Derek Pell

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Derek Pell is a visual artist, photographer, writer and satirist. He is the editor in chief of Zoom Street Magazine. He was editor of DingBat Magazine for 12 years, and a contributing editor to PC Laptop. Under both his name and his pen names, most notably Norman Conquest, Derek Pell has authored more than 30 books, many of which he designed and illustrated, including the Doktor Bey series, Bewildering Beasties, Assassination Rhapsody, Lost In Translation, and The Little Red Book of Adobe LiveMotion, along with several collections of his work.[1][2]

He had been a regular contributor to Playboy, National Lampoon, LA Weekly, as well as a columnist for The Westport News. His work has been featured in such publications as Adobe Magazine, Natural History, The Times, Rolling Stone, The New York Times Sunday Magazine,and Fiction International. Since 1968, his work has appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and small press publications in the U.S. and Europe.


Derek Pell dropped out of the Art Institute of Chicago in the late 1960s and opened The Not Guilty Bookshop & Press on Martha's Vineyard. His writing & art began appearing in publications of experimental literature under various pseudonyms, most notably Doktor Bey and Norman Conquest. His primary style was incorporating mixed-media and using collage-text and cut and paste techniques. After the success of his Doktor Bey series in the late 1970s, Derek Pell moved to Los Angeles in the eighties, during this period he was charged by the FBI for defacing US Currency while working on a mail-art performance. He began experimenting with cybertext, hyperlinks, and other computer-aided art in 1991.[3] Pell & Conquest currently reside in the Bay Area where they edit Black Scat Books, a small independent press devoted to "Sublime Art & Literature."


Derek Pell explores literary modernism/postmodernism themes and styles in his craft. Using a remarkable range of formal discourses and methods, Pell's work often employs elements of intertextuality, metafiction and reflexivity, decenterization, pastiche, appropriation, found materials, and sampling. Through various mediums such as mail art, text-and-collage, gallery exhibits, and book object(Artist's book), his style uses satire, sarcasm, wit, and humor (wordplay, dark humor, absurdist humor, shock humor, visual and textual puns) to comment, criticize, and occasionally openly mock America's traditional cultural attitudes and values though work that is as much conceptual and performance art as it is fiction.[4]


Derek Pell has published work under various pseudonyms, some with fictional biographies, which serve to question the concept of authorial originality[5] intention while giving focus and outlet to his different faucets of creative expression.[6]

Doktor Bey

Bey is a fictional scholar, born in New York City and Tibet in 1877. Author of Doktor Beys Suicide Guide (1977), Doktor Beys Bedside Bedbug Book (1978), Doktor Beys Handbook of Strange Sex (1978), Doktor Beys Book of Brats (1979), Doktor Beys book of the Dead (1981).

Norman Conquest

This is Derek Pell's visual and performance focused alter-ego and digital artist. Norman's art is featured in texts by authors such as Harold Jaffe's Straight Razor (1995), as well as his own work, Sartre's French Phrase Book (1974); Interiors: A Book of Very Clean Rooms (1985); Extremely Weird Republicans (1994); A Beginner's Guide to Art Deconstruction (1995); The Neglected Works of Norman Conquest (2012); What is Art? (2012); Rear Windows: An Inside Look at Fifty Film Noir Classics (2014); Corn on Macabre & Other Conundrums (2016). In 1989, he founded the international anti-censorship art collective Beuyscouts of Amerika ( He has created mixed-media works, book-objects, multiples, and collage works and has been featured in the Spencer Museum of Art. Several of his multiples are part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Conquest is currently Editor & Publisher of Black Scat Books (

Che Wax

One of Derek's earliest fictional pseudonyms, which appeared on the novel "Brother Spencer Goes to Hell" published by The Fault (Union City, CA: 1979) Source: [1]


Collection of iconic sexual and erotic literature, in which each story is a meta-story, or treated version, of the original. Examples include Lady Chatterley's Loafer, Lolita, Over the Hill, and 9½ Weeks: The Long March.[3]
Assassination Rhapsody[8]
A deconstruction version of the materials in the Warren Commission Report. Examples include the use of collage and absurdism mixed with mechanical manipulations and transformations of the Commission texts' in A The Nature of the Shots, illustrations in A Bullet Theory Poem, and lipogram in The Magic Bullet.[8]
The Marquis De Sade's Elements of Style[9]
Introduced as a "found book" originally published by Marquise de Sade while in a lunatic aslym, with pictures and edits done by the "author", Derek Pell. Presented as a book on style, it is divided into four sections, Elementary Principles of Composition, A Few Matters of Form, Words and Expressions Commonly Misued, An Approach to Style, and an untraditional index, with wood print images either designed or found and incorporated throughout.[9]
The Little Red Book of Adobe LiveMotion[10]
Written as an absurdist pastiche of Chairman Mao's Little Red Book, informing the citizens of "correct" political behavior, it also manages to be a guide to Adobe's LiveMotion software. The text serves as a humorous instruction manual for using flash as a political tool to oppose corporate culture and to foster a political revolution against capitalism. Resignifying symbols, images, and texts, the book is an example of the fluidity of meaning and identity found in the World Wide Web. This is the world's first (and only) satirical technical book.[11]
Bewildering Beasties[12]
Written as a warning, the book is framed as a rare surviving copy of a book of endangered species from England's Victorian period. The illustrations serves as puns and wordplay combine with nostalgia, pastiche, and found materials to serve as an absurd, but nonetheless less meaningful warning on extinction and humanities role in the environment. [12]
Morbid Curiosities[13]

