Tag Archives: stephen king

My favourite books of 2012

sv4I have just sat in my thinking-dome and come up with my picks of books published in 2012 (in addition to THE LAST BALCONY and THE FIRST BOOK OF CLASSICAL HORROR STORIES and BUSY BLOOD!):

The Wind Through The Keyhole by Stephen King

Dadaoism – an anthology from Chômu Press

This Hermetic Legislature (an anthology from Ex Occidente Press)

The Ten Dictates of Alfred Tesseller by D.P. Watt

The Truth Spinner – Rhys Hughes

Celebrant – by Michael Cisco

Peel Back The Sky – Stephen Bacon

The Lighthouse – Alison Moore

Motherless Child – Glen Hirshberg

At Dusk – Mark Valentine

Numbered as Sand or the Stars – John Howard

Eyepennies – a novella by Mike O’Driscoll

The Aesthete Hagiographer – Derek John

The Screaming Book of Horror

PS: Two more in comment below.

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Watch out for JANE by PF Jeffery in 2013 – that, as part of the ‘Warriors of Love’ series of twelve discrete novels, I predict will, sooner or later, become a best-seller of the highest objective quality, with definite cinematic potential.

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The Wind Through The Keyhole

Henri Rousseau: MY REAL-TIME REVIEW: Stephen King

First recorded mention of this proposed link between the SK and HR.
The painting is called “Tiger In A Tropical Storm” or “Surprised!”

Naive Art: quite relevant to TWTTK, to my mind.

Can you see the keyhole?

More Henri Rousseau paintings below in ‘comments’. Any more suggestions?

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The Wind Through The Keyhole – Stephen King

DF LEWIS’s DETAILED REAL-TIME REVIEWS OF THE WHOLE DARK TOWER SERIES LINKED FROM HERE.

The Wind Through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel

My on-going real-time reviews of THE DARK TOWER novels by STEPHEN KING. These reviews are intended to be virgin first-reading real-time-review extrapolations without benefit of any other information about them.

[All my real-time reviews are linked from here: http://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/ or just the Stephen King ones: https://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/my-real-time-reviews-of-stephen-king-the-dark-tower-etc/]

There is no guarantee how quickly the review below will progress, whether it be days or years.

THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE by Stephen King

first published 2012 – this edition Hodder & Stoughton hardback 2012 (first British edition) purchased from Amazon UK and received today.

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STARKBLAST

Pages 3 – 8

“Oy was beyond them, at the edge of the circus-painted raft, looking rapidly down at his own reflection.”

So early into my retrocausal ‘inquel’ reunion with my friends of this story-world-made-real, I did not expect such personal confirmation to me in this way from the author himself of my theory in earlier ‘Dark Tower’ real-time reviews that I am Oy or Oy am me.  Retrocausal is the key word, the ka word, I guess, something that I’ve been harping on about ever since I invented Cern Zoo. Here, we (Roland, Eddy, Susannah-Detta) find Oy talking to an old man. I, you see, am an old man, too – in real life as the reader of this book. Well, it is good to be back; Jake is somewhere ahead. [I made acquaintance with someone called Jake today for the first time by email after having read his excellent stories a few weeks ago. Retrocausality and Serendipity]. (27 Apr 12 – 6.30 pm bst)

Page 8 – 13

“‘Are ‘ee ready?’ Bix asked them. His eyes were nearly as bright as Oy’s.”

I feel an uncanny power upon me. That Bix is the old man’s name. (Bix B9 Benign??)  He is the ferryman with a raft to take the ka-tet bank to bank, I guess. Just like the reader does by reading it. Nothing happens at all if left unread. Meanwhile, oy myself wonder about ‘The Path of the Beam’ and how it has been affected by this retrocausal diversion to pre-Calla. We’re in a new billy-bumbler ball-game for we readers who read (about Mia’s Farrow et al) ‘The Dark Tower’ in its pre-ordered, pre-ordained order – till now. (28 Apr 12 – 2.15 pm bst)

Pages 13 – 35

“‘And if you come back this way, stop and visit awhile with old Bix. Tell him of your adventures.'”

As Starkblast approaches, Roland prepares to thread the wind – or the wind threads him – with two inner stories. One of which his Mother told him, as a child, about the Wind through the Keyhole. Stories so huge, I guess, that as inner stories they eventually become outer ones. Inner and outer in or out of synergy? Filleting each other for primacy? (28 Apr 12 – 6.45 pm bst)

THE SKIN-MAN (PART 1)

Page 39 – 56

She might have been knitting a blanket, but held before that barrel of a body and breasts so big each of them could have fully shaded a baby from the sun, whatever it was looked no bigger than a handkerchief.”

Like fantasy and the handkerchief-sized paper page in this book I read and on which such fantasy is literally stained in the sahpe of words. So… O any Ebook readers of this story eat your hearts out, as you think you truly follow (like me) a younger Roland and his callow companion on their inner-story quest to save a community from the skin-man. Commissioned by his father. Things I vaguely recall from reading the Dark Tower books heretofore come back to me piecemeal, making them even more real than I actually thought of them before. Time within earlier time within future time within earlier time… There is something fiction-magical, fiction-magal about the name Stephen King – a character in these books – that makes me believe I ought to read this excresence to a once thought-to-be-whole canon of truth. With any other author and I wouldn’t have bothered. Even with other authors I might generally prefer to King are not worthy of such second thoughts of completism. Only King, at his best or his second-ratest… (29 Apr 12 – 9.35pm bst)

Page 56 – 76

I loved it myself; the sound of the wind has always made me think of good times and far places.”

Although considered by the locals as too young for the job, Roland and his companion are set to deal with the skin-man – as his father once dealt with the Crows… “…‘here are the billy-bumblers sitting all a-row and scenting the air. They know, don’t they?‘” (30 Apr 12 – 6.50 pm bst)

Page 76 – 96

At least the wind, which was still strengthening, was at our backs.”

Poignancy among the skin-man kill; as a boy is comforted about his dead dad. A whodunnit for Roland and Jamie to tease out the culprit when in human form. One of the salt-miners or someone else? Currently, I’m not sure where this is all going. Even the style, oddly salted itself, drags meaningfully… (1 May 12 – 6.50 pm bst)

Page 96 – 116

Stories take a person away. If they’re good ones, that is.”

Cooling his bootheels, Roland continues – with hypnotism – to whodunniticise the boy whose dad died at the ‘hands’ of the skin-man: and tries to scry the skin-man’s markings not as an animal but as a human for future identity purposes: and, a story-within-a-story-within-a-story as a by-product or retrocausation of that hypnotism: as they prepare to face the danger of gittin that skin-man: the story within the story within a story being ‘The Wind Through the Keyhole’ that his Mother once told Roland as a child (Roland here in first person singular nekkidness as a young man being told about himself by an older manself with a mind to the Child as Father of the Mind): and it’s just like us readers being hypnotised back into the dark-towering layers of ‘story’ we were once told by a mother-King (without the ‘fu’) in a backdrop of our minds or of our single mind… “now working against the wind.” (2 May 12 2.30 pm bst)

THIS REAL-TIME REVIEW NOW CONTINUED HERE

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Weirdmonger Remainders

Just dip your nibs into the inkwell and write: readers write as well as authors, I say. And until you read the rest, it was never written at all. Reading something ensures it will be written. But writing something does not ensure it will be read. Any old fool knows that!

(That is an extract from my real-time review of ‘The Wolves of Calla’ by Stephen King.)

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WEIRDMONGER: The Nemonicon: The Synchronised Shards of Random Truth and Fiction – Prime Books 2003 / Prime-Cold Tonnage 2004

As of today, the only copies of WEIRDMONGER remaining – other than the 3 or 4 that I am personally holding back for future free competitions (eg here) — are shown on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com, as follows (paperback unless shown):

$226.98 (new)

$29.99 (used – condition seems debateable)

$998.99 (used)

£100 (Abe books, same copy also shown as used on Amazon site)

£250 (Abe books – signed hardback)

£52.99 (used)

EDIT (14 Apr 2012): The £52.99 copy has now vanished!

As far as I can see, the £100 copy has my signature on it?

Please note, as I have confirmed before, ‘Weirdmonger’ will never be an ebook or reprinted.

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My reading-lifetime’s Hall of Fame

Image by Tony Lovell (2011)

My reading-lifetime’s Hall of Fame in no particular order:

Charles Dickens, Christopher Priest, AS Byatt, Enid Blyton, May Sinclair, HP Lovecraft, Barbara Vine, Reggie Oliver, Anita Brookner, WG Sebald, Jeremy Reed, Ian McEwan, Elizabeth Bowen, Stephen King, Oliver Onions, Marcel Proust, Salman Rushdie, Glen Hirshberg, Paul Auster, Mark Valentine, John Fowles, Edgar Allan Poe, John Cowper Powys, Lord Dunsany, Algernon Blackwood, Jack Vance, Philip K Dick, Jeff VanderMeer, Samuel R Delany, Anthony Burgess, Susanna Clarke, Rhys Hughes, Lawrence Durrell, MR James, Robert Aickman, Sarban, Ramsey Campbell, Thomas Ligotti, Tommaso Landolfi, Kazuo Ishiguro, Quentin S. Crisp.

This is a list including writers I once considered in my Hall of Fame but now rarely read, and new writers whose works I read quite a lot and have included in my Hall of Fame fairly recently and variations upon that, but all have been major reading experiences some time in my life.  Apologies to those I’ve inadvertently omitted because of my semi-Proustian memory.

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The WEIRD: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories

Weird: A Compendium of Dark and Strange Stories

The WEIRD: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories

Edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer

First published in Great Britain 2011 by Corvus, an imprint of Atlantic Books Ltd.

