Max Massa is the author of House of Apollo, a story of the issues of our era, told through the medium of an insurance company of the future! He has had a strange trip through life thus far.
Max grew up in Maryland and majored in Chinese literature in college. When he graduated in 2004, he found that the US job market was not very interested in his understanding of post-Mao avant garde writing of the 1980s, so he moved to China, where he lived for five of the next seven years. From 2004 to 2006, he was at Yancheng Teachers’ College (盐城师范学院) in northern Jiangsu province, teaching English to semi-willing undergrads at one of the PRC’s worst accredited schools of higher learning. Then, for 2007 and 2008, he lived in Beijing where he worked for Chinese television – Outlook English (希望英语) to be exact, on CCTV-10, a clip of which may be viewed here, wherein he plays the harmonica to dairy cattle outside Tianjin. Although he was in the capital during the time of the Olympics, his main memories of this era are playing a dead duck like a trumpet in a restaurant once visited by Al Gore and quitting his job three times over the course of a year. He finished his time in China by doing a master’s degree at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center (中美文化研究中心) at Nanjing University from 2009 to 2011, where he wrote and defended a thesis in Chinese on the Cultural Revolution.
Over the course of this era, Max established himself as a devotee and connoisseur of the arcane and the obscure, devoting time to the study of Classical Chinese, Ancient Greek, and Latin, in addition to the Mandarin he needed to get around China. Perhaps for this reason, his return to the United States was not very easy. Upon alighting on his native soil, he discovered that some people had done some not very nice things to the economy in recent years, and no one wanted to discuss Confucius. Undeterred, he began a federal career in that noble and storied field of endeavor which is known as Language Program Management and – in the tradition of Kafka – began harassing women around him for dates in his free time. Wait, no! I mean he started writing in his free time! In a misguided attempt to make contact with other intellectuals in the District area, Max took up the challenge of attempting to define the rule of law, and published the fruits of that effort in Small Wars Journal (visible here), which was received by the public with blunt disinterest. After a period of generalized tragedy and disorientation lasting an embarrassing couple of years, Max found his bearings again and decided that he would use fiction as a vehicle to convey his ideas on the Current American Condition… this initiative – combined with a whole bunch of Callimachus, Euripides, and Nietzsche – led to the creation of House of Apollo, which is being published by Whisk(e)y Tit Books in 2020 (background information on the publisher is available here).
He now lives in Maryland not far from the house he grew up in, with his charming wife Jessie Mannisto, who is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Third Factor: A Magazine for the Intense, Created, Gifted, and Quirky.