Tomorrow’s horizon today

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July 1, 2014 · 9:48 am

Illuminatus! and Big Brother

28.7.14

Marion wrote: The task tonight was a dance off between teams, Street Elite and Foor Soldiers. Natually Zoe was the coach. This is the second task to showcase her theatrical skills. And no HM ever criticises her although by rights she should be under the same cloud as Pav.Hmmm…Is her Dad a member of the Illuminati?[...] She’s [Helen] really on her BB journey now – very near rehabilitated. It must be the work of the Illuminati.

It was simply the way ponderously half-a-sandwich Winston (Young Churchill lookalike) brought up the Illuminati subject himself out of the blue that convinced me. It didn’t seem to have a context. It just was.
As to Mark complaining to God if his eyebrows, hair-straighteners etc. weren’t up to scratch in Heaven, and saying that Jesus would help him. I foresaw odalisque Danielle up there, too, somehow, tending to Heavenly affairs….

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All this reminds me why I have been watching and commenting upon Big Brother here for the last ten years!

 

(Also enjoyed Super-Cassandra’s sound-bites about Orwell’s 1984 book)

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Today’s present from my brother-in-law’s allotment

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July 26, 2014 · 7:32 pm

“…pulse of our slumber, dreambookpage…”

It was all predicted in early 2013 with my ‘Relaxed Snowman’ blog, including the fact that ‘Horror Without Victims’ was likely to be my final paying publication for other authors (the twelfth such publication). And, in recent days, my own slippage showing up with some of my many WordPress sites starting to vanish from public view, but still clinging on? Who knows what is next?
As promised, I intend to resume real-time reviewing when the current Summer break or Sabbaticess (a form of Eventernal Slumber or Perpetual Autumn?) ceases at the end of August – using the books I have already been showing on this site as recently purchased.

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Today’s Rock and Carousel

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July 12, 2014 · 7:23 pm

Ligotti the Experimentalist

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Is Ligotti’s work experimental or traditional weird literature?

For me, experimental fiction includes
(1) being essentially tractable by most readers but with difficult subject matter, text leading to allusion, illusion, or elusion, by poetics or density or text’s texture or richness of sound and semantics and look, relative complexity of narration’s and time’s points of view, a prime example of which would be Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandrian Quartet
or (2) as (1) but often also with seemingly Avant Garde devices like the marble or blank pages and typographical mazes in Tristram Shandy or the mind-blowing and vexed texture of text in Finnegans Wake, the latter breaking sexual and other taboos, too … (or an anti-novel like Robbe-Grillet’s?)

I personally place Thomas Ligotti’s canon of work firmly in (1), demonstrated by difficult subject-matter balanced between truth and metaphor upon the fulcrum of its author’s self in a nightmare of distress, and I would include THE CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE HUMAN RACE in his canon.

Most other weird literature that I enjoy presents an array of traditional story-telling and not experimental in the above sense. Cisco, Connell and Crisp would be examples of exception.

Other examples of exception abound in the huge Zagava/ Ex Occidente canon of books. Indeed, separate from that, its canon as a whole has been an Avant Garde experience in itself….!

My mention of Tristram Shandy shows that experimental or avant garde does not always mean modern or modernist.

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Today’s skyline, the Avant Garde and me

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Disagreement can be productive of new ideas in spite – or because? – of a surface-cracking, fiction against truth, fiction against fiction, truth against truth, a series of frictions that are often more productive than any slip-slide of surface agreement. Disagreement, indeed, can be a form of brainstorming that tussles between already grooved paths, then folding itself into unexpected, yet-to-be-grooved, story-lines, one such story-line’s potential being along the still emerging real-timeline of one’s own future life, however Autumnal it is or even Winter-terminal. A vexed texture of text.

Today, I was fatefully given the unexpected opportunity to append my simple agreement regarding the need for the Avant Garde sensibility in some Genre fiction — and this relates to my earlier description of the relationship I have had with the Avant Garde over the many years of my writing career.

