THE DREAM PEOPLE #29
Just back from a few days in Devon. Still out of breath from running all the way home, so I'll just stop (in between coughing) to quickly say:
Big up Stanley A, Harlan D and the good folk at The Dream People, your one-stop on-line shop for Irrealist Avant.Fiction! For these blessed people have just included my story "Kettle!" in their latest issue...and much chuffed am I, a mere mortal, to be included in amongst such Neo.Lit and Bizarro.Fict giants as Cameron Pierce, Kevin Donihe and Kevin Sweeney (along with some other folk that I'm, er, less familiar with).
"Kettle!" is part of a cycle of stories that I've been working on, set in some oppressively bureauocratic fictional-universe that seems to have certain shared characteristics. The stories are all stand-alone yet feature protagonists who have names that are deliberately and confusingly similar, etc...the vibe is some sort of lite-weight spun-dried pop.cultural mulch-up of all the usual suspects - Kafka, Orwell, Solzhenitsyn, etc - basically, I tried to write the sort of stories that I used to imagine Gogol wrote many years ago back before I actually read any of his stuff lol, but filtered thru a sort of mid-50's Brit SF and low-budget Magic Realism sensibility. Of course, the coolness of the concept, as ever, far outweighs my talent lol. So far I've written a small handful of these. Forrest Armstrong has been egging me on to do some sort of handmade chap book, either as part of Discharge or solo...so these stories may turn up one day as part of limited ed. homemade vanity-publishing project that is tentatively titled, er: The Traffic Inspector's Daughter, and other tales of The Pseudo-Psoviet Protectorate.
In fact, I was writing some notes for another one of these a couple days ago in North Devon. It involved a soup-vendor lol.
So anyway....yeah, the excerpt up on The Dream People from Kevin D's "House of Houses" seems fairly intriguing and bodes well for the novel (which I've not read yet, but it's about a guy who marries his own house). Here's a write-up I snagged from Amazon:
"This is perhaps the weirdest book that anyone has ever written, or will ever write. Donihe is the best kept secret of the Bzarro fiction genre." - Carlton Mellick III, author of Adolf in Wonderland. There once was an odd reclusive little man who was in love with his house. He loved this house not in the way that normal people love their homes. His was a more intimate love, like the love between two humans. He loved his house so much that he asked it to marry him, and he believed that his house happily replied with a yes. Unfortunately, their love was to be torn apart the day before their wedding, on the day of the great house holocaust. On this day, every house in the world collapsed for no explainable reason. It was as if they killed themselves, and took many of their occupants with them. Distraught and despairing over the death of his fiancée, this man must go on a quest to find out what happened to his beloved home. On his quest: He will meet Tony, a self-declared superhero, who looks kind of like a black Man-At-Arms from the old He-Man cartoons and claims to protect the world from quasi-dimensional psychopomps with his powerful sexpounding abilities. He will meet Manhaus, who seems to be part man and part house. And, finally, he will venture to House Heaven, a world where houses live inside of bigger houses made of people."
'House Heaven' sounds pretty wild!
Oh, and, uh, speaking of Forrest Armstrong, a (very) belated thanks to him for sending me a copy of "This City is Alive" - the terrific book he recently created in collaboration w/ uber-artist (and fellow Dischargian) Jase Daniels...these guys are two talented joes who are both folks to watch, whose creative muscles, I reckon, are just starting to warm up. I've read this novella twice since christmas - which is pretty unusual for me...but for something that's quite experimental, it's a very smooth and 'easy' read; the pages pretty much turn themselves, specially if, like me, you read it in that weird dream-like 'tired' state you reach just prior to going to sleep....like a comic-book, it's something that lends itself to repeated fast re-reads - and I don't mean that as a pejorative! Just 'cause it's got Jase's fab n freakish art as part of the narative don't mean it's a comic or a graphic novel - oh, no, it's something else altogether - but it's fractured and episodic and lean and visual in the same way that cool comic-books are...and like some of the other new underground stuff that's starting to surface recently it's got that same punkish buzz about it as early Bruce Sterling stuff like "The Artificial Kid" or Jeter's "Dr. Adder" - not that it's anything like either of those books or writers stylistically, but it's got that rawness and energy you get from guys who are starting to mold their influences and dreams into a voice that is distinctly their own.
Copies are available directly from Forrest's site here. And there's an interview w/ Jase and Forrest talking about their work on (surprise! surprise!) The Dream People.
From talking to Forrest in recent weeks, I know he would prob. describe himself as more of a Surrealist than a Bizarro writer (Bizarro being, as I've said before, more of a flag of convenience for the most recent wave of outsider writers, than a coherent, focused full-on movement or genre), but viewed thru some sort of flash-frozen Post-Burroughs Kaliedoscope...a world where Surrealist and Psychedelic imagery kinda melt or ooze into each other rather than collide (an idea that I can happily live with, since it tickles me own sensibilities), and this is more evident on lysergically bejewelled short stories like "Liquid Paris" wh/ is also included in the book. F recently gave me a heads-up on a mind-meltingly delicious new story which I think is the best thing he's written so far and shows how rapidly his chops as a writer are developing. Like I said, he's a man to watch...and we were all v. chuffed when he recently accepted an invite to join the Discharge group of writers and artists.
One of the things I kinda like doing on Kid Shirt is opening up channels of communication between different sub-undergrounds, irregardless of whether it's musicians, artists, writers, film-makers or whatever...I think some of the Free-Noise, Psych, etc bands have far more in common w/ some of the Neo-Surrealist or Avant-Punk writers or artists than they realise, and in a lot of cases they weren't even aware of each other's existence...so I have no shame or embarrassment about bigging-up or supporting these various peeps - I've met some talented and cool folks in recent years who were part of disparate groups/factions/networks/disciplines in different countries and continents, so it's great to see them slowly turning on to each other's work and vibes...the exchange of ideas and possibilities for collaboration are almost unlimited and incredibly exciting, I think - I get a similar buzz from hearing some amazing, ltd/obscure 7" or cassette, or watching home-made animated DVDs as I do reading some cool new self-published book or comic or art-projekt - it all seems to be part of the same thing. So power to everyone who's switching off their TVs and trying to create something rather than just consume -- yea, power to all of you, wherever you are and whatever yr doing...!