An Illustration for Kafka’s Ein Hungerkünstler (The Hunger Artist) by Andrzej Ploski, circa 1983, which struck my fancy. You can see the full series, as well as Ploski’s illustrations for many of Kafka’s short works here. Note that the stories appear in their Polish translation. If you don’t read Polish but would like to read the corresponding stories as well I can recommend The Kafka Project

09.11. filed under: art. fiction. 4

A couple of weeks ago I saw a link somewhere to a “list of fictional something-or-others” at Wikipedia. Might have been fictional expletives or fictional gods (which by the way is far too long a list since it could have been summed up easily in a single word, I’ll let you guess what that word is); I can’t rightly remember. I got the bright idea though to do a broad search for “list of fictional” at Wikipedia, thinking the results might make for a nifty little post. The search turned up a whopping 2150 results! That’s a lot of fictional stuff. Too much in fact. I mean how do you choose between fictional chimpanzees, fictional drugs, fictional robots, fictional universes, fictional narcissists, fictional books, notable mustaches in fiction, etc, in order to craft a cogent post? You can’t. So I scrapped the idea.

12.16. filed under: bits&bytes. fiction. theory. 9

Infinite Thirst

Or: The Misadventures of Yorick’s Skull, Part 1.

The skull of Yorick, deceased jester to a fictional court, rolls into a bar, occipital bone over frontal, until it comes to rest at the base of a bar stool. It stares upward and though sans-mandible calls out to the barkeep none the less, “What Ho goodman Carl!” The words are slightly slurred, whether for lack of larynx and lips or because this isn’t the first stop on the skull’s boozey itinerary it’s hard to say. The bartender, Dave, turns to see who’s calling him “Carl” (not being versed in Elizabethan slang) and sees no one.

12.02. filed under: !. fiction. 6

I am about a third of the way through Jeff Vandermeer’s newest novel Shriek: An Afterword and am enjoying it immensely. I’ve been a fan of Jeff’s works since first getting a whiff of City of Saints and Madmen way back when. Shriek is an incredibly satisfying book thus far, with a unique structure that fractures time, as so many contemporary “post-modern” narratives do, but in an altogether more intimate and rewarding way. I won’t say anymore since this isn’t a review, I haven’t even finished the book yet after all, but anyone interested in more in depth reviews can see the following: SFCrowsnest, Shaken & Stirred, or Infinity Plus. What I wanted to share with you tonight was something entirely more specific, a short section that might very well represent the greatest book rejection ever put in print. With Jeff’s kind permission I will reprint it for you below.

Lives of the Saints (4)

Should I call the police or The Weekly World News? I can’t decide.

This isn’t a joke John, alright?

Well what you’re saying is you were just raped… by a “God.” Is that correct?

I didn’t say “raped.”

10.07. filed under: !. fiction. 2

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