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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.

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.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

As NPR's senior national correspondent, Linda Wertheimer travels the country and the globe for NPR News, bringing her unique insights and wealth of experience to bear on the day's top news stories.