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  • mono 5:10 pm on October 1, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Fantasy, , , , , , Mish Mash Magazine, ,   

    The Unholy Dimensions of Jeffrey Thomas 

    An article/interview I did for MishMash Magazine on horror writer Jeffrey Thomas is up. Check it out!

    The Unholy Dimensions of Jeffrey Thomas

    Also, for an excerpt from his novel “Deadstock” and 10 links pertaining to his work, please see: Deadstock: Excerpt


  • mono 10:31 am on September 20, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Cyber, Deadstock, Doll, Elm Street, Excerpt, Fantasy, , , , , , , Lovecraft, Necropolitan, Noir, , , Sci-Fi, , , Solaris   

    Jeffrey Thomas: Deadstock (Excerpt) 

    In the midst of a typhoon, I have been working on an article for Mish Mash Magazine about the prolific author, Jeffrey Thomas. The piece for Mish Mash features a three-question interview with Jeffrey Thomas and thoughts on his work and its effect on me, the reader – a kind of phenomenological indulgence piece. In the meantime, as I spend this day editing, consuming gallons of coffee and enjoying the cloudy pre-autumnal weather in Japan, I present you with an excerpt (used with permission from the author) from Thomas’s book “Deadstock,” published in 2007 by Solaris.

    Deadstock (Excerpt) by Jeffrey Thomas:

    “It’s about my doll, isn’t it?” Yuki said. “My father is asking you to find it for me.”

    The girls sat on a marble bench within the garden-like courtyard of the company that Yuki’s father owned. It was a cylindrical building hollowed by this open core, the bright blue sky of the planet Oasis showing far above them like a telescope’s view of heaven, but it was a deceptive view. Beyond the walls of this structure, Punktown was anything but heavenly. At least this courtyard seemed like a microcosmic paradise. A double-helix sculpture twined up from the fountain at the center of the garden, reaching almost to the top of the building like a ladder. Brightly blossoming vines had entangled the bronze chain’s loops. Encircling windows looked out upon this rising symbol, so significant to the work being done within the building’s offices and labs. Stake had passed through a lobby area, and been directed to wait here for Mr. Fukuda to join him.

    “I really shouldn’t discuss my business with your father, dear,” he said to the girl politely.

    “Well, I’m sure my father will want you to question me about Dai-oo-ika’s disappearance.” Yuki smiled again, but her lips quivered and her eyes suddenly took on a moist sheen. The reddish-haired girl reached over to clasp her hand on one of Yuki’s legs consolingly. Stake tried not to look at the small hand upon the plastic-smooth thigh.

    “I’m sorry about… your doll,” he said awkwardly. “So it’s name is what?”

    “Dai-oo-ika,” said the short-haired girl. “It means ‘great king of squid.’”

    “I see.” Stake nodded, and now took in the three kawaii-dolls of Yuki’s pals. “Kawaii” was a Japanese word for “cute,” and kawaii-dolls of all types had been the rage with children in the Earth colonies for the past few years. Of course, the more expensive and elaborate dolls held more value for collectors, and hence more appeal—more esteem. Stake had done a little reading about these toys on the net this morning and could tell that these three dolls were of the highest order.

    The short-haired girl watched Stake staring at the dolls, so took it upon herself to introduce them. She hugged her own and said, “This is Mr. Gau.” It seemed like a very realistic bear cub in some ways, but its eyes were too large and it had no nose or mouth and only stubby vestigial limbs. The lack of a mouth and ineffectual arms and legs were a common theme with kawaii-dolls, to make them look helpless, vulnerable, submissive. Stake had read that critics of the dolls viewed this as a conspiracy, sending signals to young girls that these passive qualities were what would appeal to men when they became adult women.

    There was a little metal straw extending from between Mr. Gau’s legs. Yuki’s friend uncapped it, held the teddy bear up and sucked at the straw, keeping her eyes on Stake’s. At this, the bear lifted its head higher, blinking, and made a rumbling sound like a purr or muffled growl in spite of its missing mouth. Its tiny half-limbs swam in the air. Finished, the girl recapped the straw and the bear went immobile again. She smiled, licking her lips. “Ruou gau is a rice wine the Vietnamese like, made with bile from a bear’s gall bladder. The Chinese used to have bear farms where they put catheters in live bears to drain it. But Mr. Gau is filled with pineapple CandyPop.” She giggled.

    “Mm,” Stake said. He hadn’t realized the dolls could be so educational. But however slight his knowledge of animal anatomy, he knew a bear’s gall bladder was not between its hind legs.

    “There were only a hundred-fifty copies of the Deluxe Mr. Gau made,” the girl announced proudly. She gestured to the reddish-haired girl’s pet. “Suzu’s doll is number four in a series of only a hundred!” She pouted as if in sad envy. Suzu giggled, less sulky all of a sudden, and held her doll higher for him to see. It was a thing like a clockwork robot from some long-antiquated future vision, made from a goldish tarnished metal (or plastic resembling metal), somewhat turtle-like in form. The whole time they had been talking, this thing had been watching Stake avidly, turning its head ever so slightly to track his smallest shift in position. He found it unsettling.

