USA Today has anointed The Tourists author Jeff Hobbs' as the winner in the battle of 80s brat pack protégés, saying that his book is "more impressive and ambitious" than Dana Vachon's Mergers and Acquisitions. Um, sure! Maybe in the same way that Pirates of the Carribean: Curse of the Black Pearl was more impressive and ambitious than Fantastic Four: Rise of The Silver Surfer. Anyway, the rave (yes, the USA Today rave) has thrust Hobbs' literary hand-holder Bret Easton Ellis (as opposed, of course, to Vachon's #1 fan Jay McInerney) back into the spotlight. He didn't go to Hobbs' book party, after all. Has he abandoned his furtherance of Hobbs' career?

Ellis admits that he hasn't talked to Hobbs in a while, but dismisses the notion that they're on the outs. "I am not aware of any rift. We'll probably have dinner sometime next month. I wish I could create a fake feud to get publicity for the book, which I really like." He does admit, though, that the process of helping Hobbs birth the book (to recap: Great Gatsby, but now and with dude-bisexuality, oooh) wasn't all fun and games: "It's not easy to be my 'mentee.' I put him through the wringer."

No hint of wrungoutness is to be found in Hobbs' dedication to Ellis, however. "To Bret Easton Ellis, for reading this more times than anyone should have to read anything, and for teaching me, with extraordinary patience, how to write—or at least how to try. I am and will remain in awe."

Odds of a rift between Ellis and protege: less than zero [R&M]