The Third Policeman, by Flann O’Brien

The end saved this one a bit for me. I really was not a fan of a lot of the middle, so much of it seemed disconnected from everything and meaningless and confusing, but maybe that was the point.

The end was really surreal and creepy and dark, but the kooky humor of the rest of the book sort of undercut the effect of it I think.

I feel there was probably some meaning I was missing in this one, as nothing seemed to have any connection to anything… a strange read, but not recommended unless it’s your brand of humor.

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I don’t like ‘lol random’

I’ve been reading The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien, and am finding myself generally annoyed with it, and had some curiosity why, since it seems like the kind of humor I used to really enjoy, in ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide’ for example.

I think the difference is that in Hitchhiker, things that appear random at first are explained later as part of the plot, in a sensible way that makes the seemingly random first encounter even more funny. Whereas in the Third Policeman, nothing ever seems related to anything else. I feel that I could open the book at any point and start reading, and have basically the same experience of confusion and general unease.

The ‘why’ and ‘how’ of things don’t always have to be answered for me. I have a pretty low threshold for sense, I think, compared to most people. But what I want is for what’s happening to at least have some effect on the character, or on me the reader.

The character in Third Policeman seems affected by nothing, even when told he’s going to be executed the next morning, he only has a sort of  halfhearted protest to it, and general idea that he might try to escape.

There were several times that things have been interesting to me, the reader, but had no bearing on the story and no seeming overall affect on the character. Those were fine I guess, but it’s like reading a disconnected series of essays on weird thoughts, more than reading a novel. Which would be fine, if it didn’t present itself as a novel right off the bat by giving the character a clear goal and a clear obstacle to overcome… then just completely disregarding them and jumping headlong into random nonsense for the rest of the book…

I have one chapter left, maybe it will all tie together in the end but I somehow doubt it.

Lucent Dreaming Debut Issue!

https://videopress.com/embed/td9gQvZJ?hd=0&autoPlay=0&permalink=0&loop=0

26 hours ago we received the first print run of Lucent Dreaming’s debut issue. Oh my goodness. It looks awesome. It’s full colour, illustrated and high quality and features new and emerging authors and artists. And when you’ve read and reread the stories and poems, you can even colour in our illustrations! We’re open for […]

via Our Debut Issue has Arrived! — Lucent Dreaming

Influx of ideas, and a contest

I’ve been having a lot of ideas lately, giving them a bit of polish, then storing them away for later. I don’t often have success with an idea when I write it too soon. Ideas need to age…

But now that I’ve got a few of them shelved and fermenting, maybe I can actually get some writing done instead of all this… thinking (not writing).

My next story is going to be for a pre-issue of the magazine I’m working with, Lucent Dreaming. So you can look forward to reading something from me there soon!

Also, we are having a short story contest, check it out if you’d like to enter 🙂

Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Kafka has some way with words that makes everything seem like a slow, surreal nightmare. This story, in simple, straightforward language, manages that feeling while still being somewhat comical.

Gregor Samsa wakes one morning to find he’s transformed into a giant insect-like creature who’s smell and appearance so horrify his family that they can’t bear to be in the same room as him for more than a few seconds.

But, like The Trial, it all has the effect of a strange dream… an inevitable, existential horror creeping slowly but unerringly.

First he is sequestered to his room, only able to listen to his family or guess what they are up to. Then the furniture is removed from his room. Then the room (and he) gathers dust and trash and is left untended… and his relationship deteriorates at the same time.

And it all somehow evokes a feeling of… shrinking, of the world being stripped away until reality is a single room, a single floorboard at which your eye is pointing, unblinking.

A short, strange read. Well worth it.

Write about what you love?

I started reading IQ84 by Haruki Murakami recently, and one of the characters is a struggling writer. I am enjoying it quite a lot more than the previous Murakami novel I read, though it has a lot of similarities also.

I wonder, though, how many writers write about writers? How many characters in novels are writers themselves? The common advice is to ‘write what you know’, and every writer knows about being a writer…

Reading it though, has made me want to have a writer character. Maybe that character’s character is also a writer, too. How deep could you go before confusing the reader, I wonder..

The end of the world

But which world is ending? I have just finished Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, and over all found it thought provoking and entertaining, if a bit obscure.

There were a lot of ideas in this novel, some strange, some confusing, some interesting, some mundane, some–seemingly irrelevant. We follow two sides of one consciousness. A ‘data shuffler’ , a person who encrypts data using a part of his mind that is locked away from even his own awareness, to ensure that no one can decrypt the data without his help. And things get weirder from there. Creatures of midnight appear with no sound–and are never explained.

A lot of this story seems arbitrary. Weird just for the sake of weirdness. Or maybe I’m missing a lot of symbolism.

None of the characters have names, which I found trite.

I did like the characters though, and it was an enjoyable read and much different than your regular sci fi. A refreshing splash of difference in my book diet.

I will most likely try another Murakami novel, but maybe not for a while.