Naked Lunch at Tiffany's[14]

Scar Mirror[15] reprinted in 2013 by Black Scat Books

Doktor Bey
The Doktor Bey books are designed as absurdist collages of mixed media recontextualizing images to create these darkly humorous "How To" guides.
Doktor Bey's Handbook of Strange Sex[16]
Doktor Bey's Bedside Bug Book[17]
Doktor Bey's Suicide Guidebook[18]
Doktor Bey's Book of the Dead[19]
Doktor Bey's Book of Brats[20]


Pell has been involved with photography since 1974. He writes the Zoom Street blog ( and is the author of SHOOT TO THRILL: A HARD-BOILED GUIDE TO DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY (Que: 2009)

His only other nonfiction book is The Little Red Book of Adobe LiveMotion (No Starch / O'Reilly) -a guide to Flash animation. He has worked as a press photographer for UPI, and his photographs have appeared in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Rolling Stone, LensCulture, The Times, New York, Interview, L.A. Weekly, American Forests, Fiction International, The Village Voice, and Zink.[21]


A complete list of the works of Derek Pell and his alter-ego's is found in Larry McCaffery's Some Other Frequency.[22]


  1. ^
  2. ^ The Ecstasy of Speed | SDSU Crisis Carnival 2009
  3. ^ a b The Velvet Rims of Derek Pell's X-Textual "Hod Rod"
  4. ^ Some other frequency: interviews with innovative American authors By Larry McCaffery Edition: illustrated Published by University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996 ISBN 0-8122-1442-0
  5. ^ See Textual criticism#Uninfluenced final authorial intention
  6. ^ Some other frequency: interviews with innovative American authors By Larry McCaffery Edition: illustrated Published by University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996 ISBN 0-8122-1442-0 page 286
  7. ^ X-Texts By Derek Pell, Larry McCaffery Edition: illustrated Published by Autonomedia, 1995 Original from the University of Michigan Digitized Mar 12, 2008
  8. ^ a b Assassination Rhapsody By Derek Pell Edition: illustrated Published by Autonomedia, 1989 ISBN 0-936756-54-3
  9. ^ a b The Marquis de Sade's Elements of Style By Derek Pell Edition: illustrated Published by Cambrian Pubns, 1996 ISBN 1-882633-20-2
  10. ^ The Little Red Book of Adobe Livemotion By Derek Pell Published by No Starch Press/O'reilly, Incorporated, 2001 ISBN 1-886411-53-0
  11. ^ A Better Mao's Trap - Lisette Gonzales
  12. ^ a b Bewildering Beasties By Derek Pell Edition: illustrated Published by Courier Dover Publications, 1996 ISBN 0-486-29126-X
  13. ^ Morbid Curiosities By Derek Pell Edition: illustrated Published by Cape, 1983 ISBN 0-224-02962-2
  14. ^ Naked Lunch at Tiffany's By Derek Pell Published by JEF Books, 2015 ISBN 978-1-884-09761-4
  15. ^ Scar Mirror By Derek Pell Edition: illustrated Published by Cat's Pajama Press, 1979 ISBN 0-916866-06-8
  16. ^ Doktor Bey's Handbooks of Strange Sex By Derek Pell Edition: illustrated Published by Avon Books, 1978 ISBN 0-380-40204-1
  17. ^ Doktor Bey's Bedside Bug Book By Derek Pell Illustrated by Dore Edition: illustrated Published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978 ISBN 0-15-626115-4
  18. ^ Doktor Bey's Suicide Guidebook: Introduction and Collages By Derek Pell Published by Dodd, Mead, & Company 1977 ISBN 0-396-07439-1
  19. ^ Doktor Bey's Book of the Dead: Embracing a Complete Thanatopsis, with Chapters Relating to Burial and Etiquette ... By Derek Pell Published by Avon, 1981 ISBN 0-380-78014-3
  20. ^ Doktor Bey's Book of Brats: With Text & Collages By Derek Pell Published by Avon Books, 1979 ISBN 0-380-46425-X
  21. ^ Derek Pell
  22. ^ Some other frequency: interviews with innovative American authors By Larry McCaffery Edition: illustrated Published by University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996 ISBN 0-8122-1442-0