Indeed, I suspect I belong there, not here. I know I have wasted my life thinking I was writing something when all the time I was writing something else. Neither of them being anything much to write home about.

A footnote to a life’s disagreement – with myself!

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Today’s skyline faces ever forming as you look…

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Yesterday’s Trees

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July 6, 2014 · 9:46 am

Against the Day

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My current take on Pynchon’s ‘Against the Day’

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July 1, 2014 · 1:03 pm

Our Household’s Latest Quilt

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by Mrs D Lewis

News:
Yesterday, I finished reading the uniquely momentous and monumental Mann’s ‘Doctor Faustus’. My thumbnail thoughts about it HERE. Dead Tooth, Sea-Maid, Young Echo and Germany’s two World Wars in palimpsest. And its accompanying lamentatory music.
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I am continuing the reading of the massive ‘Against the Day’ by Thomas Pynchon. For anyone who enjoys SF like Michael Wyndham Thomas’s ‘Valiant Razalia’, Jules Verne, Dr Who, LOST, Christopher Priest and, dare I say, ‘Nemonymous Night’ – as well as much more that is uniquely Pynchon, with Wild Western Dynamiters and seekers of Iceland Spar…
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Model vemödalen

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News:
Written today by me on the Dreamcatcher / Gestalt Real-Time site – contextualised here in the ‘Reviewing Controversies’ comment stream:

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Yesterday above, I mentioned “my own evolution of a reviewing philosophy”, mustering, as I have over the last decade*, the evidence (shown publicly) of what I consider to be the optimum from actual examples and argued rationalization – yes, a rationalization together with a parallel synchronicity, rather than a cause-and-effect, derived from my personal ‘spiritualisation’ as evoked by the preternatural nature of literature itself. (I consciously use the word ‘preternatural’ rather than ‘supernatural’).
Some of the best examples of this personal approach of mine, I feel, are in my many reviews of the fiction in Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction publications themselves.
But as Stephen says or implies above, everyone must choose, within whatever strictures exist, their own way, what to adopt and what not to adopt. And, for me, this process involves us as reader and as writer and as reviewer and as publisher because, often, each of us acts in some or all of those roles concurrently within this internet-incubated hothouse we call literature or fiction or ‘genre’.
We must try to differentiate from within that unity of roles? Or we must try to unify from within those differentiations? While bearing in mind that we cannot help acting as one mind: a single, singular, if ever-evolving, belief-system?

*Longer, if you take into account my stated philosophy behind the nine ‘Nemonymous’ anthologies.

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I have just posted this blog as I watch a recording of the Pixies from yesterday’s Glastonbury Festival.

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Another vemödalen

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Today’s news: Am I the first to notice that Winston from the current Big Brother is a possible reincarnation of Young Churchill?
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Re Winston Showan

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Today’s vemödalen

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The three definitions shown below are taken from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

vemödalen
n.
the frustration of photographing something amazing when thousands of identical photos already exist—the same sunset, the same waterfall, the same curve of a hip, the same closeup of an eye—which can turn a unique subject into something hollow and pulpy and cheap, like a mass-produced piece of furniture you happen to have assembled yourself.

nodus tollens
n.
the realization that the plot of your life doesn’t make sense to you anymore—that although you thought you were following the arc of the story, you keep finding yourself immersed in passages you don’t understand, that don’t even seem to belong in the same genre—which requires you to go back and reread the chapters you had originally skimmed to get to the good parts, only to learn that all along you were supposed to choose your own adventure.

vellichor
n.
the strange wistfulness of used bookstores, which are somehow infused with the passage of time—filled with thousands of old books you’ll never have time to read, each of which is itself locked in its own era, bound and dated and papered over like an old room the author abandoned years ago, a hidden annex littered with thoughts left just as they were on the day they were captured.