I’m due to start below another of my gradual real-time reviews, turning leitmotifs into a gestalt. I have already ordered this book from an Amazon dealer. I hope to commence this review as soon as I receive it.

There is no guarantee how long it will take to complete this review, whether days or weeks. But more likely: months or even years (judging by the enormous size of its contents).

CAVEATS: Spoilers are not intended but there may be inadvertent ones. You may wish (i) to take that risk and read my review before or during your own reading of the book, or (ii) to wait until you have finished reading it. In either case, I hope it gives a useful or interesting perspective. Also, Nemonymous (Cern Zoo) was the original publisher of ‘The Lion’s Den’ by Steve Duffy that is included in this book.

My many other real-time reviews are linked from here: http://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/ (2 Nov 11)

“… maintaining a chemical purity in the reaction between product and appraiser. […] Submit to whatever spell, weak or strong, is being cast. Better to praise and share than blame and ban. The communion between reviewer and his public is based upon the presumption of certain possible joys in reading, and all our discriminations should curve toward that end.” – an extract from John Updike’s rules.

Just this minute received delivery of the book itself. Wow! And double-columned text – didn’t expect that. (4 Nov 11 – 1.05 pm GMT)

Having now handled this beautifully handleable tome, as gigantic as it is imposing, I wonder now if I have bitten off more than I can chew by tackling a real-time review of it.  I am thrilled as well as daunted by this project, hoping that I live long enough to complete such an endeavour. As ever with my RTRs heretofore (proceeding apace for three years exactly today), I shall treat each story as it comes. Here, with this book, I shall re-read any story I have read before in my 63 year reading-life, hopefully attuning each reading to an emerging gestalt. Every collection and anthology has a gestalt, in my experience, whether intended or not, sometimes quite an unexpected one. Whether that gestalt has a randomly inexplicable / synchronous power or a more deliberate one, I try to feed back that power to the book itself when reviewing it, e.g. knowing that a  book’s reading journey may be different if one knows, when making that journey, that one is publicly communicating the experience of that journey in real-time. Finally, I usually do not read introductions, story notes etc until I have completed the review, and that will be the case here. (4 Nov 11 – an hour later)

The Other Side (an excerpt) – Alfred Kubin

Now the area had transformed into a monstrous zoo.”

A very promising start for me, containing feral and dream-sickness (my expression, not the story’s) and zoo themes that have obsessed me. A sleeping sickness plague for humans and when they awake the animal kingdom has run amok, with frightening and humorous results. There’s even a bear that eats a pork butcher’s widow. An enjoyable and provocative dystopian fable with implications for immortality and decay. I’m not sure if the excerpted nature of this piece has meant I miss or misread some of the characters’ protagonisms… yet it seems steeped constructively, and at least partially, in War With The Newts – by Karel Capek (4 Nov 11 – another two hours later)

The Screaming Skull – F. Marion Crawford

“One always remembers one’s mistakes much more vividly than one’s cleverest things, doesn’t one?”

Apt talk of November and of drugging people like Michael Jackson so as to sleep soundly and  a tell-tale or five-fingered skull – on the loose – and soliloquised about maniacally then sensibly then maniacally again then wrecked on the rocks of the reader’s craggy mind (i.e. mine) – this is an incredibly modern tale told to us from the unmodern past.  It’s like the animals in the Kubin are emblemised as on the loose with leaden brains and grinning bony carapaces. Each single haunted skull to  betoken another somewhere else or another part of itself with Darwinian jigsaw fitting? A classic horror story that I’m pleased to have brought back to my attention. I remembered it not. Not quite like this – in this book’s heavy-bendy skull-tome context… “…the dog, his face growing more and more like a skull with two little coals for eyes;” — (4 Nov 11 – another 4 hours later)

The Willows – Algernon Blackwood

I. “It was an otter, alive, and out on the hunt; yet it had looked exactly like the body of a drowned man…”

For me, a welcome opportunity to re-read this weird classic after a number of years. Lonely Literature’s ulitmate ‘genius loci’ (gestalt stätte): the boat trip of the narrator with his ‘unimaginative’ companion (the Swede) along the ill-differentiated Danube between land and water, nature and terror. Here we echo the stream of feral beasts or skulls of earlier stories in this book alongside the patternless, human-uncontrolled surge of currencies and debts that pervade our news today, joining a ‘parent river’ then we become another different unexpected parent-in-waiting of children that were misborn years before we were first alive.  Here we have willow-prehensile land and water as a herd or swarm instinct – as accentuated by even Unimagination itself now being impeached by frissons and fears – not Three Men in a Boat with jokey bonhomie, but two men alone together in a clumsy Jungian canoe that is you and me… (5 Nov 11)

II. & III. “It was we who were the cause of the disturbance,…”

Not by (a) ‘our’ disturbing the disturbance into existence, but by (b) creating it at source, from the hands of the head-lease author via the creative narrator towards the even more creative reader?  The story’s overt implication is (a), but re-reading this story in my later years I now feel it is (b) and – with the wind, the patterings, the heaviness of soul and the shapes emerging from some gaia – all take on a new meaning as I disturb – or create? – the story’s hidden gestalt. (5 Nov 11 – two and a half hours later)

IV. & V. “Our thoughts make spirals in their world. We must keep them out of our minds at all costs if possible.”

The above “them” actually being our thoughts themselves (any or all of our thoughts to be kept from our mind!) or is it THEM: the transcendents that lurk like Old Ones beyond the thinning or “veil” (veil or ‘door’, with the swarm of bees or humming gong sound, a la Stephen King’s Todash?) – or the strange disjointed fragments of phrases that make no sense and may be our thoughts disguised? This is all genuinely frightening to the reader who, as I hinted before, is more than implicated by just reading the story – despite the 3-men-in-a-boat laughter that breaks out at one point. Yet, there are three men here after all, the ego, id and nemo, but which is the Swede (cf: ‘the American’ in the Kubin story or ‘the Russian’ in Blackwood’s ‘The Centaur’ novel), which the equally anonymous narrator and which the anonymous victim ‘otter’?  There will hopefully come soon my ‘hole in the toe of my shoe’ moment (rather than my ‘hole in the bottom of my canoe’ moment). A revelation, this re-reading, as I imagine the transcendents’ shapes made up of several animals from another ‘monstrous zoo’.

“The nemo is an evolutionary force, as necessary as the ego. The ego is certainty, what I am; the nemo is potentiality, what I am not. But instead of utilizing the nemo as we would utilize any other force, we allow ourselves to be terrified by it, as primitive man was terrified by lightning. We run screaming from this mysterious shape in the middle of our town, even though the real terror is not in itself, but in our terror at it.”
– John Fowles 1964 (from ‘The Necessity of Nemo’ in ‘The Aristos’)
(5 Nov 11 – another 3 hours later)

NB: ‘The Willows’ seems to be a treatment of self-deception (and indeed the expression ‘self-deception’ in this sense is used in its text). This is appropriate as I am currently reading an academic book by Robert Trivers about ‘self-deception’. (5 Nov 11 – another 30 minutes later)

Sredni Vashtar – Saki

Without his imagination, which was rampant under the spur of loneliness, he would have succumbed long ago.” Cf: the ‘unimaginative’ Swede in the previous story!

 A short densely textured Saki classic masterpiece about a boy fighting (according to how the mood takes you in this welcome thoughtful yet relaxing mode of reading ‘The Weird’) against (or with?) class-conscious, generation-conscious, toast-conscious views of religion and social convention and all idol religion – with a feral god fluted from the Kubin or shape-swarmed, shape-beasted Blackwood. (Loved the TV version of this story but can’t get it out of my ‘thoughts’ when reading the story).  (5 Nov 11 – another 3 hours later)

Casting the Runes – M. R. James

“…Mr Karswell began the story by producing a noise like a wolf howling in the distance,…”

Karswell, Kubin. Sakitribution. Meanwhile, this is a characteristic, if slightly off-the-wall, M.R.-Jamesian story of various civilised and partially academic narrative-levels (one epistolary, another unreliable, others more reliable), i.e. unfictionalised fiction that hides and then tantalisingly reveals a pursuant or stalking evil like a simmering burr you can’t brush off.  A mass of creatures, at one point, and a “dry rustling noise” and, also as in ‘The Willows’, an Unimagination stirred into Imagination (the latter tellingly nearer to the truth about what lies behind any veils and piques) … and a snappish creature under the pillow that I imagined to be like Sredni Vashtar. And pursuant Runes or letters (some embedded in glass not upon it) like the lexic disjointments in ‘The Willows’. “I’ve been told that your brother reviewed a book very severely…”   Following the morally satisfactory conclusion of this spooky story, I nevertheless retain some empathy, if not sympathy, with our man Karswell…. (6 Nov 11)

THIS REAL-TIME REVIEW OF ‘THE WEIRD’ IS NOW CONTINUED HERE.

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All my many other real-time reviews are linked from HERE.

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Double Zero For Emptiness – by Mike O’Driscoll

Since having published the blog below elsewhere in March 2009, I have read Stephen King’s Dark Tower books ‘Song of Susannah’ and that part of ‘The Dark Tower’ (final volume) concerning his ‘famous’ real-life accident in 1999. In both books, Stephen King appears in person, by name, as a character, at one point mentioning his sons Joe and Owen, and wife Tabby – and this accident is grafted on to the reality of the fiction in a very interesting way. [This is my real-time review of King’s DT book, written over the last few days, where I discovered this potentially important comparison.]

