Finch Hyper Remix

Jeff VanderMeer • February 27th, 2009 @ 1:16 am • Fiction

updated fer zee hardcore fans

Later, in memory, it would be a fractured mix of shouts and screams and bullets flying and running into the back of X to keep as close as possible.

Tripping over the things crawling off of X’s legs. X exploding out from their shelter, trench coat thrown aside to reveal a body become other. A garden of fungus. Arms ballooning out into sudden wings of brilliant purple-yellow-red-orange. Legs lost in shelves and plateaus and spikes of green-and-blue. Back broader and insanely strong and gray. Head suddenly elongated and widened. As he ran a high-pitched scream came from his mouth that frightened Finch and bloodied the ears of the Partials.

The bullets. X kept taking them like gifts. They tore through his limbs, lodged in his torso. Leaving holes. Leaving daylight. That closed up. And running in the shadow of that magnificence, as X’s scream became a roar again and they were assailing the ramparts of the Partials, he felt as if he were following some sort of god, his own gun like a toy as, from the shelter that was X, he laid down fire back at the chapel to keep the rebels pinned down.

X’s voice came out incomprehensible and strange now. Guttural and animal-like. No part of him in those moments that was human. Once he looked back at Finch to make sure he was still there. The whites of his eyes colonized. His pupils looking like something trapped. Trapped forever inside its own flesh.

For awhile it was as if X had lent Finch that kind of vision, because he could see the bullets coming. As if Finch were floating overhead, watching. And it was ecstasy or some kind of odd heaven. The surprise that eclipsed the Partials’ pale faces as X overran their positions. X trying to outrun something he couldn’t outrun. Tendrils from his chest racing out to impale them. The weeping muzzle of his gun taking them in the legs, the heads. Faces trampled under his charge. Fungal eyes still clicking and clicking as the bodies lay dead. While even the rebels’ fire had become scattershot from the shock of the new. From seeing the glory that X had become. The monster.

Then it all came crashing down and Finch was in his skin again. In that one last look back he saw it all as a crazed tableau of men fallen, falling, firing, or running at an impossible speed. Almost distant enough as they made it to the warren of streets beyond to think of them as the silhouettes of broken, spasming dolls.

Realized he was roaring, too, like X. As the tears ran down his face. As he kept firing behind him long after the enemy had faded into time and distance.

Somewhere, in X’s head, everything terrible was closer. And there was nothing Finch could do to help.

16 Responses to “Finch Hyper Remix”

  1. Divers Hands says:

    Oh sure. Just keep rubbing it in that you know how ‘Finch’ turns out and the rest of us poor bastards are stuck waiting till October. I asked my local apothecarist if there was some sort of fungal bloom that would put me into a coma for eight months to shorten my wait; he gave me a dirty, dirty look and threw me out of his shop. Later though, I know I saw him out in the alley that runs along the shop feeding torn pages into a sewer grate. Spies! Spies everywhere!

    My allergies have been acting up lately, and its been uncommonly damp and warm here. I swear I can hear scratching in the vents, but none of the various vermin traps have been sprung. All the bait has developed mold.

    I know your behind this.

  2. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Divers–I have added some links to divert your brain from the horror of the wait.

  3. Larry says:

    Cool picture links. Any chance of an audio/visual excerpt being posted just prior to Finch‘s release? Book trailers on steroids would be something cool to behold.

  4. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Um, there’re plans for a short movie.

  5. Larry says:

    That’ll work for me.

  6. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Yeah, not an experimental Shriek-aganza, either. Thankfully. That was a painful, expensive experience in the process…

  7. Larry says:

    Well, it netted you a YouTube comment that allowed EM to have some fun…

  8. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Ha ha ha. Well, got me more than that, but that was kinda funny.

  9. Alex Carnegie says:

    Nice!

    This is crying out for an accompanying reading on Youtube with the pics in a slideshow.

    It’s a very interesting idea, using hypertext for visuals rather than strictly text.

    Looks like Finch is gonna be a rollercoaster! Do you think your writing’s changed since doing the Predator novel?

    Stunning in any case!

  10. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Alex:

    I get this question a lot. Also got the question before Predator, “you can do an action adventure novel?!” Well, yes. I’ve always been fine doing action scenes, but the particular stories and novels I’ve written haven’t required them in any large proportion. Nor have most of the stories and novels required rapid-fire pacing 24-7. Predator was a lot of fun, allowed me to experiment with cutting scenes differently and framing them differently. But mostly it was practice for inverting my normal ratio of action to other stuff.

    So, is my writing different after writing Predator? Not really. It’s just that I’ve reached those projects I always had in mind that require more focus on other aspects of my skill set. Remember, Finch is part of a story cycle I’ve had in mind since 1998. Things have changed about it, but I always knew I would be doing a semi-experimental, semi-post modern story cycle followed by a personal family chronicle that covered about 50 years followed by a thriller-mystery. The only grating thing about this is to read a couple of reviews of Shriek wanting it to be what Finch actually is, and unable to appreciate it for what it was doing. Frankly, I think with the publication of Finch it’ll change the reader relationship to the first two books, too.

    Of course, the challenge when you invert the ratio, and when you conceive of and cut scenes for faster pacing, is that you must invest in other ways to instill complexity at the character and story level. So the real challenge with Finch had nothing to do with Predator: it was about totally retooling my style to retain some of the aspects that are unique while making it more maneuverable and not as lyrical.

    Jeff

  11. Alex Carnegie says:

    One of the great things about this cycle is the fact that the books are so different in a lot of ways. It’s certainly in stark contrast with the cookie-cutter sequels we so often see in SFF.

    I didn’t have any doubts that you could ‘do’ fast paced action by the way: certain parts of ‘Shriek’ and ‘Veniss’ for instance demonstrate that as much as anyone might need.

    I suppose what you said about practice with different ratios says a lot about the constant evolution of style – the more we write, whatever we write, our feel for language grows and diversifies.

    I’ve no doubt that ‘Finch’ will change my reading of the other two, in the same way that ‘City Of Saints’ was never the same book again after ‘Shriek’.

    Off topic by the way: I was reading Bukowski’s ‘The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over The Hills’ again recently and one poem jumped out at me – ‘A Poem Is A City’ – which starts with the lines:
    A poem is a city filled with streets and sewers
    filled with saints, heroes, beggars, madmen,
    Given the book’s metafictional concerns, the poem (or at least those lines) seemed to resonate quite pleasingly with it to me. I wondered if it might even be a reference…?

  12. Michael Phillips says:

    I really don’t understand people who don’t “get” Shriek, it’s absolutely beautiful.

  13. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Well, somebody on Amazon the other day said it was so boring they’re burning their copy to protect others. Burn it–burn them all, I say. See if I care at this point.

  14. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Alex–not a reference, no, but very interesting.

  15. Alex Carnegie says:

    Well, it can’t have left them entirely untouched if they’re subconsciously(?) channeling the sentiments of Mr Gaudy – or perhaps the man himself has wandered a strange path out of Ambergris and found himself in an internet cafe with a surplus of ire and time…

    Re. the Bukowski thing: it just occurred to me in the same way that the title of ‘House Of Leaves’ is a reference to the house but also the book itself, in the same way that the ‘City of Saints & Madmen’ is Ambergris but also in the sense that the book, like a poem, can be a ‘city’ of sorts, and the two are one and the same… Just an idle musing really!

  16. Michael Phillips says:

    Jeff: People are IDIOTS.

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