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Adrian Leverkühn’s ‘Apocalypse’

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All the quotations from my still on-going first reading of ‘Doctor Faustus’ by Thomas Mann HERE

I quote in particular the substantial whole of “CHAPTER XXXIV (Conclusion)” here: Adrian Leverkühn | The Book of Classical Music Themed Horror Stories representing for me the essence of Horror or Weird Literature, whether it is Hell or Heaven that infests or invests artistic creativity, the birth of modern ‘classical’ music and more!

“….an overwhelming, sardonically yelling, screeching, bawling, bleating, howling, piping, whinnying salvo, the mocking, exulting laughter of the Pit.”

NB: My earlier real-time review of Thomas Mann’s ‘The Magic Mountain’.

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Jules Verne in Thomas Mann

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Photo taken today to acknowledge Captain Nemo,  Doctor Faustus, Pynchon’s Against the Day and Nemonymous Night

From ‘Doctor Faustus’ by Thomas Mann:

…he related to me in the most circumstantial manner: how he and Professor Akercocke climbed into a bullet-shaped diving-bell of only one point two metres inside diameter, equipped somewhat like a stratosphere balloon, and were dropped by a crane from the companion ship into the sea, at this point very deep. It had been more than exciting — at least for him, if not for his mentor or cicerone, from whom he had procured this experience and who took the thing more coolly as it was not his first descent. Their situation inside the two-ton hollow ball was anything but comfortable, but was compensated for by the knowledge of their perfect safety, absolutely watertight as it was, capable of withstanding immense pressure. It was provided with a supply of oxygen, a telephone, high-voltage searchlights, and quartz windows all round. Somewhat longer than three hours in all they spent beneath the surface of the ocean; it had passed like a dream, thanks to the sights they were vouchsafed, the glimpses into a world whose soundless, frantic foreignness was explained and even justified by its utter lack of contact with our own.

Even so it had been a strange moment, and his heart had missed a beat, when one morning at nine o’clock the four-hundred-pound armoured door had closed behind them and they swayed away from the ship and plunged into the water, crystal-clear at first, lighted by the sun. But this illumination of the inside of our “drop in the bucket” reached down only some fifty-seven metres. For at that depth light has come to an end; or rather, a new, unknown, irrelevant world here begins, into which Adrian with his guide went down to nearly fourteen times that depth, some thirty-six hundred feet, and there remained for half an hour, almost every moment painfully aware that a pressure of five hundred thousand tons rested upon their shelter.