Mike O’Driscoll’s story ‘Double Zero For Emptiness’ was first published in 2001 (long before ‘Song of Susannah’ and the last Dark Tower volume were published). This was within the literary journal NEMONYMOUS.  This Mike O’Driscoll story now bears, for me, striking comparison with my very first and recent reading of King’s DT books mentioned above – and it deserves critical scrutiny by someone currently more detached than myself from it.   Meanwhile, it has certainly enhanced, even shaken, my experience of the time conundrums (inter alia) that the King’s DT books portray.  [Merely as an aside: this is a quote from Stephen King’s DT book: “…; his [King’s] eyes were shocked zeroes.” ]

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Double Zero For Emptiness

posted Friday, 20 March 2009

 Nemonymous's avatar

A story that is close to my heart as it was first published in the very first issue of ‘Nemonymous‘ in 2001.
I’m not sure if it has been published again since then.
It is entitled:-

Double Zero For Emptiness

by Mike O’Driscoll


This is a third-person singular ‘monologue’ as if by Stephen King upon reviewing his own ‘(un)becoming’ – his relationships public and private – his thoughts on writing – his ‘fame’ – his hopes and fears – leading up finally to that ‘famous’ road accident…
It serves for me (perhaps for me alone) as a poignant and thoughtful coda to O’Driscoll’s 2006 book ‘Unbecoming’ and it resonates with this quote from one of its stories ‘If I Should Wake Before I Die’:
“Its heart raced, a thousand beats a minute. As if trying to cram a whole lifetime into a few seconds.”

‘Double Zero For Emptiness’ was first published in 2001 and contains these words:
“…the bowel-clenching terror of knowing that tomorrow you could be shipped halfway round the world to kill or be killed by people you felt no enmity towards.”

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1. Weirdmonger left…

My review of Mike O’Driscoll’s book UNBECOMING at link immediately above.

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The Chômu ‘Man Who Collected Machen’

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THE MAN WHO COLLECTED MACHEN AND OTHER WEIRD TALES

by Mark Samuels

Chômu Press 2011

BEWARE POSSIBLE SPOILERS. STORIES NOT READ OR REVIEWED IN THIS BOOK’S RUNNNG ORDER OF THEM. ENFORCED RANDOMNESS OFTEN ILLUMINATES ONE IF USED IN SMALL DOSES.

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Losenef Express

“…and once-elegant balconies now rot on lichen-crusted facades.”

An atmospheric story on a train about a grizzled American abroad in Eastern Europe as a self-referential writerly exercise in imbibing Lovecraftian nips plus a gratuitous murder a la Camus.  Or as near gratuitous as possible, were it not for the input of self. (1 June 10)

Xapalpa

“Barron consumed his meal inside, but then took hot coffee on a sheltered balcony overlooking the main square.”

After an American in Eastern Europe, we now have another American and he is in Mexico, including similar curt glances in a public place – leading to a tale within a tale, of MR-Jamesian-like warning.  A traditional macabre tale for those who enjoy such tales, effectively steeped in Mexican landscapes and a Mexican mythos with underlying Catholic sensibilities. (2 Jun 10).

Glickman the Bibliophile

“He was not a commercially successful author and had no agent, merely indulging in post-retirement fantasies of authorial fame.”

A cataclysmic yet deadpan relating of I-lessness amid a gratuitous destruction of books and of all words real and electronic, to the extent of human physicality being wedded to that very process. Gratuitous except for the reasons given by the words I have just read about the process. A fable that will continue to give me food for thought. (2 June 10 – six hours later)

The Man Who Collected Machen

“After I had turned twenty-one, in 1969…”

This story is a must for all Arthur Machen lovers. Full of a pungent ambiance of book-collecting, smoking (Condor is (or was) a pipe tobacco), interconnecting conspiracies of, say, magus and common landlady, and a dark-effulgent London city that reminded me of ‘A Fragment of Life’.  Places and tomes that only exist in ‘magic fiction’ as opposed to ‘magic realism’….  And a blessed imprisonment that ordinary prisoners would die for. (3 Jun 10).

A Slave of Melancholy

“…the wizened ancient merely sighed, drew more deeply on his pipe…”

A Dunsanyan fantasy of a decayed city and a demanding goddess – a dream that may stay with you should you be in tune with such timeless arabesques of literature, as I am. There is an element of this book’s first story, too, a grizzled traveller and a self on self threat , here assisted by an original sense of the zombie… Meanwhile, I say it is futile to call life futile, for it is. (3 June 10 – another 2 hours later)

Thyxxolqu

“He drew out a packet of cigarettes…”

My favourite tale so far, this tells of a “word sickness” and other things that disfigure the mouth, in parallel with some Tower of Babel / Wittgenstein concept of language. It is genuinely frightening – a sense of horror at something that happens to all of us, i.e. being taken over by a natural process as part of growing-up, one we all know without really thinking about it.  [Also seen in the light of ‘Glickman the Bibliophile’, one needs to take time out & go sit in a smoky bar and just think thoughts. But do we think in English? I hope that bloke in the corner looking at me is not about to speak to me…!] (3 June 10 – another 90 minutes later)

A Question of Obeying Orders

“…he extracted his packet of cigarettes from inside his jacket, lit one with the candle on the table, drew on it, paused, and then blew out deep blue smoke into the air. The wine had made his thoughts hazy and tobacco aided his concentration. / He flicked ash from the tip…”

Another loner, this time a soldier deserting the Kaiser’s army  … faced, via a tableau vivant, with Horror of a traditional nature, but which tradition?  Meanwhile, another self on self confusion, effectively visualised dramatically. A monster summoned to shoot in a different war of souls. (3 June 10 – another hour later)

The Age of Decayed Futurity

I first real-time reviewed this story last Christmas.

“Often, when I am smoking and absolutely alone, I turn up my skirt and press the burning tip of my cigarette onto the cold white flesh of my thighs.”

This is a Samuels classic. One that ends with talk of pages covered in emptiness (or words in Thyxxolqu?). A writerly Self-Referentiality, zombification, conspiracy, retrocausality of self, and the phenomenon of Celebrity (cf Glickman), this story (as well as adding other themes like modern horror writers’ general trademark topic of static on untuned wireless or television etc), fits any new book like a hand in glove.  But whose hand? (3 Jun 10 – another 30 minutes later)

The Black Mould

“It was in the attempt to destroy itself that the mould consumed everything else…”

Although the previous story is a Samuels classic, this one is possibly a general classic – one of creeping cosmic horror. I can easily imagine myself as a young man in the Sixties loving this story, reading it aloud several times to myself and then to others (as I did then), savouring each word of this rich prose and visionary power.  Yes, genuinely, this is great old-fashioned stuff. And I sense the authorial soul of this book relishes old-fashioned horror and traditional weird literature and is an exponent of it, with tinges and twinges of modern originality to pepper the effects.  ‘The Black Mould’, old -fashioned, yet instinctively a tale for our times. (3 June 10 – another 45 minutes later)

Nor Unto Death Utterly (by Edmund Bertrand)

I first came across this author’s by-line in the Samuels collection ‘Glyphotech’ (which was the subject of my first ever real-time review in 2008 HERE).

“…a form in which modernity played no part; other than to facilitate the return of the glory of the past.”

This story is a wonderful Poesque tale in highly textured antique prose, whereby “metempsychosis” or transformation bears a kinship with the ‘Intentional Fallacy’ and Nemonymity – and whereby felt past preoccupations of horror (felt by this reader on behalf of the story’s imputed head-lease author) regarding different forms of transformation, unnatural and possibly evil.  Relating to gender or to a Goddess sensibility that even Christian conversions sometimes reveal for me regarding ‘Our Lady’, i.e. for me as a non-believing bystander. Disregarding that possible irrelevant subtext, this tale is thought-provoking in many other respects and lends more traditional Horror Genre delights to those of us who often thirst after them. (3 Jun 10 – another 90 minutes later)

A Contaminated Text

“For them the track of time is from end to beginning…”

This story is an acquired taste. It is nothing without the rest of the book  (so far). One sheds light on the other. Hollow world? Hawler world, I say.  Secret wisdoms.  And the whole book (so far) is contained or contaminated by two consecutive sentences in this story:

They dreamt of a decayed city of inverted steeples shrouded in fog, of black stars in a blood-red sky, of being dead-but-alive, and of searching after a cryptic symbol of no human origin, a symbol which alone brought oblivion. They were tormented by a voice seeming to call from a great distance, a voice muttering unintelligible words, a voice that bubbled and spat like hot tar.”

It should have used a filter tip.

A major book (so far). Samuels is Poe plus Borges and a lot more.  His work is better and worse than it seems.  But that is its skill.

In a few months, I will come back here and comment in a new real-time on my own review. (3 June 10 – another 4 hours later)

=================

The Tower

“Its first appearance occurred moments after I had woken for the day, had lit a cigarette and sat absent-mindedly in my easy chair looking out the window, with a completely clear frame of reference.”

I feel I was destined to leave reading this story until now. For the past few weeks – quite by chance – and due to be continued in forthcoming weeks – I have been reading and real-time reviewing on-line — the epic novel series by Stephen King with the overall title of ‘The Dark Tower’. Of overall Proustian length and strength. A gigantic and hugely important work for any interested in Weird Literature I feel. Whether it be by seepage between the doors of the Jungian archetypes, this short story by Samuels has for me crystallised a major event in my reading life. And I still don’t know how it may be further crystallised. The Samuels story seems to be a personal catharsis of life, death, politics, (un)sociableness, eschatology, spirituality, creativity, Ligottian pessimism (and variations thereon), etc…..using the narrative tropes of Lovecraft, Machen and other story writers of this ilk, yet, knowing his fiction as I do, this is entirely crystallised and discretely pure Samuels – a major visionary work that actually makes the Chômu book complete, a sense of satisfaction for me, hanging in the air as it has been, without me knowing it was hanging in the air, like the Tower itself. (31 Mar 11)

PS: The book itself wherefrom I have just read ‘The Tower’ is a very neat, well-produced paperback purchased from Amazon and received today – truly beautiful to handle and view – and with  a cover of the reddest red I think I have ever seen! (31 Mar 11 – another 30 minutes later)

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THE DARK TOWER: The Waste Lands

My on-going real-time reviews of THE DARK TOWER novels by STEPHEN KING.  Continued from here: https://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/the-dark-tower-the-drawing-of-the-three/

All reviews written without reading the books’ introductions … nor reading reviews or anything else about the books other than King’s pure fiction itself.

