“Wherever they might be they always remember that the past was a lie, that memory has no return, that every spring gone by could never be recovered, and that the wildest and most tenacious love was an ephemeral truth in the end.”
― Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
Yesterday I sussed out my first three Desert Island Books – I’ll finish out the list here.
I started out making a list of possibilities: LOTR, The Riverworld Series, Sputnik Sweetheart, The War of the Rull, Jealousy (by Alain Robbe-Grillet)….
As I was thinking, number four popped into my mind.
4. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A slam-dunk – although I liked Love in the Time of Cholera almost almost as much.
And that’s how I completed the ten. I kept listing books and every now and then one would jump out at me. I wrote: Lolita, Pale Fire, Under the Volcano, Absalom, Absalom, Slaughterhouse Five, Cat’s Cradle, Waiting for the Barbarians, 1Q84, The Brothers Karamazov, A Clockwork Orange… – all worthy candidates, but the ones that I selected (and will change constantly):
5. Moby Dick
The J.G. Ballard novel
8. The Sound and the Fury
One of my Difficult Reading Book Club selections – the second on the list.
9. On the Road
10. Catch-22So, What do you think? What have I missed? What have I not read?
Tag Archives: moby dick
Truth is hope. Hell is the place where all truth is abandoned.
—–Andrew Crumey, Mobius Dick
I have been a fan of the little-known, but known, author Andrew Crumey. He mixes fiction with science, perversity with quantum physics – in a unique and, to me, entertaining and sometimes enlightening way. British, with a PhD in theoretical physics he looks at the world from a different point of view than your run-of-the-mill hack typist. I’ve read Pfitz (1995), D’Alembert’s Principle (1996), and Mr Mee (2000) in the distant past. If I had time I’d re-read them a bit, my memory is fading fast, but I do remember a lot of science, a little history, and a shitload of very unreliable narrators.
There was another book of his that I really wanted to read, if for no other reason than its genius title, Mobius Dick, published in 2004. I searched the bookstores (mostly used) for a copy and never came close. So finally I broke down and bought a Kindle version, put it on my reading plan, and rolled a die. It came up second, after Desperate Characters. Desperate Characters only took a day to read – so then I dug into Mobius Dick. Life intervened and it took a month, longer than I had planned – but today I finished.
I was not disappointed – the book was as complex and as odd as I had hoped. Though it was written almost two decades ago – it is of this time in that it is something of a multiverse oriented piece of fiction. A physics professor named John Ringer receives a mysterious text on his Q-phone that says, “Call me: H.” He has no idea who “H” is… maybe an old lover named Helen?
Chapters alternate between his story, historical episodes from various fictional books that include or involve historical characters such as: Robert Schumann, Erwin Schrödinger, Herman Melville, Thomas Mann, Goethe, Brahms, Nathaniel Hawthorn, Nietzsche, Jung and even Goebbels – to name a few. It’s great fun to track the relationships and the name dropping.
The over-arching plot is of a secretive group attempting to generate power from nothing using a giant vacuum tube and a careful arrangement of nickel-tantalum mirrors. This will also enable them to operate a quantum computer and develop instantaneous long-distance communication methods using quantum entanglement. The only fly in the ointment is John Ringer’s paper that implies that at the energies the thing will operate at – the quantum wave-function may not collapse – leading to multiple realities occurring. Schrödinger’s cat would be both dead and alive – forever.
Not good. Sort of a Moby Dick and the Multiverse of Madness… and the end of everything.
I know this includes many more spoilers than I like – but the book is complex and I wanted to give a flavor. I did have to take notes and do some research on some of the more obscure historical characters and verify everything – it all checked out.
At least in this universe.
So on to the next… let me see… Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin. So many books, so little time.
Short Story Of the Day – Laid With Iron Rails (found poetry) by Bill Chance
“…to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.”
― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, the Whale
I have been feeling in a deep hopeless rut lately, and I’m sure a lot of you have too. After writing another Sunday Snippet I decided to set an ambitious goal for myself. I’ll write a short piece of fiction every day and put it up here. Obviously, quality will vary – you get what you get. Length too – I’ll have to write something short on busy days. They will be raw first drafts and full of errors.
