Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday Review - It's Like Spring

Eric read Wittgenstein's Mistress by David Markson:

I'm just getting into Markson, one of those authors who has a dedicated cult following, but remains a marginalized figure within the literary community. Apparently he started out writing pulp novels and a screenplay or two back in the 50s and 60s, and then popped back up with this abstract experimental "novel" -- and hasn't looked back since. This one's basically a collection of musings by a woman who either is the last person alive on Earth, or just believes that she is. She talks a little about the primitive post-apocalyptic life she's carved out for herself -- at times claiming to live in the middle of nowhere, and at other times in some of the more famous museums of the world -- but mostly she discusses the tragic lives and foibles of artists, musicians, and authors from antiquity to the present. Interesting patterns begin to emerge, as she's clearly fascinated with personalities who either won little respect in their lifetime, or had great success in the arts but horrible problems in their personal lives. At first glance, it looks like it'd be hard to digest -- but for me, at least, it went down smooth. My only complaint was that having read some of Markson's subsequent novels which featured male protagonists, the narrator's voice here struck me as too similar (a few references to childbirth and menstrual cycles aside). Otherwise, fascinating.



Benn read The Mourning Star by Kazimir Strzepek:

As my current reading stack will prove, there is an abundance of post-apocalyptic stories coming out. And so far, every one I've read has been pretty awesome, and Strzepek's Mourning Star is no different. He's laid the groundwork in this first volume for a sprawling epic post-apocalyptic story that is as complicated as it is weird - ghost-like creatures who live in our mouths and feed off our dreams, amnesiac assassins that use scissors as deftly as ninja use swords, bird-like invaders that sleep in bundles of scarves that they carry on their backs. By the end of this first book it's not clear where Strzepek is going with all this, which is kind of the point. Where does one go once civilization is destroyed (in this case by a betraying comet), and any attempt to rebuild is met with and subsequently wiped out by gangs of those who have been previously oppressed by such civilization? The Mourning Star is amusing, captivatingly illustrated, sprawling and mesmerizing. Great reading while waiting for the endtimes.



Rachel played Atari Plug n' Play Keychain:

I almost squealed with joy when this came in (ok, maybe I actually did). Because it's Pong. Pong with the paddle control! Hours and hours of childhood OCD inspired play came back to me in a rush.

One would think that because it's a keychain (and the named "plug n' play") that it's highly portable and instantly playable. Well, first, you need batteries. Three AAA batteries. That alone took me about a week to get together (I'm old, I can't remember shit). And yes, the actual controls easily fit in your bag, but you need the RCA cords, which it comes with, but that isn't going to fit on your keychain.

But once you get the thing actually plugged in...all is forgiven, because it's Pong! On my tv! And Breakout! And Warlord!

It's not really like I'm going to be taking the game around with me to my best video game playing friend's house anyway. He's getting Wii.

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