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Gradually, on the way down, the water had taken on a grey colour, that of a darkness mixed with some still undaunted rays of light. Not easily did these become discouraged; it was the will and way of them to make light and they did so to their uttermost, so that the next stage of light’s exhaustion and retreat actually had more colour than the previous one. Through the quartz windows the travellers looked into a blue-blackness hard to describe; perhaps best compared to the dull colour of the horizon on a clear thawing day. After that, indeed long before the hand of the indicator stood at seven hundred and fifty to seven hundred and sixty-five metres, came solid blackness all round, the blackness of interstellar space whither for eternities no weakest sun-ray had penetrated, the eternally still and virgin night, which now had to put up with a powerful artificial light from the upper world, not of cosmic origin, in order to be looked at and looked through.
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Adrian spoke of the itch one felt to expose the unexposed, to look at the unlooked-at, the not-to-be and not-expecting-to-be looked-at. There was a feeling of indiscretion, even of guilt, bound up with it, not quite allayed by the feeling that science must be allowed to press just as far forwards as it is given the intelligence of scientists to go. The incredible eccentricities, some grisly, some comic, which nature here achieved, forms and features which seemed to have scarcely any connection with the upper world but rather to belong to another planet: these were the product of seclusion, sequestration, of reliance on being wrapped in eternal darkness. The arrival upon Mars of a human conveyance travelling through space — or rather, let us say, upon that half of Mercury which is eternally turned away from the sun — could excite no greater sensation in the inhabitants — if any — of that “near” planet, than the appearance of the Akercocke diving-bell down here. The mass curiosity with which these inconceivable creatures of the depths had crowded round the cabin had been indescribable — and quite indescribable too was everything that went whisking past the windows in a blur of motion: frantic caricatures of organic life; predatory mouths opening and shutting; obscene jaws, telescope eyes; the paper nautilus; silver- and gold-fish with goggling eyes on top of their heads; heteropods and pteropods, up to two or three yards long. Even those that floated passively in the flood, monsters compact of slime, yet with arms to catch their prey, polyps, acalephs, skyphomedusas — they all seemed to have been seized by spasms of twitching excitement.
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It might well be that all these natives of the deep regarded this light-radiating guest as an outsize variation of themselves, for most of them could do what it could; that is to say, give out light by their own power. The visitors, Adrian said, had only to put out their own searchlight, when an extraordinary spectacle unfolded outside. Far and wide the darkness of the sea was illuminated by shooting and circling will-o’-the-wisps, caused by the light with which many of the creatures were equipped, so that in some cases the entire body was phosphorescent, while others had a searchlight, an electric lantern, with which presumably they not only lighted the darkness of their path, but also attracted their prey. They also probably used it in courtship. The ray from some of the larger ones cast such an intense white light that the observers’ eyes were blinded. Others had eyeballs projecting on stalks; probably in order to perceive at the greatest possible distance the faintest gleam of light meant to lure or warn.
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The narrator regretted that it was not possible to catch any of these monsters of the deep, at least some of the utterly unknown ones, and bring them to the surface. In order to do so, however, one would have to preserve for them while ascending the same tremendous atmospheric pressure they were used to and adapted to in their environment — the same that rested on our diving-bell — a disturbing thought. In their habitat the creatures counteracted it by an equal pressure of their tissues and cavities; so that if the outside pressure were decreased, they would inevitably burst. Some of them, alas, burst now, on coming into contact with the diving-bell: the watchers saw an unusually large, flesh-coloured wight, rather finely formed, just touch the vessel and fly into a thousand pieces.
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Other quotes from ‘Doctor Faustus’ HERE

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The Gollumcz and the Priest: Within the Barracks of the Adjacency

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Above photo of the hothouse taken yesterday in a Clacton-on-Sea amusement arcade.

My very brief take HERE yesterday on a book review by one of my favourite authors: Christopher Priest.
His latest laid-back kerfuffle.
A review of ‘Barricade’ (Gollancz)

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Thomas Pynchon pinched my next novel

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On-going quotes from Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann as I read it: http://classicalhorror.wordpress.com/doctor-faustus-by-thomas-mann/ (Cf: the vexed texture of text or atonal music)

Seaside stuff on V of E: http://vaultofevil.proboards.com/thread/5745/seaside-stuff

I am currently reading Thomas Pynchon’s massive Against the Day : a changeling’s foundling whence or whither my own novel ‘Nemonymous Night’ was given or gave birth.

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Today’s Horizon

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June 16, 2014 · 10:41 am

Yesteryear’s Skyline

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Doctor Faustus – By Thomas Mann

I think I have at last come to the book I was always meant to read, a stunning, astonishing book, received yesterday as a Father’s Day present.  The novel by Thomas Mann: Doctor Faustus. The culmination of a reading life.
page 57
but we heard it as greedily, as large-eyed, as children always hear what they do not understand or what is even entirely unsuitable — indeed, with far more pleasure than the familiar, fitting, and adequate can give them. Is it believable that this is the most intensive, splendid, perhaps the very most productive way of learning: the anticipatory way, learning that spans wide stretches of ignorance? As a pedagogue I suppose I should not speak in its behalf; but I do know that it profits youth extraordinarily. And I believe, that the stretches jumped over fill in of themselves in time.
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