House Of Leaves
posted by Tim Walters @ 8:47 PM
I've been busy with music and such, so it took me quite a while to read Mark Z. Danielewski's House Of Leaves
(a Christmas present from Todd). It's famous as a typographical tour de force
, with some justice. Interestingly, it's done almost entirely in the most generic (and ugly) possible fonts--Times for the main text (a critical analysis of a clearly fictional film) and Courier for the fictional executor's footnotes (which tell a parallel story to that of the film). I assume that Times was chosen to reflect the (explicitly stated) resemblance of the main text to a freshman paper (and Courier, of course, recalls a typewriter), but I found myself wondering if the real reason was that people would recognize the names, which are also mentioned explicitly.
So, um, oh yeah... the book. It's a bit first-novelish in places--there are some mawkish and/or cliched descriptions, and I found it hard to believe that the footnoter would have the vocabulary he did and still type "alot" and "should of"--but the horror stor(ies) are gripping, and the typographical tricks and metafictional aspects don't feel tacked on. Not quite Pale Fire
, but very enjoyable. And my lunch waitress caught a look at the inside and said "What the heck is that?"
Plenty of opinions and speculations about the book at houseofleaves.com
Titan, Wizard, Demon
posted by Tim Walters @ 6:07 PM
I finished Carmen Dog
on Friday. I still think Emshwiller is better at stories than novels, but that's praising with faint damns, since her stories are damn near perfect (and Small Beer Press, if you're listening, I hope a reprint of The Start of the End of It All
will come soon). CD has a few perspective changes I found jarring, but other than that it's funny, deft, assuredly absurd, and absurdly assured. Highly recommended.
I had a very busy week, and when I came home Friday night I was fried to a crisp. Time for the three esses--space opera, space music, and scotch. Titan
is still a highly enjoyable adventure, and the other two aren't as far below it as I remembered (especially Demon
; here I may be influenced by Matt Austern's interpretation that it reflects Varley's tribulations with Hollywood). Satire isn't really Varley's forte, but I remembered Demon
as being nearly unreadable, and that's not the case at all.
And I liked this bit of snark from the first few pages of Titan
Few people gave a damn about the space program. They felt the money could be better spent on Earth, on Luna, and at the L5 colonies. Why pour money down the rat-hole of exploration when there was so much benefit to be derived from things that were established on a businesslike basis, like Earth-orbital manufacturing?
The space music was Grow
by the Joint Intelligence Committee and One
by Touchxtone, all quite tasty and by folks I met at Different Skies 2004. The scotch was a 17-year-old Bowmore, quite tasty as well. Thanks, Chris!