Continuation from HERE of my GRTR of INTERZONE #248.
This takes place in the comment stream below…
The Hareton K-12 County School and Adult Extension – James Van Pelt
“A Bosnian Serb assassinated an Austrian duke and his wife on a Sunday. On Monday, the Ladies Quilters Society held their meeting in the Home Ec room the way they had the Monday before,…”
If I said this story is another ‘stasis’ one that spreads – as in the previous story – ad infinitum, ad astra, even ad absurdum, like a minimalist music piece, then I should add that it is enchanting rather than frightening, but the two stories are symbiotic.
This story tells of a school that is built, then gradually accrues architecturally and vestigially into a stunningly arrayed version of a Gormenghast-like edifice (but that attempt at analogy on my part does not give you the full visualisation of this edifice), a school building where we can explore the mazes of blueprinted rooms and corridors and service tunnels – with the past blending into the future, along with its scholarly denizens, janitors, teachers, children, as they come and go but effectively stay – while the surrounding reality morphs imperceptibly from our own recognisable world history into a futuristic (often dangerous) one….
But that gives no real idea of the edgy enchantment of this seemingly everlasting quilt of a story, a story that one could easily expect to become a classic for future anthologies, a story that contains the concept of one’s schooldays’ ability to remain one’s all-days (creating an edifice of eternal memory as the only real landmark in one’s life), combining that concept skilfully with some wonderful images – and with characters who pass through the minimalist music like dreams, some deceptively hard and fast, others more vague, dancing at the school dance inside, say, a ‘butterfly pavilion’: a dance that this Van Pelt fiction conceivably has with you the reader, a dance that has the hand’s width of God between – not to divide you from the fiction: but simply to bring you closer.
“The All-days of School-days” (photographing the magazine’s pages where Richard Wagner’s artwork for this story is accrued to the building of this GRTR):
Dark Gardens – Greg Kurzawa
“How much greater the divide between us and God?”
And indeed following the previous story, it seems appropriate that there is a further question: “‘Evelyn,’ the old magician croons. ‘Evelyn, will you dance?'”
This disturbing story incredibly sits within the inter-zone between it and the black static… A blend of Ligottian mannequin-life and a Danielewski House of Leaves, we scale the two vertical directions of God through an edifice that the protagonist has acquired as an investment in foreclosure from an old magician whom he sees on tapes and in books with his Frankensteined mannequins via a Lost-like hatch to endless worlds that the dimensions of the house can’t seem possibly to encompass in the floor downward. I needed to anchor myself as a reader, but found that I was anchored or hooked first.
My Kurzawa Appendix:
“Do layers of artifice make us more human, or less so?” – Kurzawa
Following up that anchor between the concurrent Interzone and Black Static, there is a resonance between the Cluley and the Kurzawa with the mud masks –
Also the couple in the Ad Astra story in this Interzone, the couple are the experimental mannequins from the Kurzawa….
“I have heard it argued that God became human so that none could accuse Him of being unsympathetic to His own creation.” -Kurzawa
Also cf the Kurzawa ‘structure’ with that in the Van Pelt.
This GRTR now continues HERE.
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