I’m not sure how long I can keep it up… I do write quickly, but coming up with an idea every day will be a difficult challenge. So far so good. Maybe a hundred in a row might be a good, achievable, and tough goal.
Here’s another one for today (#55) More than half way there! What do you think? Any comments, criticism, insults, ideas, prompts, abuse … anything is welcome. Feel free to comment or contact me.
Thanks for reading.
I wanted to try something different today – so I thought I’d give a shot at one version of FOUND POETRY – where you take a page of text and remove words until what is left is… well… something… something different.
I decided to use my favorite passage from Moby Dick – and then do some removal.
Laid With Iron Rails
I thought to find one cogged circle anthill of fire.
Wasting what I’ve dared.
Starbuck’s demoniac wild madness – that’s the prophecy.
I prophesy that great gods laugh and hoot at pugilists and bullies.
Come forth from behind your long gun.
Ye cannot swerve.
Man is grooved to run.
Hearts of mountains
An obstacle to the iron way.
Get the Most Not the Lesser
“So generation after generation of men in love with pain and passivity serve out their time in the Zone, silent, redolent of faded sperm, terrified of dying, desperately addicted to the comforts others sell them, however useless, ugly or shallow, willing to have life defined for them by men whose only talent is for death.”
― Gravity’s Rainbow
The Path to my Fixed Purpose is Laid With Iron Rails
“Swerve me? The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run. Over unsounded gorges, through the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents’ beds, unerringly I rush! Naught’s an obstacle, naught’s an angle to the iron way!”
― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, The Whale
Oblique Strategy: Don’t be frightened of cliches
Are you making your plans for next year? Do you have fixed in your mind the exact person you want to become?
Your mind, though, is not of one voice – but of at least two. Do you hear the little voice already telling you that you will fail and you will never become the person you think of? “It is too late anyway,” the voice says.
Where will you fall? Who will win in the end? Does it even matter?
Sleep When You Can
“Think not, is my eleventh commandment; and sleep when you can, is my twelfth.”
― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale
“With the sound of gusting wind in the branches of the language trees of Babel, the words gave way like leaves, and every reader glimpsed another reality hidden in the foilage.”
― Andrei Codrescu, The Posthuman Dada Guide: Tzara & Lenin Play Chess
– – Moby Dada 1
All visible objects call my shadow
unreasoning mask, reasoning thing
from behind the sweep in my soul
grooved to run over unsounded gorges
except by tranquil beauty and brilliancy
of the ocean’s skin, angle to the iron way!
– – Moby Dada 2
We are too much like oysters
can ever be under torrents’ beds
the undoubted deed in looking at things spiritual,
I spit my last breath substance; from hell’s heart
they weary me, make me faint, I grapple with thee
–then, talk not to me of blasphemy and tow to pieces
To produce a methodically knocking
I’d strike the sun off from the comber of my death!
enveloped in topmost grief, not excluding its suburbs
though many there be who have tried it
Give me Vesuvius’ times of dreamy quietude
Ho, ho! for hate’s sake
as soon as I can. Towards thee I roll, from hell’s heart
I didn’t use random words as in the link above, of course… rather seperate lines and phrases from quotes from the book, sliced and reaarranged at random.
Racing the Wind
White Rock Lake, Dallas, Texas
“hark, now hear the sailors cry,
smell the sea, and feel the sky
let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic…”
― Van Morrison
“Where lies the final harbor, whence we unmoor no more? In what rapt ether sails the world, of which the weariest will never weary? Where is the foundling’s father hidden? Our souls are like those orphans whose unwedded mothers die in bearing them: the secret of our paternity lies in their grave, and we must there to learn it.”
― Herman Melville, Moby Dick
What I learned this week, March 08, 2013
The True-Life Horror that Inspired Moby-Dick
What’s on Tap: Proposed laws good for beer – and Texas
I remember looking at a bag of potato chips and seeing the warning “May cause anal leakage.” Yeah, right.
11 Foods You Can’t Buy Anywhere Anymore
and not alltogether a bad thing.
Could the ancient Romans have built a digital computer?
The 10 best restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth
The 10 Best Gift Shops in Dallas
I would add La Mariposa to the list.
The 5 Best Theater Companies in Dallas
Stuff I want:
Titanium Escape Ring Packs a Shim and a Saw