[All my real-time reviews are linked from here: http://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/]

There is no guarantee how quickly this review will progress, whether it be days or years.

THE DARK TOWER – THE WASTE LANDS by Stephen King

first published 1991 – this edition New English Library 2003

=====================================

There are three quotations from TS Eliot, Robert Browning and Robert Aickman leading to…

Book One: Jake: Fear in a Handful of Dust

I. Bear and Bone. 1 -2

“…to use as much as it was possible to use so that no part of the animal was wasted;”

 Roland, Eddie, wheeled-Susannah (odetta, undettaed) – travelling the deeply wild, if textured, text of this tween-treen-countryland … R reapplying the lore of his cortish coltish upbringing to teach the instinctive gun-law to S – backbitefiring = until a LOST-like creature topples trees nearer and nearer …a giant bear? [For me, this Kingstuff-style matures with  retrocausality of  the two brains (one oldening and the other still young) within it.] (19 Feb 11)

3 – 6

“…a bear the size of King Kong.”

E’s affectioning out his childhood past – his mind ‘watching out’ now for his late brother who earlier ‘watched out’ for E – but the bear-giant (with something metal on its face?) lumbers E up the lumber, and only S’s just-found shooting skills can save him…. [I think King is carving these ideas from a singular plot that already exists in his private museland – the Carvery-King…] (19 Feb 11 – three hours later)

7 – 10

“She felt an insane urge to touch him everywhere until she was absolutely sure of his reality.”

All this almost a forerunner of LOST – with the giant  ‘wormy phlegm’ cyborg (threaded with Richard Adams) as an ancient-intended forest-keeper  … and the human adventurers (with guts and instinctive will-power of skill) within this ‘island’ of creativity still come forth or carved from within this fiction with real mystification or mysticism, but strangely real like dehologrammed hologrammes in the imaginative space before me where I read this book.  Makes me unaccountably want to weep…. (20 Feb 11)

11 – 14

“Some far-off tickle like the feeling of déjà vu…  […] …from a when someplace… […] but they were lost places, too.”

I am tween the nexus of explanation and the mystery of things that did happen or didn’t happen but should have happened: and the Jake ‘ghost-boy’ or ‘ghost or boy’ – and the “Great Old Ones” and the horoscopic coordinates of the Dark Tower… A good campfire tale – or the truth by telling it that way to make it seem like fiction to ease any danger of knowing what could happen? Borrowers live in Drawers, but that is a crazy thought (my thought, not the book’s, but the book is never in control of your thoughts, is it?). (20 Feb 11 – another 3 hours later)

15 – 20

“In the morning we’ll follow the bear’s backtrail…”

Following the chewing upon the contrails of the jawbone in the campfire – a campfire that I projected into this section of review from the previous ones – Roland knows more than even the king head-lease author it seems, but then, equally, the author knows more than Roland as the author sees into and reports one Eddie’s ritually visionary, almost ‘Masonic’, dream of keys, fire and roses…and a new version of his own New York backstory holding a real book by Wolfe: “You Can’t Go Home Again” that seems to be a prequel of the very book I’m reading in this my own version of reality, one retrocausing even real text to change to different real text in both books! [Then Dharma-like loudspeakers…]  (21 Feb 11)

21 -24

“The quickest way to learn about a new place is to know what it dreams of.”

Some beautiful one-liners, amid an otherwise pedestrian or fabricated section of time-paradox or Whovian discussion about who?-ness: Walter, Jack Mort, Jake… One-liners, yes, but I am amusing myself with the rail-ka track (my parallel review and reviewed text) of two-liners – and “I’m going insane an inch at a time, trying to live with two versions of the same reality.” (22 Feb 11)

25 – 26

“…Eddie realized that what he had taken for gray soil was more bones, bones so old they were crumbling back to dust.”

Back to dust? Well, there is something significant about that, but most readers like you only remember, in this section, the remarkable fight with the cyborgs (more robot than cyborg, I’d say) after following to the end of the bear’s tree-crushing backtrail.  Like shooting radars off of sitting ducks? Well, not quite. And that Susannah creeps up on you.  A loose cannon, I’d say.  And I’m a loose cannon-reader – be warned, any of you robots reading this!  (23 Feb 11)

27 – 29

To whom are these references: Stephen King or Roland the Gunslinger? “There’s a lot about my world I don’t know […] And there are things I used to know which have changed” and “…Because the world is growing.” Judging by the growing size of the then unknown subsequent books that hold the holy relics of this world, I think we know the answer to that question. We need the continued use of the characters’ speech catechisms to urge the un-urgeable and to unsick the sick narrator or sick head-lease author…. or sick reader? Meanwhile, Eddie dreams of dream-doorways and places he used to know beyond them. (24 Feb 11)

30 – 32

“Yeah, put it on a postcard and send it to the fucking Reader’s Digest.”

If lands have ley-lines, King Magic Fiction (as opposed to King Magic Realism) has ‘Beams’ – story-beams or paths that the words border: so, not reading between the lines as such, but moving along the letter-impeded horizontals of space: cutting them back, carving into the bits you’ve carved off…. (24 Feb 11 – another hour later)

II. Key and Rose. 1 – 4

“One was of a door – he thought it might be the one at Number 10, Downing Street, in London –“

Jake’s backstory. Thinking him to be mad when looking for doors or portals, we, in our own madness, knew he must once have or would once have entered from his otherwise normal boyhood in real-time to inhabit the desert sun of the equally real-time of this review or of the parts of the fiction – he enters so as to inhabit – that are real by virtue of this review reviewing its own assessment of the past as sections of an already written or to-be-written or never-to-be-written book now shuffled into respective ownerships or shares of reality, shuffled and re-shuffled by the readers of this review, not by any other force. Authors are just figureheads. The book being reviewed is not even a pre-requisite.  Readers are everything. This review is taking over all jurisdiction…liberating us from all king tyrants during a new Arab Spring without the constraints of any book, holy or otherwise. (24 Feb 11 – another 3 hours later)

5 – 12

“I’m in a place I don’t know, he thought. I mean, I will know it – or would have known it if…”

A pivot for the book as well as for Jake. A bifurcation of destiny in an infinite number of bifurcations?  One can easily forget – by familarity – what a great writer Stephen King is (and has been), probably the greatest ever, if one really gets down to examining him and those he has influenced and those greats that influenced him and, by retrocausality or backstory, became ever greater because of him.  Just look at his treatment, in this section, of a great day in one’s life, suddenly realised. And the doors opening on doors and what we can expect from our own internal powers that we’ve all got if we can just tap them.  Some good some bad.

“Yet he could not look around, as you couldn’t look around in dreams when something awful was gaining on you.” (26 Feb 11)

13 – 16

“It was a wonderful high humming, inexpressibly lonely and inexpressibly lovely.”

Jake’s being beamed towards premonition of things that have already happened or half-happened mingles Alice with Oz. Deja with View. Chew with Choo. Riddle with middle, and vice versa. It’s as if the book thinks it can now only be read by readers with style and panache.  And we all know that’s true.  (26 Feb 11 – four hours later)

17 – 20

“P.S. If you left school today because you had sudden doubts about my ability to understand a Final Essay of such unexpected richness, I hope I have assuaged them.”

It is now as if Jake believes he is the one who deserves readers of style and panache like us!  The actual or literary obsession with the rose (Blake’s ‘sick rose’ or Gertrude Stein’s ‘a rose is a rose is a rose’?) , the Way Station (that he visited before or is about to visit again or for the first time and indeed with him halfway between an Exam Fever at real school and the Gunslinger’s world, this is, for me, an unstated Way Station in itself, a Way Station about a Way Station), the key with its own secret ‘s’ key, and back to Jake’s own Essay in the ‘real world’, his relationship with his parents, all a dream or just a creative writing exercise, without any help from Stephen King or from us readers humouring him that it’s all one big fiction conspiracy to make him feel he’s going mad rather than becoming an authorial genius – but perhaps, if the latter, only Jake can decide whether to humour us. (27 Feb 11)

21 -23

“The needle knows nothing about magnetic north; it only knows it must point in a certain direction,”

Rev W Awdry, Thomas the Tank Engine, but here in American style with Charlie the Choo Choo, as Susannah’s name is dropped in, almost imperceptibly, dropped in a children’s book about trains that Jake was destined to find in his possession (one steeped in his own childhood) and a book we are destined to read through his eyes, trains with smiles, rhymes, riddles, often suspicious smiles… and (for me) C.S. Lewis had ‘portals’ or doors  (C.S. Lewis rhymes with D.F. Lewis), H.P. Lovecraft, The Silver Chair, The Silver Key…my own stream of consciousness like the stream of consciousness his teacher said Jake’s prize essay admirably demonstrated… (27 Feb 11 – four hours later)

III. Door and Demon. 1 – 6

“ARE you me?”

