One day, as Thomas was getting up, he stepped out of bed, and his foot fell off.
He stared down in horror at the perfectly smooth, almost ivory-like space at the bottom of his ankle. With considerate symmetry, his former appendage had parted cleanly from his body. Thomas could at least be thankful for that.
The foot had fallen flat on top of the deep shag rug surrounding the bed, with all the seeming weight that his body had usually put behind it. When he was walking. When he’d used it to walk with.
Thomas’s brain started doing backflips: this would take some getting used to.
‘Is this shock?’ Thomas thought, trying to balance but eventually falling back onto the edge of the bed. ‘Am I in shock?’
He grabbed a pillow and held it to his face, burying his nose in its marshmallowy comfort. Continue reading
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin and The Road by Cormack McCarthy, despite appearing complete dissimilar at first glance, have a like patterning that quickly emerges: the themes, point of view, and each author’s subdued writing style all used for a similar narrative purpose.
In The Road, Cormack McCarthy paints a bleak tale about a man and his son and there survival in a world afflicted by a non-specific apocalypse. The trees are dead, there are no signs of life other than human life, and the remaining humans have alternatively turned cannibalistic or militaristic survivalist in an attempt to continue living in the anarchy that has ensued. Cormack’s description of a shattered world is simplistic, short and rhythmic.
He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Continue reading
In current times, pop culture is a buzzword that many people can immediately identify. Shows that mimic and comment upon popular culture, such as Seinfeld, Futurama, Family Guy, Southpark, Drawn Together—but mainly The Simpsons—are what I hear being quoted repeatedly amongst the majority of my friends. Creativity seems to be stymied, Orwellian-style, in favour of a well-worn, humorous quotation or a retelling of a favourite episode. I’m sure this has been the case to a lesser degree in the past with popular shows, but never so much since the advent of widespread media, such as the Internet and cable television.
It’s sad, but I find myself constantly questioning the originality of a particular humorous phrase, as opposed to attributing the utterance to myself or a friend. Everything becomes an echo of an echo of something said by Stan Marsh from Southpark or (God forbid) Homer from The Simpsons. Continue reading
I thought it was time to introduce myself: Sparky’s the name. My thanks to you for taking the time out to stumble around my humble piece of blogtopia, located in the blogosphere, a subset of the spectacular blogoverse (which I believe is located somewhere near the Horsehead Nebula, or thereabouts).
I’m currently uploading some older stories and non-fiction pieces, but a veritable flood of newness should be pouring forth to fill your computer screens to bursting in the near future. I’m also open to posting the writings of other aspiring prose-o-nauts, should ‘A Dark Moon in Orbit’ achieve either notoriety or fame.
I do hope you enjoy, and remember: Your feedback is valuable to us, so stay on the line.
From my quill to your screen,
Patrick Suskind’s Perfume is an epic novel built in and of the realm of the senses, though focusing primarily on the sense of smell. Odour is used as a singular writing device and its theme permeates the novel – at times sickeningly saccharine and at others artfully mixed into the piece. When the mix becomes divine, we follow antagonist Grenouille on his sensate journey so closely that we almost become part of his inner world. In so viewing, we are allowed a closer glimpse of his unique and thoroughly twisted viewpoint – we waft with him on his murderous search for the perfect scent.
Set in France, the novel opens with a blatant olfactory description of the stench that must have exuded from the pre-hygienic Paris of the 1700’s; we are immediately dropped into this fetid, aromatic world:
In the period of which we speak, there reigned in the cities a stench barely conceivable to us modern men and women.
The world is a dark haze with no clear frame of reference. A sour mixture of fear and self-loathing circles its way through my body, leaving a cold sweat in its wake. It leaves it’s trail under my eyes. Through the balding tyres of my rusting Toyota Corona, I can feel every slight bump and indentation in the road. The Morse Code of tarmac under my feet spells out my section of the Pacific Highway, always in desperate need of repair. I remember liking that feeling. It is clear-cut in a world of ambiguity and that night my stomach bunched with uncertainty.
The radio’s blaring, reception jumpy, but it’s the opposite of silence and just as seductive. The green light of the dash helps soothe me into numbness. As the white lines speed past and then blur, the numbness leads down to vagueness, and from there to the past.
I could still feel it all. That fading sensation of cool plastic phone in my hand. Those sharp words, sharp enough to cut all involved. Continue reading
King and Straub once again combine literary forces to write a sequel to 1984’s ‘The Talisman’.
In The Talisman, 12 year old Jack Sawyer ventures out from Arcadia Beach, New Hampshire on a quest to find a magical crystal known as The Talisman. It contains the power to save his mother, who is dying of cancer. Taught by a mysterious figure known as Speedy Parker to ‘flip’ between Earth and another world referred to as ‘The Territories’, Jack encounters his mother’s ‘twinner’, Queen Laura DeLoessian.
The ‘twinner’, a person’s identical self in parallel world, is also dying, meaning that Jack’s quest is also important to the future of ‘The Territories’. During his travels and up to the ultimate ending in the multi-dimension Agincourt Hotel, Jack realises there are not just two worlds but many.
This theme carries through to other of King and Straub’s novels and continues with Black House. Continue reading
Just flat out pretend you’re crazy. Start with the basics: wear underwear on your head, hug a stranger, get an obscure hobby to obsess over. If that doesn’t work, then move up to the big leagues: stop eating meat, join an extremist animal right’s group and sock it to those carnivorous unbelievers! This is called joining a cult.
Not doing it for you? Try committing a major crime and when the case goes to trial, hit ’em with the ol’ insanity plea. You shouldn’t be held criminally liable for your actions while visiting Lalaland! (In New Zealand and Australia this is known as the mental disorder defence.) The newspapers won’t care whether you actually are crazy, but the resulting media hooplah will induce mental shutdown. If that still hasn’t worked, you’ve got one more card up your sleeve: A Get Out Of Jail Free card. If your convicted, it’s likely you’ll be shoved into an institution a la One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Frontal lobotomies for all! Continue reading
[Warning: Bad Language]
*static, incoherent muttering and then a deep, husky voice*
1st Voice: ‘Ya lose, again.’
2nd Voice: ‘What do you mean?’
1st Voice: ‘Do ya really wanna know?’
2nd Voice: ‘You’re going to tell me anyway, aren’t you?’
1st Voice: ‘You totally fuckin’ missed that old granny back there’.
2nd Voice: ‘Which old granny?’
*sounds of movement*
1st Voice: ‘Blue hair. Large fuckin’ sunnies. Dressed like a hessian sack.’ Continue reading
Giramondo Publishing originates from that most venerated of Australian Arts institutions—the literary journal. Since the company’s inception in 1996—when they began releasing the biannual book-length journal HEAT—Giramondo’s main focus has shifted, and in 2002 they began publish books by individual authors.
With a number of critically acclaimed and award winning novels in print, such as Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria and Gerald Murnane’s Tamarisk Row, one-man editing team Ivor Indyk explains his past need to be a more direct part of the Australian publishing industry:
‘After some years as a university teacher and critic of Australian literature, I felt the need for a more direct involvement with writers and with the process of writing, especially since I often found myself criticising books for faults that could have been avoided with skilful editing … Continue reading