Archive for July, 2008
Thanks to Ellen Datlow, Kelly Shaw, Ron Hogan, and, of course, Jack O’Connell for contributing to this Resurrectionist/O’Connell appreciation week. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. (You can find out more about the novel at Enter Limbo.) To finish things off, check out my Omnivoracious interview with O’Connell for those who missed it the first time around.
Finally, here’s a summary of the week’s posts, for ease of reading. If you like O’Connell’s work, please post a link to this recap on your blog, and spread the word!
â€œGood Christ,â€ I can hear him muttering. â€œNot another ramble on the meaning of notebooks.â€
As usual, I mostly agree with Hector (my pet name for the imagined reader in the shadows, always a little bitchy, never prepared to give me an inch). â€œDidnâ€™t Ms. Didion cover this subject pretty splendidly about four decades ago?â€ H asks. â€œYou really think you might have something to add?â€
Probably not. But letâ€™s find out.
(Jack O’Connell; photo by Ron Hogan)
As Ron Hogan tells Ecstatic Days, “Cracking open a Jack O’Connell novel for the first time is like watching your first David Lynch film. Quinsigamond may look a LITTLE sketchy on the surface, but you start poking around, and you begin to realize that the world is filled with some truly weird, truly dark shit. Anybody can do depravity in the shadows for cheap effect, though–Jack’s stories work because he gets you genuinely caught up in his characters’s lives.”
Continuing with our celebration of Jack O’Connell’s crazed, surreal noir and his latest The Resurrectionist, here’s a post from O’Connell on “That LOFP Sound” – Jeff.
Here in the valley of middle-age, the joys become subtle. But one sweet surprise these last few years has been the discovery that I care not a whit how odd, outrÃ©, or embarrassing any interests of mine might appear to others. Thereâ€™s something delightfully freeing to arrive at the red light, smack between the Harley and the Prius, and to realize that youâ€™re utterly happy to acknowledge that, yes, thatâ€™s right, itâ€™s the New Colony Six issuing from my speakers. Have a good day!
As Jack O’Connell week continues, I’d like to know if you have a favorite O’Connell novel. Not having read Word Made Flesh, I can’t comment on that novel, but I do very much love Box Nine and The Resurrectionist in particular. Box Nine for its rare ability to truly make the modern world weird and surreal. The Resurrectionist for its ability to make us care about the land of dreams. (My thoughts on O’Connell’s latest can be found in my Washington Post review of the novel.)
So, let’s have it readers: Do you have a favorite?
(Brought to you by the miracle of pre-scheduled auto-posting. There is indeed a ghost in the machine.)
Late spring, 1969: John and Yoko stage a bed-in for peace in Montreal. Warren Burger becomes Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Hee Haw premiers on American television. And back in wormtown, as the weather turns warm, my obsession with the space program begins to reach fever pitch. Iâ€™ve spent the last year memorizing details of the Mercury, Gemini, and (the first 10) Apollo Project missions. I know the names and the positions of all the crews in the same obsessive manner with which my buddies know the batting average of Yaz or the ERA of Jim Lonborg. The walls of my bedroom are covered with the fold-out posters from the Doubleday mail-order Science Service clubâ€”all those wonderful maroon boxes containing pamphlets and maps and cards and whatnot. I am embarrassingly proud that my cityâ€™s David Clark Co. produces the astronautsâ€™ pressurized suits. Jules Bergman is my lifeline to NASA. And when I discover that Robert Goddard, the father of modern rocketry, was born in my hometown and fired the first liquid-fueled rocket just eight miles from my house (andâ€”can it be possible?â€”that my familyâ€™s encyclopedia set is housed in one of Goddardâ€™s own bookcases, purchased from the widow after the great manâ€™s death), my head comes near exploding from the immensity of the pure geekity excitement ricocheting around in the melon.
Iâ€™ve been a fan of Jack Oâ€™Connellâ€™s novels since reading Box Nine, his first, introducing the fictional town of Quinsigamond. Each subsequent novel is very different despite the locale: Box Nine verged onto sf/horror territory by introducing a new street drug that works on the language center of the brain, causing the user to process thoughts hundreds of times quicker than normal and in the case of an overdose, pushing the user into violence and insanity. In Wireless, the â€œWirelessâ€ of the title is a retro hangout for jammers, the radio wave equivalent of computer hackers who evade the law while wreaking chaos on the official system. It is antic, volatile, clever, and entertaining.