Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dreadlock Holiday

I took a month off from listening to (and blogging about) rock music. I spent that month listening to reggae, dub, and ska. I have no insightful opinions to share with you regarding Jamaican music. However, I can recommend a few books I read recently.

This is no more a book blog than it is a reggae blog. But if you enjoy satiric novels, you will be pleased with the works of Anthony Winkler and Steve Aylett. Winkler is Jamaican-born (currently living in Atlanta), and several of his novels have recently been reprinted by Akashic Books. I read The Duppy and Dog War. The Duppy is an affectionate satire of Christian beliefs, both Jamaican and American. It has some characteristics of metafiction, and is hilariously funny.

Aylett is a prolific British writer, mostly of experimental science fiction. I recently read Atom, which is (among other things) an homage to the hard-boiled detective novel; and Lint, which purports to be the biography of a pulp sci-fi writer (loosely based on Philip K. Dick). Enjoy a hallucinatory taste of Aylett (from Atom):
...there was a stranger onstage wearing this huge black coat and playing a giant flute. And as he played, some- thing began to inflate from the end of the instrument. It was a human head, resembling exactly that of the musician, its lips attached to this end of the flute and facing its twin. Then the body began to tumble from beneath the head like a birthing calf. The feet hit the stage and the form filled out, swaying slow in the ventilation. Then the arms quickly inflated, quivering up into position, and the real guy, the first one, detached and floated out above the audience. The new man, coat and all, had taken over on the flute, and his music bobbed and drifted like the airborne figure. The floating man, uplit and shadow-freaked, was screaming as though terrified, and so was everyone else. The clientele began to fire at the ceiling, at each other, at the musician onstage.

...The musician reacted weirdly. As the volleys flew, he telescoped the flute and drew his coat all around like Bela Lugosi, sinking behind it and turning his back. It looked like the ammo was disappearing into that coat like pledges into a manifesto. Then when a shell burst the floating man, next thing the whole joint was being showered with confetti, all these louts looking up like it was Christmas, and the stage guy was nowhere.

Every single flake of confetti bore a miniature likeness of the stranger's face.


At 5/21/2008 11:39 AM , Blogger piehammer said...

Big upps for the Duppy - highly recommended.

At 5/21/2008 8:09 PM , Blogger Nathan Nothin said...


Synchronicity strikes Underneathica.

I'm currently reading Slaughtermatic
(Aylett) & loving it.

Haven't read any Winkler but on your & Piehammer's recommendations I'll be picking up Duppy mighty soon.


At 5/22/2008 2:00 AM , Blogger grigorss said...

Thanks for the Aylett recommendation; I've been looking for something PKD-like to peruse (as I've read most of the stuff by him that's worth reading, at this point).
I'll put Atom on the ever-growing list of books that I want -- but don't have time -- to read.

At 5/22/2008 9:18 AM , Blogger jonderneathica said...

Grigorss, you might enjoy Lint more than Atom. Some of the reviews I read suggested that Atom is not one of Aylett's best.

Nathan, I am looking forward to reading Slaughtermatic as well as Bigot Hall (Aylett's memoir of a "Gothic childhood"). Have you read any other authors in the "Bizarro" genre of fiction?

Piehammer, glad you dug Duppy.

At 5/25/2008 12:20 PM , Blogger Nathan Nothin said...

Man, am I out of the loop.

I didn't even know there was such a genre as "bizarro fiction".

I've just always read bizarre stuff...I fell into the Beats when they were still beating - Burroughs became my main man...then I got hooked on sci-fi & lived the worlds of Ballard & P.K.Dick...from there I just naturally turned to the cyberpunk of Sterling, Gibson et. al.

I get my best reading material at a local used book store, they have a section called 'Toxic Literature'
that I usually choose from & I guess that's where the 'bizarro' came from...we all probably read Jonathan Lethem & Chuck Palahniuk...they just seemed like natural progressions of style.

I saw a list of 'bizarro' authors
& I've read a few (Aylett, Beard, Jaffe) & while I see the similarities, I more see the diversity.

The Dream People,, & Avant Punk Army are all great places to get tastes of the genre to see what pleases an individual palate. One of the authors that I see associated with this group that I particularly enjoy is Jeremy Robert Johnson (I'd start with Extinction Journals, but anything really).

Also though I've not seem him connected to this genre, Richard Calder (Dead Boys, Dead Girls, Dead Things, Cythera) is someone I really enjoy who I think fits into this group (???).

See what you started. I like reading almost as much as musick...reading while listening to musick, heaven.

Well, enough...

At 5/26/2008 10:36 AM , Blogger jonderneathica said...

Thanks for the recommendations, Nathan! I didn't know there was a Bizarro movement either until I was clicking around the internet looking at various Aylett books. I will look into Richard Calder and JR Johnson.

Yeah, reading and music! And reading about music. And writing about music. Most definitely.

At 5/26/2008 5:39 PM , Blogger Nathan Nothin said...

My final comment on the Book of the Week Club.

Just finished re-reading Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis. In my humble opinion, as is said, Lunar Park is a hella great if anyone hasn't,


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