New Release // Castle Damijana

Castle Damijana

————————–

1357: Pedro of Portugal dug up his dead mistress, made her queen, and forced loyal subjects to kiss her hand.

Billy makes a zine that no one reads, and puts it round London. At night he searches for 7 of 9 sex tapes and tries to understand fourth-wave feminist theory. Life stays like this until he gets an e-mail from ‘D’ in Ljubljana, asking him to come to stay. He thinks she’s a nut until she sends him eight grand in spending money. Off he goes, to Ljubljana, to Metelkova, to the outskirts of the city, to a castle on a snowy hill, to Damijana and her typewriter. One of them is a sociopath, can you guess which?

Plot-wise, it’s similar to the Star Trek DS9 episode where Jake Sisko gets yellow energy sucked out of his head by Meg Foster while writing his masterpiece, but this one’s set in Slovenia and is better.

Cover done by the legendary Soren who can be found/hired on corpsehaus

Note: this is a rewrite of an old book I wrote called ‘Ljubljana Witch’ – that one was around 40,000 words, this one is bordering on 100,000 so if you’re one of the few who read the original and thought it was a bit short, you’re in luck.

You can buy it on bookdepository

The Restaurant at the end of the Universe [in Chinese]

In the tradition of reading above my level, I got the Chinese version of The Restaurant at the end of the Universe // Douglas Adams from the library and, so far, I’m up to page two.

Not sure why I’m doing this, I have some of the Sherlock Holmes kids series in Cantonese to get through, but for some reason they’re not sticking, so here I am, pushing the rock up Mt Sci-fi.

Previously, I attempted So long and thanks for all the fish in Portuguese, and it’s already clear that, language-wise, I’m about to start having the same problems.

Problem 1 – idioms

This is also an issue I have with the kids books in Cantonese…they use a lot of idioms, some easy to guess, others impossible. Like in English, if a character says they’re a bit under the weather, you probably won’t know what it means unless you’re fluent. Same problem here, only worse, as Cantonese idioms are more localised and non-existent in western culture.

An example, the four characters highlighted in green below:

The best way I’ve found to get through it, is to skip them. Skip the whole sentence and aim for an understanding of the paragraph as a whole. If the idiom turns out to be foundational then go back and look it up.

Problem 2 – logic

In my experience, when you’re a non-native speaker of a language…anything up to high intermediate, possibly higher…you have to rely on logic and context to understand what people are saying.

Continue reading

Galaxies // Barry N. Malzberg [Thoughts & Spoilers]

ANTI-OEDIPUS PRESS: Galaxies

#

Author: Barry N. Malzberg

Setting: his living room

Plot: Malzberg can’t be bothered writing a novel so writes the notes for one

Subplot: Malzberg can’t stand whichever sci-fi writers he’s criticizing [Heinlein?], but sees them at conventions sometimes so doesn’t want to use their names

Sub-subplot: A ship falls into a black ‘galaxy’, where narrative descriptions are endless

Notes:

The cover is good, the plot description is good, the 4 and 5 star reviews on Goodreads make good points, but the 2 star reviews are closer to how I feel about this.

Basically, the novel is a series of short chapters that function as notes on a future novel as well as Malzberg’s feelings on the state of 70’s sci-fi. Straight away this brings up two problems. 70’s sci-fi is era specific and, although some of the points remain valid [e.g. writing filler to bump up the word count, hard sci-fi writers hiding their lack of writing ability behind hard science], the era itself is long gone.

The second problem: if you’re going to write notes for a novel, you have to a] make sure the concept of that novel is interesting and complex, and b] keep your novel length down. Even at 180 odd pages, Galaxies is exhausting.

In fact, I haven’t finished the book yet.

Don’t know if I will either.

I’m on page 68, I think, and Malzberg is currently writing out potential dialogue between Lena, the main character, and another character who isn’t on the ship, it’s a flashback, a potential flashback, and I don’t really know either of these characters, I don’t care about them, and if this is the case then you better at least make the dialogue interesting.

It isn’t. Continue reading

German Post Office [a poem]

Interview: Charles Band Remembers Klaus Kinski in CRAWLSPACE ...

#

I’m a doctor not a sponge fuck daddy dot spunk hippy

tutorial centres make mistakes too

in evi   table

yes

those were spaces between one word and the spaces were there they were there they were really there

weren’t they

oh

volcano in town

formal-looking

but no shoes

pretty dead for a Spaniard

I vote blue

gas pipes can’t

use verbs

well

dictionary out late

cry slowly with

Russians nearby

bobby  push

yes that one

renames herself pushkin

yet [i]

don’t talk about duels

talk about

crown gob slum pet patriotism

jazz please

with a fence

and tickets for crown gob

remember her?

Four times

fanny jackal

roams supermarket

no trolley but fish with a face

and

jevil is devil with a j

Slovene

mysteries are the best

even

Fairuza Balk can agree

but

no photos

later maybe