The Stiff and the Stile – Stepan Chapman

Earlier extract from my real-time review of the VanderMeers’ massive ‘The WEIRD’ HERE:-

The Stiff and the Stile – Stepan Chapman

“- a string of worm sausages perhaps, or a nice roast of dog.”

A brief piece with cumulative vocatives of nursery rhyme without enjambement. Enjoyable, but not terribly impressed. But I can talk – as much of my own reputation was once based on similar experiments. (29/11/11 – another hour later)


Today I have re-read it – as I feel conscious, especially after yesterday’s Unsrednidipitous concerns of possible earlier ‘pigging’, that I should now re-appraise a 4th story, i.e. this Chapman one. [A quote from the earlier overall Real-Time Review: “Some of my wilder extrapolations and continual pigging on too many truly great stories. It does something to the mind. Good or bad, I’m not sure.“]

This story is still as brief as it ever was. The beauty of the dependability of being in a real book rather than in a slippery customer like any ebook chameleon of textual fickleness, pirateability, plagiaribility &c &c…

It is a “There was an old woman who swallowed a fly”-type fable, another example of which I srednidipitously found in a newly published Rhys Hughes fable a few days ago, i.e. ‘The Grave Demeanour’ , since completing my review of ‘The WEIRD’. The two fables are different but mutually synergistic. Hence: an example of the sensitivity of any conflux of reading and reviewing. The Chapman now seems to represent the whole book of ‘The WEIRD’ — the VAN – the SAW being the combined editorial slicing and filling with the reader’s visual intake and, having seen, SAW; the final trigger of the FLEAS being the text itself.  The GOBLIN, RAT , ONE-LEGGED BUTCHER, LAMPREY being the book’s Zoo or Chameleon Pettery trying to push and pull the STIFF meaning through its STILE, the semantically-sticky burr through the tangled bush … blending mincing mulching for loading on the VANderMeer.  Many downtrod as well as other cats in the book elsewhere. Eventually, the MERE CAT itself rises from being lisa-tuttled and stands tall, proud of what it has created. The Absurd Reliquary. The Weirdonomicon. “A happy ending.” 

[The whole real-time review now signed off by the Weirdmonger, two days before his 64th birthday.] (16 Jan 12)

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