their way of life.
  • Creator Thumbprint: Palahniuk's protagonists are almost all extremely snarky in a very similar way. Case in point, Haunted, in which every character has the same tone of voice.
  • Downer Ending: Virtually any book that doesn't have a bittersweet end.
    • Pygmy has a happy ending. Well, sort of.
    • Palahniuk's own interpretation of Survivor's ending is fairly positive: The end of Survivor isn't nearly so complicated. It's noted on page 7(8?) that a pile of valuable offerings has been left in the front of the passenger cabin. This pile includes a cassette recorder. Even before our hero starts to dictate his story — during the few minutes he's supposed to be taking a piss — he's actually in the bathroom dictating the last chapter into the cassette recorder. It's just ranting, nothing important plot-wise, and it can be interrupted at any point by the destruction of the plane. The minute the fourth engine flames out, he starts the cassette talking, then bails out, into Fertility's waiting arms (she's omniscient, you know). The rest of the book is just one machine whining and bitching to another machine. The crash will destroy the smaller recorder, but the surviving black box will make it appear that Tender is dead.
  • Evil Feels Good: A recurring theme in his work.
  • Evilutionary Biologist
  • First-Person Smartass: Every Palahniuk narrator is this except Pygmy.
  • Invention Pretension: In Tell-All, Lilly Hellman loves to take credit for lots of historical achievements like saving Apollo 13, especially once anyone who was actually there has died and cannot contradict her. She made a musical out of her false life story.
  • Mad Artist: Diary protagonist/narrator Misty, a painter, has symptoms of instability that even predate the strain of being the wife of a coma patient trying to care for her mother-in-law and teen daughter with the family money running out.
  • Minimalism: His whole style is based around this.
  • No Name Given: Many of his protagonists go unnamed until later in the book, often with a last named being dropped sometime before the full name.
    • The three protagonists in Snuff are named at different points theoughout the book, with one of them having been named as by his television persona before his real name is given.
  • One-Word Title: Most of his novels.
  • Out with a Bang: Setup for Snuff: An aging porn star is shooting a world-record gangbang and may or may not die at the end of it. A lot of the book is other characters arguing about whether this result is intentional and/or inevitable. The actual ending manages to be much more embarrassing.
  • Parallel Porn Titles: Snuff includes a hurricane of them.
  • Perky Goth: He coined the term "Suicide Girl" to describe this type of woman hanging around Portland, OR. Then a website was formed to visually depict such ladies and the term stuck for good.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: His works are on the Romanticist end of the scale. The author himself even admits that he himself is a Romantic—presumably the old Chivalric Romance.
  • Room Full of Crazy: In Diary, the protagonist's husband used to hide rooms in houses he worked in and write insanities on the walls before he attempted suicide. Subverted: it wasn't a suicide attempt, and he wasn't really insane but trying to warn future inhabitants of the danger they were in.
  • Running Gag: Makes a number of cracks about Fight Club's Adaption Displacement, ranging from his afterword in later editions, Fight Club 2 and even other works like Adjustment Day featuring a character (or Chuck himself) mentioning Fight Club was a book before it was a movie, to the confusion of anyone overhearing him.
  • Shown Their Work: The research he carries out for his novels is thorough, to say the least. A friend of his recounted an incidence in which Palahniuk read an entire book on serial killers, the information from which ended up being used on one page of a novel he was working on (Lullaby).
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Far end of the cynical end of the scale, frequently to the point of being nihilistic, which is why many people label him as a shock writer.
  • Son of a Whore: In Snuff, No. 72 thinks he's the son of porn queen Cassie Wright. Turns out it was her assistant.
  • Straight Gay: A few of his characters, as well as Palahniuk himself, qualify as this.
  • Straw Nihilist: Many themes of his work has drawn criticism for being overly nihilistic and cynical. Like Nietzsche, while his dark prose does come across as such, he really isn't (or so he claims). See the main entry above.
  • Übermensch
  • Unreliable Narrator: Many of the protagonists who looking at the world filtered through their own problems, neuroses, and delusions.