Jake still hovers between (1) those we know we follow for real and for certain and (2) those we follow for real but not for certain. This is not really fiction reading as we think we know it; this is continuously strobing between dream and religion more like (for me, anyway).  A Cheshire Cat’s smile on my face. Mid-World seems the new buzz word, please don’t Miss it. (28 Feb 11)

7 – 13

“And he was increasingly nervous about that little squiggle at the end. It looked simple, but if the curves weren’t exactly right . . .”

…as if even the head-lease creator of the currently (re-)converging worlds of Roland and Jake is tussling and grappling with the tiniest detail of a cross-section of dream and religion that forms the on-going Beam or Audit Trail. A single slip and I will merely be staring at things as they pass by and vanish over the fiction-horizon … like within the ‘mind’ of a stationary billy-bumbler.  I sense, too, there is an element of the Romantic Wild West (seen from the vantage point of this UK reader in the shape of me and from that of the paintings that Jake now sees on “French leave“) that is trying to force itself into my reading-mind, like Roland’s mind entered earlier into Eddie’s mind when the latter was “on a Delta jet bound into JFK airport.” (28 Feb 11 – two hours later)

14 – 17

“You have come from the shadow of the heroin and the shadow of your brother, my friend. Come from the shadow of yourself,”

Roland to Eddie. As Miss World starts her Mid-Wifery, to ease Jake into Threesome world. There are elements here that make you cry, but why? Perhaps because you realise you are too old to finish this ever-lengthening series of books.  The last Stand. And I realise that I earlier predicted in a previous section without foresight “A ROSE IS A ROSE IS A ROSE” in this later section today.

“Didn’t I just say I’m livink here twenty-two years? Two blogs down.” (1 Mar 11)

18 – 24

“Once again he waited for the feeling of remembering forward to seize him, but it didn’t come.”

The hovering, slow-motion strobing(?) …. and ghosts or haunted buildings (or Eddie and his brother Henry being ghosts of themselves?) is possibly explained by the interface between ‘alternate worlds’ or between ‘time-zones’ – or “dream/religion”, “fiction/truth”, as Jake still (re-)converges and the key, ka, king-pin continues to be perfected by instinctive carving or by writing, then reading the writing… (2 Mar 11)

25 – 29

“…to Jake it suddenly seemed that the man who had written that poem had must have seen this house:”

King at his horrific word-supremest – amid demon rape and haunted house (and T.S. Eliot) – as Jake is midwifed or drawn towards birth pangs from old industrial US towards (we infer) golden-spired mid-world us – waiting for him – with Roland et al.  The Beam is ‘expecting’. (2 Mar 11 – four hours later)

30 – 44

“…as if each of them had a finger stuck in one of those fiendish Chinese tubes, where yanking only sticks you tighter.”

A catatonic, almost apocalyptic, sequence of events, with chapter sizes piling up shorter and shorter like lock-tumblers tumbling, as Jake’s door-entry back or forward is not like a simple walking through it any more but a fight with a house’s plaster-saint as it kicks into being – and scenes ripe with provocative female defilement but which even Susannah’s Innah Dettah unconsciously helps to assuage…  Time and Motion in Whovian, Lostian front- and back-stories within Chinese tubes each with baffles that equally ease or block the fables, quicken or quench the veils and piques of landscape as well as the vulnerable characters while underpinned by visionary power… (3 Mar 11)

Book Two: LUD: A Heap of Broken Images

The Heap of Broken Images image reminds me – somewhat pretentiously – of my own long-seasoned considerations regarding ‘The Synchronised Shards of Random Truth & Fiction’.  Perhaps I am meeting myself coming backwards here when reading these books for the first time?

IV. Town and Ka-Tet. 1- 3

Jake, (re-)arrived, with the ‘door-apocalypse’ seemingly over, now makes up the Quar-Tet rather than the Three, and they continue, as a Quest for a Quest, amid drumbeats (that used to be heard in the ‘Wild West’ from red Indians?), towards a spired city via the onset of a small town and its presumably occupied buildings.  Meanwhile, as readers we are all here characterised as billy-bumblers (please read this section again if you’ve read it before and you may see what I mean).  And as billy-bumblers, these three quotes are directed to us by some narrator in the pecking-order or kingdom-lease of plot-unravelling:

“‘That’s a long story,’ the gunslinger said. ‘You’ll hear all of it, in time, but for now just take the pill.’ / “Some hours later Roland called a halt and told them to be ready. – ‘For what?’ Eddie asked. – Roland glanced at him. ‘Anything.'” / “It’s always better to go straight on, unless there’s a good visible reason not to.” (4 Mar 11)

4 – 7

“It’s been long and long since I’ve seen a bumbler in company with people . . . seems they have lost the memory of the days when they walked with men.”

I, incognito as a billy-bumbler called Oy (I), keep my head down. This is probably the first book review you’ve ever read by one of the characters from inside its plot.  And the ka-tet and Oy meet a group of gentle inscrutable oldsters in the first township like the amish might have been if within a cross between LOST and McGoohan’s Prisoner and this painting … a group concerned with other groups (?) called Harriers, Grays and Pubes… (4 Mar 11 – five hours later)

8 – 11

“Oy shifted at his feet.”

I was wrong about the drums being Red Indians, as the others speculate about lost civilisations, cannibals, jungles etc – or God Drums?  Whatever case, they send a shiver down my spine, as  I listen directly and indirectly to the history from the oldsters of Lud City, and whether we should cross it or go round it – its civil war etc reminding me of Libya today whose war “has guttered like a chimney fire.”  The narrative mechanics of the book itself is like such a civil war. Much else is told and heard that may be significant but I will pick it up later if it is, such as Blaine, the mono-rail…. All slowly intriguing, immanent rather than imminent. (5 Mar 11)

12 – 16

“They reached the place that would become, once the fire was lit, just another campsite on the road to the Dark Tower.”

Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake make a poignant farewell to the oldsters and veer off into drumbeat and  the  spired ludcity and the dream-Mono in and out of lucidity.  Oy, they speculate, am a wounded refugee from others of my kind because I am dead clever.  “Too bright – or too uppity.” (5 Mar 11 – six hours later)

17 – 21

“Do you think Oy might be part of our ka-tet?”

The book’s answer to that question makes me think that oy should cease these references to Oy as the reader, i.e. me. It is getting too close to home. Almost worrying. So however strong or weak this connection becomes in my future reading of these books, however strong or weak Oy’s character or importance becomes, I shall endeavour not to mention ‘him’ again.  Meanwhile this section treats further of the meanings of ‘ka-tet’ and ‘khef’ as we ”palaver’ together campside, the nearby builderly mechanics of the city and its bridge casting imaginary shadows on my mind.  Connections and shards (“glints“) aplenty … ‘drawing’ realth as well as its paucity (my words, not the book’s). JFK (11/22/63?), Matt Dillon…  And, concerning backtrails, is it so surprising that the words Beam and Bear (Shardik) differ by only one letter? (6 Mar 11)

22 – 25

“I feel it, and I’m scared to death. But it’s not your trouble, it’s our trouble. Okay?”

Charlie and the Choo Choo book and the connections with then and now, now and then, then and now, now and then…  [Personally, the mixed feeling in this section (‘dread’ not being quite the mot juste) about this CharCharChooChoo book and about the immanent imminence of the city that the ka-tet approaches reminds me of the ‘covered market’ and ‘Ogdon’s Pub’ in Nemonymous Night. Maybe some future reader of this retrocausal real-time review will know exactly what I mean by that. Meanwhile, it’s too early to say. Even for me.] (6 Mar 11 – an hour later)

V. Bridge and City. 1 -4

This is the sort of story where, sooner or later, the characters will come upon a “downed airplane” and then spend a large part of the narrative guessing riddles. We’ve come to that point. Someone later made a whole missing generation of TV serials on that premise.  (6 Mar 11 – another 2 hours later)

5 – 8

“The chambers weren’t neat hexagons but random holes of all shapes and sizes;”

Lethargic bees – and pushing Susannah in her wheelchair resumes its problems of surface, – and with the apparent entropy of the rail-track, Lud city’s insidiously looming presence of graduality is perhaps something we will dream about forever. Somehow, I hope Roland doesn’t accede to the request to narrate his own past at any length so that we can continue uninterrupted in this Vein towards Blaine?  (David Blaine?)  [Roland indeed seems to acknowledge our willingness to be taken slowly into the city but our equal impatience to do so.] (7 Mar 11)

9 – 14

Eddie inspected the closest one with the avid interest of a man who may be soon be entrusting his life to the object he is studying.”

I know the feeling!  As the ka-tet crosses the precarious bridge of narration deeper into Lud – and they meet Gasher with a grenado – who wants Jake. [I shall need to be abstemious with plot recapitulation as the redolence fills my memory-nostrils. Impressions should be the food of reviews, not spoilt spoilers, by assuming you’ve all been here before.]

…the stink of a mattress that has caught fire, smouldered for awhile, and then been put out with sewer-water. He suddenly understood Lud.” (7 Mar 11 – seven hours later)

15 – 18

“‘What are you talking about, Edward Dean?’ / ‘Nothing’, he said, and because that was so goddam true he thought he might burst into tears,”

Our gestalt group poignantly splits in two after Gasher-napping, as the teetering balance of wired and brokenly tessellated metal-ruins makes me giddy with the power of the words that describe this Klaxon City, makes me forget they are words at all – and that effectively, when compared, I’m just another Gash-infected zombie-reader whose real-time words here are not mine at all.  Balanced finely between Susannah’s earlier visionary balm and her now nightmarish cataclashing of sight and sound. (8 Mar 11)

19 – 21

“There are a great many machines under Lud and there are ghosts in all of them – demonous spirits…”

I have written eslewhere today:-  “As I get towards the end of the third volume (The Waste Lands) I realise that this section at least is a significant and original treatment of Zombies in horror literature.” Indeed, amid frightening environs that only reading will make you believe in, surrounded by Proustian or Dwarfish selves populating both machines and heads. Tick-Tock Man, Spanker, Blaine …. Gidifee? (my name for someone, not this book’s).   A civil war as a scatology of eschatology.  Taken willy-nilly along a god-drumming, rail-sleepered Beam (or B(l)ane or Blame?) of Literature. (8 Mar 11 – two hours later)

22 – 24

“I thought he’d come after his  juicy little nightnudge a right smart, if he was to come at all, and so he did.”

