‘clusterbusting hallucinations’: Speed in Steve Aylett’s Bigot Hall

Steve Aylett Speed

This essay by Robert Kiely will be included in the book To Unearth the Bruises Underground: The Fanatical Oeuvre of Steve Aylett (Anti-Oedipus Press, 2014), edited by D. Harlan Wilson and Bill Ectric. You can also check out Aylett’s latest project at UNBOUND.

The essay begins:

Speed engenders the unexpected. It is often considered a pleasure in and of itself, or a drug, an intensifier. It is difficult to read the work of Steve Aylett without some level of bewilderment – this work puts us on the alert, strains our nerves. This prose is uncompromisingly fast – the rapidity exceeds our ratiocination, and in what follows I want to think about how his texts figure their highly self-conscious speed. One of the primary methods for doing so is to approach it negatively, by lambasting other novelists for being slow – in Atom (2000) the hapless victim is John Updike.[2] Ernest Hemingway comes in for a similar berating in Bigot Hall (1995), which I will subject to some analysis. When these texts complain about slowness, they seem to equate originality with speed and volume of content. Aylett’s books are baroque in their density, speed, and finely crafted detail; they are overcrowded, they dazzle and distort rather than producing a coherent picture of their narrative world – and this is one of their unique selling points.

Read More

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Mind is More Than Neurons

Spolia (2)

I am looking forward to reading the latest issue of Spolia. The subject matter is right up the alley that runs alongside Bill Ectric’s Place.

From the introductory editorial:

That’s why I wanted to do an issue of Spolia devoted to The Mind. To the idea that we are not just a pack of neurons, a “moist robot” as Dennett insists on calling human beings. That things like emotion and imagination (and free fucking will) are things to be valued, and are not just bad data. So to that end, here is an anti-materialist, pro-Mind reading list…”

Read More

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Remembering Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle in Time

This article of mine first appeared on Literary Kicks on September 13, 2007:

I was approximately ten years old the first time I read Madeleine L’Engle, the award-winning author of over sixty books, including A Wrinkle In TimeA Swiftly Tilting Planet, and A Wind In the Door, who died on September 6, 2007 in Goshen, Connecticut.

I’ll never forget those simple drawings of an insect crawling on the fabric of Mrs. Who’s white robe. It looked like an ant walking a string tightrope. In those days, my friends and I learned as much science from comic books as from textbooks. An arch-villain called “Mr. 103″ could morph into any element on the periodic table (now we would call him “Mr. 117″). Superman’s x-ray vision couldn’t penetrate lead, same as real x-rays. If The Flash vibrated fast enough, he could slide his molecules around the particles of a solid wall and pass through to the other side without damaging the wall.

But, A Wrinkle In Time was not a comic book. This was a gripping science fiction novel written for kids like me. It drew me in with a classic “dark and stormy night” beginning and launched me, not only to another planet, but also to a new plane of reading.

Read More at Literary Kicks

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Geeked Out

This could be a new lead in my investigation of Madeleine L’Engle’s father, Charles Wadsworth Camp. Thank you, Teenie Yogini! Check it out: Geeked Out.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Experimental Filmmaker Stan Brakhage

Stan Brakhage

When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I read in Famous Monsters magazine about a kid who made an amateur science fiction movie on 8 mm film. To achieve his ray-gun effect, the kid scratched each individual frame of film and colored the scratch with an ink marker. When, as a teenager, my parents gave me a Super 8 mm Camera for Christmas, I tried some film inking myself and was happy with the results. Some of this can be seen in my video “Cosmic Abyss (Father)” on Youtube under “Bill Ectric.” My video looks a lot like the footage seen at the beginning of this video, which, I was delighted to find today at Candlelight Stories, an interview with experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

My Druid is Christ

Columba_Napster_Stonehenge_Collage

Why did I include the Napster logo with a picture of the missionary Saint Columba in front of Stonehenge?

Well, I was reading about Druids and Christianity. I had assumed that the Christians had forced their religion upon the Druids in the same manner as when Theodosius made it illegal not to be a Christian in the Roman Empire in the year 392, or when Charlemagne waged war to covert the Saxons in the 8th Century,  or when the Spanish Inquisition forced Jews, Muslims, and others  to convert. With the Druids, it was apparently a relatively peaceful coexistence. In fact, the Saint Columba said, “My Druid is Christ.”   Some say that Druidism was already in decline by the time Saint Columba began preaching to the Irish pagans. Others say it was because Columba chose follow something Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Ironically (or sadly typical, really), Saint Columba did not get along with some of his fellow Christians as well as he did with the Druids. In the year 561, Columba got into an argument with his former teacher, Finian.  As explained at OpenSource.com:

Columba was known for constant study and prayer–really, really constant. He is said to have written 300 books, by hand of course, continuing to transcribe up to the night before he died. Finian and Columba got into a disagreement over a psalter . . . Columba borrowed the manuscript from Finian–possibly without permission–and secretly copied it with the intention of keeping it for his own use. But Finian said no, that this was theft–illegal copying! He demanded that Columba hand over the copy he had made. Finian took the matter to King Diarmait mac Cerbhiall, the High King of Ireland, for arbitration . . . the king ruled in Finian’s favor, famously saying, “To every cow belongs its calf; to every book its copy.” In other words, every copy of a book belonged to the owner of the original book . . . the story didn’t end there. After more arguing and Columba’s next offense (harboring a fugitive from Diarmait), the result was the Battle of Cúl Dreimhne, the death of 3,000 people, and Columba’s exile . . . Ray Corrigan wrote a very interesting version of the story (PDF) in a paper for Gikii in 2007 if you’d like to read more.

Maybe that’s why the Druids liked Columba. On one hand, we have Druids practicing human sacrifice, and on the other hand, Christians warring against each other. The place must have been a madhouse.

For some reason, Matthew Slater’s concept of a Christian Druid appeals to me. I trust that Mr. Slater’s model is one that practices the “thou shalt not kill” commandment.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Thomas Ligotti Interviewed by the Weird Fiction Review

Grimscribe by Thomas Ligotti

Here’s an interview with Thomas Ligotti from Weird Fiction Review:

Ligotti: The first story I read that is usually classed as a specimen of weird fiction was Arthur Machen’s “The Great God Pan.” I didn’t fully understand the story, but I felt immediately captivated by it. There was a real whiff of evil behind the events of the narrative. I then read other stories by Machen — “The White People,” The Three Imposters—and sensed that I had found a world where I belonged: a kind of degenerate incarnation of the Sherlock Holmes tales I loved so much. Immediately after reading Machen, I read Lovecraft and recognized the resemblance between the two authors, no doubt because Lovecraft was influenced by Machen.

Read entire article

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized