Ever since J. W. DeForest popularized the phrase "Great American Novel" in 1868 commentators have debated the limits of all three of its components. Does "great" necessarily mean a big "doorstop" book or is concision a worthy goal? Whose version America are we talking? And why the novel not a poem, play, or short story? In our inaugural episode we preview the challenges of defining a GAN and explore why so many writers have felt compelled to parody the concept as much as pursue it. Feel free to send us your thoughts on the problems of canonizing works of literature at email@example.com. Music in this episode is by Lobo Loco: "Old Ralley" (intro) and "Inspector Unvisible" (outro).