There are things I’m realising about Odetta/ Detta / Susannah and how the first two blend to come the third, and then the mighty citysight of the The Cradle (as we learn something else that Eddie has given her or put inside her and waiting to be taken out of her!) – and the Manhole leading down to Lud’s hawling-grounds (my expression, not the book’s).  And Gasher – and the ‘dying fall’ of the Hansel & Gretel couple, their smoulder-love paralleling the love of Susannah and Eddie – and that nameless one (I vowed namelessness to save my own skin) who can help with certain aspects of the plot having ‘read’ other aspects of the plot: i.e. leading people accordingly through obstacles. I could ramble on. The book rambles on. That’s what so good about it … leading to the Golden Statue of the Cowboy at the end of this section. As if it has always been there. Not only in this book. But in all my dreams before I started reading it.  (8 Mar 11 – another 7 hours later)

25 – 27

“Ther’s haunts down here, boy.  They live inside the fuckin’ machines, so they do. Singin’ keeps ’em off…”

And singing is like telling, in the way of Johnny Cash.  And keep telling, Stephen, keep rambling, keep singing, I say! Things are getting big, some of the chapters longer and longer, as our trifurcation of protagonists race with or behind Gasher the booby-trapped maze under the city or inside their own tri-furcated minds.  And vast visions – like the pink Blaine Mono – burrow right into what I dreamt last night even though I hadn’t read this yet.  Passwords and doors. The only way to say ‘bountiful’ to the Tick Tock Man is with all the letters mixed up, like the names of junk email senders.  A Symphony of Sirens, this city, and tannoys for lost passengers in time.  Lost readers each with a different book, but who still understand my daily reviews. [Miss a day, and you’d wonder where I was, wouldn’t you? Or gone crazy.]  (9 Mar 11)

28

I am just about to start 28. of this section – and I’ve had a revelation, a sudden Road to Damascus:- The Dark Tower is an important premonition of the Large Hadron Collider: (cf the Blaine Mono, the Lud under-city shaped like LHC in ancient retrospect, the Beam, The Berne Zoo Bear, the Cern Zoo Lion’s Den, the Retrocausality, the doors, Charlie’s Choo Choo – it’s all here. AMAZING!  And today of all days, as I realise this, I also learn we are all going to die next Wednesday possibly as a result of the LHC (and, if so, I am never going to finish the Dark Tower books). [NB: I was editor and publisher of CERN ZOO in 2009.] (10 Mar 11)

“Running all around the single curved wall in vertical lines were tubes of neon in alternating strokes of color: red, blue, green, yellow, organge, peach, pink. These long tubes came together in roaring rainbow knots at the bottom and top of the silo … if that was what it had been. […] Another draft, this one issuing from a circular band of ventilators like the ones in the tunnel they had followed here, swirled about four or five feet above Jake’s head. On the far side of the room was a door identical to the one through which he and Gasher had entered and Jake assumed it was a continuation of the subterranean corridor following the Path of the Beam. […] The hands of the clock were moving faster than they should have done, and Jake was not very surprised to see that they were moving backward.”

I believe this scene  – which I watch (“Two gold-ringed eyes floated in the dark behind the chrome louvres” and that’s me!) – is one of the greats of Literature with a capital L, i.e. the meeting of Jake and the Tick Tock Man.  Gobsmattering. (10 Mar 11 – two hours later)

29 – 34

“He had seen doors like this a long time ago – you couldn’t shoot out the locks, and you certainly couldn’t hear through them. There might be one; there might be two, facing each other, with some dead air-space in between.”

As an aside – or, indeed, entirely relevant to the above – Stephen King announced yesterday that in 2012 there would appear a new novel as an inquel to the Dark Tower series: The Wind Through The Keyhole.  Do I leave reading this new novel till the end (ie until after reading and reviewing the current final book entitled ‘The Dark Tower’) or do I pause my real-time review after Wizard and Glass until TWTTK is published? [A genuine question to those who have already read the whole series to date. Please kindly reply to dflewis48@hotmail.com.] Meanwhile, this section proved how brave I am as a reader – or foolhardy – to add to my own “dry pragmatsim and wild intuition“!  Riddling Little Blaine, Tickling Ticky into mistakes, this book is brave to have such wildness itself.  One wonders who is really in control.  I’m just intrigued by the concepts of a Large Hadron Choo Choo… one that speaks and has witty rejoinders as well as fascination with ‘frictive patterns and dipthong stress-emphasis’. [But shouldn’t it be diphthong?]  The tantamount-to-a-wild-west-shootout at the end of this section is still shooting-out as our protagonist groups begin to re-converge or shake-out or ‘shuffle’ back… (11 Mar 11)

35 – 37

“…huge engines powered by frictionless slo-trans turbines awoke the command of the dipolar computers the Tick-Tock man had so lusted after. For the first time in a decade, Blaine the Mono was awake and cycling up toward running speed. […] … who had always believed that the ghosts lurking in the machines below the city would some day rise up to take their long-delayed vengeance on the still living, … […] … the unthinkable machinery which maintained the Beams…”

As our ka-tet’s plot potential re-converges in this section (much danger resolved but noises and beams still at play), I must point out that the link I gave here yesterday to that ‘Next Wednesday’ Earthquake & Hadron Collider article contained a picture of a huge devastating whirlpool. Without making too much of it in times of tragedy and catastrophe – to which we are all today giving our thoughts and prayers – on the news this morning, there was a live broadcast of a similar whirlpool near Japan. (11 Mar 11 – two hours later)

38 – 40

If madness can be creative, we have it here. Not King’s madness, not mine, not even yours. But the soul of this book (is it Wizard, or is it upon an even higher pecking order yet to be revealed by the book) as the Tick-Tock Man (now with name: Quick)  is exhumed by not frictives or diphthongs, not by fictives and dibbuks, but by us-as-the-book, or not exhumed, but resurrected ‘religiously’ – as we grow pleased at our ka-tet‘s own regrouping but fearful that forces are growing beyond all control, as we fictively travel within or through or upon or as the Mind of the Mono itself (a mind that feeds on, inter alia, Riddles) – or so I interpret.  Intrigued, too, how the forces of the book that are insulated within another discrete world can still tap into our own discrete world (from where we read it) osmotically or by some other means of poetry… “‘IN THE ROOMS THE PEOPLE COME AND GO,’ Blaine said, ‘BUT I DON’T THINK ANY OF THEM ARE TALKING OF MICHAELANGELO.’“(11 Mar 11 – another 90 minutes later)

VI. Riddle and Waste Lands. 1 – 6

“Violet dots appeared at irregular intervals along the line, and even before names appeared beside the dots, Eddie realized he was looking at a route-map, …”

A premonition of the sat-nav/ gps in ‘Full Dark, No Stars”? Here the journey is as on a Hawling-Drill – with an obstreperous Blaine-voice like Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo and with both comfort / décor and deliberate danger as Lud is crossed in the aftermath of the Tic-Toc, with Susanah beset internally and externally by versions of the Odetta and Detta souls – and another premonition, this time of CGI as views are either chosen or discarded for viewing in real-time from the train’s viewing cabin… (11 Mar 11 – another two hours later)

7 -10

“The lands below had been fused and blasted by some terrible event – the disastrous cataclysm which had driven this part of the world deep into itself…”

We are riddled towards an outcome. But I remain very sad that – today of all days as the world is driven even deeper – I earlier disowned myself and dare no longer even say my own name or, if nameless, exactly who I am.  Perhaps I can outstay my welcome by failing to answer my own riddle.

“There is some deep sickness at the Dark Tower, which is at the heart of everything. It’s spreading.”

END (11 Mar 11 – another 2 hours later)

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I shall be real-time reviewing in due course the fourth book in ‘The Dark Tower’ series. Please watch for an eventual  announcement and the link to it in the comments below.

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Capek’s Newts Corengate at the Dark Tower

I find myself suddenly reading three books in overlap:

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THE BEST OF ALAN COREN TBOAC (1980)

The only one by my own volition, having impulsively bought it while on a shopping trip with my wife in Frinton-on-Sea a few days ago. It actually gave birth to my Expen the Scusil website, as well as amusing me with Mr Ocren’s slightly dated off-boat humour.

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THE DARK TOWER – THE GUNSLINGERTDT – TG (1982) by Stephen King

At the behest of some members of the Message Forum Stephenking.com I just joined following my Real-Time Review of Full Dark, No Stars.  You see, I admitted to reading all SK works as they came out except ‘The Dark Tower’ books.

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WAR WITH THE NEWTS – WWTN (1936) by Karel Capek

This is at the behest of Quentin S Crisp.  Not that I had to read it. But I was strirred to do so by his intriguing reports of it.

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These three books – into none of which I have as yet got very far – are beginning strangely to harmonise with each other. Off-beat, off-boat, brooding yet absurdly creaturifying.

Who knows where they are taking me. (14 Jan 11)

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WWTN I. 1 – 3

 A cross between Alan Coren, Stephen Leacock, Rhys Hughes, Jonathan Swift. A blend that makes me believe in the creaturification of words. Tails lumping between the lines.

“And God has no shingle at all, on earth or in heaven.”
Interesting use of uppercases and uppercuts. (15 Jan 11)

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TDT-TG: I. 1 – 5

“…where demons undeniably walked;” I’ve reached the end of Chapter 5 of the first section. (I’ve not read the Foreword or any other impure non-fiction gubbins that precede these chapters). A brooding spaghetti western, brilliantly evoked in King’s inimitable style. The last Gunslinger in an oblique quest, meeting strange characters, feeling strange feelings, surrounded by the creaturification of the words that bear him on their backs. “And pigs would dance the commala in the light of the Peddler’s Moon.” (15 Jan 11 – two hours later)

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‘Yes,’ said the voice, ‘one does not run into four-foot dragonflies every day of the week. However,’ it continued, unplucking itself from the roof and dropping to the floor beside me, ‘we do not, contrary to popular myth, sting people.’ – TBOAC (Page 57) – (15 Jan 11 – another hour later)

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WWTN – I. 4

“Those poor little buggers so multi-pigged themselves in Devil Bay – “

Amazing stuff. Narrative and disbelief of narrative by others within the same narrative, plus memory loss – concerning giant walking lizards that the locals see as Devils, the pearls that our Jules-Vernian captain is teaching them (he says) to harvest.  Multi-plied, not -pigged.  (16 Jan 11)

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TDT-TG: I. 6 – 7

“Somewhere something was tottering, and when it fell, all would end.”

Narration within a narration as the Gunslinger is told by his one-night stand about the Man he follows, i.e. the Man in Black with an ability to resurrect the dead, particularly a told-about corpse with a sick grin, amid more mysteries and oblique wonderful weirdmongerishness and not davinci but numeral codes….nnnnn nineteen… [I keep expecting one of Capek’s giant lizards to stump along the tussocky horizon as a cameo.] (16 Jan 11 – two hours later) 

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Beethoven’s living liver: “Shrunk to half its proper size, leathery in consistency and greenish-blue in colour and bean-sized nodules on its surface.” (TBOAC – page 61)

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WWTN – I. 5: Captain J. van Toch’s Trained Lizards

“Back home, man, we have devil priests who are downright wizards.”

Gossiping of Capek Toch – and the transportation of his lizards and their human-likeness or king-kongish novelty – “ts ts ts ts ts” – they go – or do they speak like we do – in tongues? Like Eliot’s cats? Stealing our own pearls of wisdom?  I am getting a feeling for this sf-topian fiction, a feeling that it is true, because it makes so much sense in the context around me. My birthday tomorrow. (17.1.11)

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TDT-TG: I. 8 – 10

“He was like something out of a fairytale or a myth, a fabulous, dangerous creature.”

Like King himself in 1982 as distilled by his fiction?  And what is over the other side of the endless desert? Devils? We’re not told. Too busy looking after the Gunslinger’s mule. There might even be giant lizards brooding inscrutably out there?  Reading this book and wondering why they’re not mentioned? Thinking aloud. (17.1.11 – an hour later)

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From ‘Semitopia’: “However, these urges do not die; the semi-spirit lives on.”  (TBOAC – page 208) (17 Jan 11 – another 3 hours later)

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WWTN – 6. The Yacht In The Lagoon (Part One)

This book is really taking off nyfelyA gradually benuding Botticelli nymph nommed Sweetiepie Li watched by male admirer – ABEing, after original considerations of cannibal talk & kingkongish ‘gorilla’ nature with their fay wray – she meets the lounging lizards – doing obeisances before her and giving some sort of communion by pearl-fishing…  Nyfe in the Water.  Ts ts ts.  Who would have read this book without some sort of pushing…. (18 Jan 11)

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TDT-TG: I. 11

Another knife and another nude woman. The Gunslinger has a past & it  is being eked out non-collusively to we bystanders of this very strange konking fiction. I wish I had read this book before. It sheds light on other pieces by this author I’ve enjoyed piecemeal from the time of Carrie in the seventies.  But the light The Gunslinger sheds is diffusive, misty, intriguing, a dream that is slowly fitting into shape in a parallel way to how the story of the lizard-newts is emerging within the other novel I’m reading randomly alongside it. (18 Jan 11 – an hour later)

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“English Bohemianism is a curiously unluscious fruit. It does not belong in the great, mad, steamy glasshouse in which so much of the art of the rest of the world seems to have flourished – or, at least, so much of the pseudo-art. Inside this hothouse, huge lascivious orchids slide sensually up the sweating windows, passion-flowers cross-pollinate in wild heliotrope abandon, lotuses writhe with poppies in the rich warm beds, kumquats ripen, tremble, and plop flatly to the floor – and outside, in a neat, trimly-hoed kitchen garden, English Bohemians sit in cold orderly rows, like carrots.” (TBOAC – page 210)

Like carrots, or , rather, lizards … or weirdslingers? (18 Jan 11 – another hour later)

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WWTN – 7. The Yacht In The Lagoon (Continued)

This lagoonery seems to be a panoply-within-panoply of the emerging lizards (now nown as newts) – as if the book itself is giving gradual birth to them via its own literary-real process of evolution… and it appears I was spot on at least with the kingkong ethos and faywray … and the photostatoo — of a giant lizard hugging a woman within the comments below — that I used for the cover of a book called Cern Zoo in 2009…  I am protoplasmically entranced by WWTN. (19 Jan 11)

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TDT-TG: I. 12

“The gibbering madness that walks and crawls and wriggles through men’s most awful wants and desires.”

From that beautiful woman ‘surrendering’ to creatures just now in WWTN, we have here in TDT-TG, almost by inversion, a grotesque woman preacher creating creatures from herself as conjurations of her gospelling prayers … while the Gunslinger watches her memorable ‘performance’, here in Tull.

“I have walked arm in arm in the lion’s den…” (19 Jan 11 – another hour later)

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” ‘I blame the Zoo,’ said the Lion.”  (TBOAC – page 224) (19 Jan 11 – another 45 minutes later)

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WWTN 8 Andrias Scheuchzeri – 9 Andrew Scheuchzer

Scientific context and technical names for our new newzardy friends emerging from the primeval waters of a rare fiction-reality and London Zoo where they’re human-language-talking freely about their new readers who have come to them as a result of my review. Or rather Quentin’s suggestion that I and others read about them. Thanks, Quentin. It is so much like the ethos of ‘Cern Zoo’, I can’t quite believe it. Not that you knew that, really, I suppose. It’s like serendipity has emerged from a ‘one in an eternity of trillions chance’ conflux of dream and reality. 

“As can be seen, fame demoralises even newts.”  (20 Jan 11)

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TDT-TG: I. 13 – 20

“Why do you have to think you’re in the middle of such a mystery?”

In 1982, when this book was first published, it must have been a horror genre trail-blazer. It stil is – and the Gunslinger continues his quest for the Man in Black, piecing together, yes evolving (in the context of this whole real-time review) items of gossip into truth, prehensile myths into first hand experience, a Tullish killing-mayhem, weirdmongerishness (prefiguring as I now realise for the first time my own ‘Weirdmonger’ story published in 1988) – as, here, the first section of this book (called ‘The Gunslinger’) comes to an end. Very impressed.

“The wind walked restlessly, told its tale to no one.” (20 Jan 11 – three hours later)

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“Call me Passepartout. Should you ask why, I should have to reply, in my mortification, that it is because my shoes are bound together with adhesive tape.  In the old days, you could have called me Ishmael.” (TBOAC page 244, ‘Flying Dutchman’) (20 Jan 11 – another hour later)

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WWTN 10: The Fair at Nové Strašecí

” ‘How much is six times seven?’ / ‘Forty-tw0,’ quacked the newt with an effort.”

A hilarious but equally sad freakshow type scene – with both Capektain protagonist and newt shrunk to tin-bath or book’s own size.  (21 Jan 11)

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TDT-TG: II. 1.

“Because the man in black had shrunk two full feet…”

The book’s 2nd section starts here (THE WAY STATION), resonating, via high fantasy, and a self-concocted nursery-rhyme merged or muddled from the gunslinger’s childhood, approaching a sandhouse waystation (where I imagine tiny lizards foraging but not by dint of any words telling me that) – and has the man in black whom he seeks really shrunk…?  Only at waystations can plotspoilers roost without compunction but then fly off as if they’d never been there at all, I guess.  Meantime, the prose in this book is genuinely some of King’s best I’ve ever seen. (21 Jan 11 – another hour later)

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Under The Influence of Literature: “Dear Mother, / Please do not be alarmed, but I have turned into a big black bug.” (TBOAC – page 250) (21 Jan 11 – another 45 minutes later)

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WWTN 11 – 12 – Of Men-Lizards; The Salamander Syndicate

“(You talk as if this is a novel.)”

Indeed, I wonder if this is a novel at all but rather a specialist literary exercise never seen before (except possibly in Lovecraft), plus piecing together clues and documents – team-building by means of suppositions and Minutes of a business meeting trying to value the share price of global geomantic upheaval or the tangible creation of the very SFtopia we are reading into existence via our imaginative-ontology-teleology or simple ultimation of unneutered fiction neutered by truth (or vice versa?).

I still have the Appendix: The Sex Life of the Newts to read and review, but otherwise we have reached the end of this book’s first section (entitled Andrias Scheuchzeri)  (22 Jan 11)

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TDT-TG: II. 2

“It was not fair to ring in innocent bystanders and make them speak lines they didn’t understand on a strange stage.”

But who is stander and who is bystander, I ask. Our protagonist meets a boy called Jake who speaks of memories that may or may not be of a real world that we readers or bystanders know, a world that haunts the gunslinger’s world. Which world neutered, which unneutered? The book in my hand seems to indicate something real about my own once-upon-a-time world of old-fashioned TV sets. But what if it were now a slippery text on a Kindle, instead? (22 Jan 11 – two hours later).

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“I have taken the trouble to enclose a brick of the Leaning Tower…” (TBOAC – page 279) (22 Jan 11 – another 30 minutes later)

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WWTN – Appendix to ‘Book One’: The Sex Life of the Newts

“…the important concept of the sexual milieu, which represents a separate intermediate stage between parthenogenesis and sexual reproduction.”

We must remember, I suppose (although I yet fail to see how, in the light of the Intentional Fallacy, it could ever be relevant to a textual appraisal of the book and its pure imaginative resonance), that WWTN was published in Czech in the period leading up to the 2ndWorldWar.  Meanwhile, this section talks of the sexual patterns or mating dances, erotic, religious, physical, spermatic, of a collective newtork.  The Collectivity of  Andrias Scheuchzeri -Andrew Scheuchzer as a single character in this book rather than a breed of giant lizards or salamanders or newts.  The book’s Gunslinger with the bullets built in.  Entailing parthenogenetically the distaff- as well as spear-carrier.

[NB: The first ‘Nemonymous’ in 2001 was printed with the subtitle: A Journal of Parthenogenetic Fiction and Late-Labelling – later giving birth to lizardy CERN ZOO as its 9th edition.]

“…the Great Copulator…” (23 Jan 11)

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TDT-TG: II. 3 -4

“Somewhere a radio is playing a song by the rock group Kiss.”

[Cf: “This, if we may so call it, kiss continues for several days;” in today’s WWTN reading above.]

A past car crash (like exploding lizard sex?) is emblematic of Time’s retrocausality as the Gunslinger and Jake, at the Way Station, seem to transcend destiny – as well as the thought that the man in black may be slowing deliberately so that he can be caught up with?   (23 Jan 11 – another hour later)

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“Man here wants to have a go at the salmon.” (TBOAC – page 282) (23 Jan 11 – another 15 minutes later)

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WWTN – II. Up The Ladder of Civilization

This section with much data (some in very small print) may take me a while to study and absorb. So all readers of this real-time review need to be patient.  Fundamentally, it appears that Mr Povondra, seemingly exhibiting today’s fashionable form of male aspergers, is collecting all the News of Newts, i.e. cuttings and other data, with the condescendingly indulgent permission of his mother, who recognises that men should have their boyish ‘nutcase’ obsessions. Apparently, too, Mr P is also doing this for his own posterity or legacy as the doorman who allowed Capektain Vantoch in to see Mr Bondy and hence ignited the world’s (currently) 70 million Newts and its consequent geomantic transfiguration (akin to an erstwhile benign form of global warming?)… (24 Jan 11)

This Review of WWTN will continue on another page yet to be announced in comments below.

The Review of THE DARK TOWER – THE GUNSLINGER will also continue elsewhere, to be announced in comments below.

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Star is Rats backwards

FULL DARK, NO STARS by Stephen King
“A spear-carrier for us all … a gestalt of guilt and sudden nightmare.”

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Full Dark, No Stars – by Stephen King

I’m due to start below another of my now universally remarked-upon real-time reviews, turning leitmotifs into a gestalt.

Stephen King – ‘FULL DARK, NO STARS’ : Hodder & Stoughton 2010.

There is no guarantee how long it will take to complete this review, whether days or years.

CAVEAT: Spoilers are not intended but there may be inadvertent ones. You may wish (i) to take that risk and read my review before or during your own reading of the book, or (ii) to wait until you have finished reading it. In either case, I hope it gives a useful or interesting perspective.

All my real-time reviews are linked from here: https://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2010/09/07/df-lewis-real-time-reviews/

1922

“It could stay there until the end of time, for all of me.”

Until now, that is.

This novella entitled 1922 is the year my own father was born.  And this is a father (‘the Conniving Man’) and son relationship, where dire influences and results of human nature (weaknesses as well as strengths) pan out towards a Bonnie & Clyde scenario.  But that gives a wrong picture. Each time I renew my acquaintance with King’s work, I’m amazed how I’d forgotten how good it is and how, retrocausally, the books all came flooding back, like good ‘bad memories’ or rats in the wall of my brain.  This story contains so much heartache and, above all, or below all, a central tableau well-image that sears your very soul. with each new sighting or imaginary ‘take’ you take of it. A still life whence bits come off up from it and attack you. Literally.  Yes, literally. Until now, that is. Looking back at the whole harsh reality-symphony that Kings you out, sets you back on the balls of your feet.  I ended so sad. But so certain. That I had lived through a literary as well as literal experience. And a Horror genre experience that makes you proud of that genre, even if the books themselves often facially disown it.  Staring up at you. Things moving back up.  Time and time again like a recurring dream that even sleeplessness or the deepest possible sleep itself can’t protect you against dreaming. (2 Jan 11)

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Big Driver

Page 127 – 175

“The abandoned store with the ticking sign was then still ninety minutes away, tucked snugly into the future…”

Here, by stunning (truly retrocausal) synchronicity of fiction, the equivalent, if not identical, ‘well-victim’ from the previous story takes the stage as the plot’s protagonist: No-1-Lady-Detective-Agency-type creator, pussy-cat loving – now suddenly concealing, within an inverse whodunnit, her own traces so as to prevent her reputation being entrammelled by the horrendous out-of-character crime visited upon her by Fate, by a helpful lady officiator with a short-cut, by a giant man in a “truck” called “trick” and by Tom the Sat-Nav…and by her own self-conscious Bonnie Tyler voice…

It’s almost as if she’s wearing this story like a vehicle. (2 Jan 11 – six hours later)

Page 175 – 228 (End)

“She paused long enough to look back over the pages and see if there was anything she had forgotten.”

Only King can get this to work as it does. Just to disguise the precise direction-finding of the story-line itself, I shall not change anything in what I’ve already said above (i.e. about 4 hours ago) when writing about this novella up to page 175.  Astonishingly, it all still applies, but differently. It is as if I am party to some deeper level of narration that every reader is writing alongside King. A confesssion of I-did-it.  I am a party to the blame. But I will add that bits of this story rear up and talk to me of atonement and revenge stitched with ‘1922‘-like guilt-nightmarishness now expressed, partially, as internet-paranoia. And in many ways, I regret having started this incriminating real-time review for fear of being googled into it.  But it’s too late. I’m already knitted right into the texture of the text up to the hilt. Cast on with no hope of casting off.

A genuinely far-fetched story Sat-Nav’ed towards outright believability of truth. Brought into some audit-trail or route of cartographical turning-points in womanly righteousness. (2 Jan 11 – another 4 hours later)

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Intermission: Sleeping on the book’s title, with two more fictions for me yet to read, I think the inference may be that death is full dark with no stars, and as represented by the first fiction, there is no soul or Star, indeed, nothing to speckle out the uniform unconsciousness … but there are Rats.  Rats as retribution-seekers given birth to by death? Or as sparks of life … reincarnation?  Or simply a horrific reminder a person is nothing but meat rats eat? Or something else yet to be established? Some other whodunnit DNA yet to be knitted by the ‘truth’-needles of fiction? (3 Jan 11)

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A Good Marriage

“o omnipotent Google, so generous and so terrible.”

I think this is the first time I’ve ever made this mistake in one of my real-time reviews!  I am very upset with myself: accidentally reading the book’s fiction out of order.  A genuine mistake. This is the fourth fiction in the book, not the third.

But perhaps there is meaning even in mistakes.  I feel this is where the first two stories meet each other in the mirror of each other.  “….where every truth was written backward.”  A catharsis yet not a catharsis for the book.  Another nightmare happening that you would wish never to have happened. Only if you could turn the clock back. Or change reality itself. Another woman with a ‘well-tableau’ – a frozen, spotlit, searing vision of past and future colliding. Forgiveness and retribution in close “propinquity” if not coincidence.  The ground being taken away from under your feet: the ground you’ve stood on, it seems, forever. A sinking feeling. And things again talking to you from reality as well as from the fiction that contains that reality: like those earlier rats, those sat-nav’s of life, those knitting patterns that don’t seem to work out, those potentially collectable coins in currency across time and space, those Google ‘caches’ that incriminate you from the future’s storage of the past. I feel almost guilty simply reading this fiction.  That’s how King’s fiction works: enjoyably compelling narrative, as ever, the storytelling made perfect by its imperfections – but also guilt trips creeping up on you unawares: and mistakes. Until now, that is. And you try to undo or conceal it. But the internet is unforgiving. I will not even think about deceiving it, let alone the people who read it. (3 Jan 11 – five hours later).

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Fair Extension

” ‘I swung a reality extension…’ “

In many ways, I’m glad I’ve left this ‘iffy’ epilogue, coda, morality tale, fable – inadvertently or serendipitously – in its rightful place, here, at the end, where things inevitably end up.  Essentially about the ultimate rat-infestation of a body as a sunken ‘well-tableau’ and the law of averages not being an average law.  If I had a wish granted and wished ‘subtraction’ from anyone, for my own selfish benefit in the share of things available to us all, it would be from the author of this short story (the only short fiction in this book not long enough to be called a novella). Thankfully, that author’s not King as King wouldn’t have been able to countenance writing this.  The one who created this story is an anonymous writer or a bit ghost-writer with broad shoulders enough in the scheme of unfair Fate.  A spear-carrier for us all.

Meanwhile, the three main novellas in this book have surely been created by the King of Authors – a gestalt of guilt and sudden nightmare. They represent the overall Horror classic. Genuinely.

I shall now read the book’s ‘Afterword’ for the first time. But I shall not be back here to tell you about it. (3 Jan 11 – another 3 hours later)

END

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