    Not to be outdone, the Hispanic girl spoke up loudly with a kind of arrogant pride to say, “Mine is only one of four hundred. That’s still pretty rare!”

    Yuki was able to speak again. “Maria got hers for her Sweet Sixteen party two weeks ago, like I got Dai-oo-ika for my Sweet Sixteen party last month.” At the memory of this event, she looked like a woman who had watched her child murdered before her eyes. Stake saw Suzu’s hand give Yuki’s thigh a squeeze.

    Stake recognized that Maria’s kawaii-doll was not an animated toy like the other two, but a bio-engineered organism. Its functions were simple; despite its seemingly higher evolution, it was as primitive a thing as a starfish. It was little more than an anthropomorphic starfish in shape, too: four pointed pink limbs and a pointed pink head with eyes like black marbles pressed in dough, and no other features but for its outie navel. The near-mindless organism squirmed with the uncertain slow-motion movements of a newborn infant.

    “Yuki’s Dad’s company makes Stellar,” Maria said. “And he made Dai-oo-ika, too. But there’s only one Dai-oo-ika.”

    Sniffing, Yuki nodded. “Dai-oo-ika is the rarest kawaii-doll in Punktown, Daddy says.” Her voice came close to breaking as she squeaked, “And I love him, too!”

    For more information on Jeffrey Thomas, see the following links:

    Jeffrey Thomas’s Official Site
    Jeffrey Thomas’s Blog
    Jeffrey Thomas on Amazon
    Jeffrey Thomas on Myspace
    Jeffrey Thomas’s Deadstock Review – Guardian UK
    Bookgasm Review of Jeffrey Thomas’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Dealers
    Punktown review
    Another Deadstock Review
    Jeffrey Thomas interview -Infinity Plus
    Jeffrey Thomas interview – Post Weird Thoughts

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  • mono 5:22 am on August 17, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Fantasy, , gothic, , , , , , sf, ,   

    The Open Wound (2 Tankas) 

    Here are two more original poems in the style of the Japanese “tanka.”
    I dedicate these particular two works to the brilliance of poet/author Denis Johnson whose work I am devouring as carefully as I can.

    The Open Wound (in 2 parts)

    the gruesome portal
    hints of eyes and torn hair-strands
    stare black from the void
    of a time of a wasteland
    awake under fire-mist trees

    his eyes blown back in
    recovering slints and cracks
    confuse the landscape
    while forests provide entry
    from lost birds torn from their kin

  • mono 5:00 pm on March 31, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Fantasy, , Hysteria, , , , , Undead,   

    Virtual Hysteria: Cyberspace and Reality 

    The experience of engaging in cyberspace, of living through this interface, presents one with challenging experiences as to the virtuality of the self and to the virtuality of reality. That is, the ability to create (or have created for you), maintain (be maintained) and, ultimately lose control of one’s internet identity and the greeting of the disconnected other fosters what Slavoj Zizek calls “the hysterical experience” of cyberspace.

    In his online interview, aptly entitled “Hysteria and Cyberspace,” Zizek challenges the idea of reality by saying, “What was so shocking about virtual space was not that before there was a ‘real’ reality and now there is only a virtual reality, but through the experience of VR we have somehow retroactively become aware how there never was ‘real reality.'” For Zizek, our experience of “reality” is always caught up in our phantasmatic perceptions of reality. That is, we are constantly seeing things as we interpret-ably experience them to be, how they are talked about and how we phantastically relate to them in terms of what they mean to us. We do not see the other in all of his or her traumatic (and horrifying) intensity, but in our fantasizing as to who we see them to be (perhaps in relation to ‘the big Other’). As he says, “I think a certain dimension of virtuality is co-substantial with the symbolic order or the order of language as such.” That is to say, the idea of “virtual reality” is nothing new, that in fact, our experience via language or via symbols are already immersing us in the virtual.

    Also, Zizek speaks of “the undead” horror of cyberspace. That is to say, one’s identity disperses, is present even after one is gone or after one “logs off.” Recently, a vlogger on Youtube passed away and many videos honoring (or criticizing) him were uploaded. Most of the people honoring his death had never met him face-to-face, but only through the interface of Youtube. The horror of the situation is that his videos continue to circulate, they continue to be watched by people who may or may not know that he has passed away.

    The idea of hysteria can be readily understood as Zizek points us to the situation of reading/writing emails. He writes, “There is actually a great deal of uncertainty in these forms of communication: You can never be sure who is reading your input or in what way.” It is this absence of the flesh-and-blood other, which has escaped us and we are left with only a trace of the other, a trace void of situational context. One can perceive this horror in the threat of spam mail. That is, what appeared to be an email from a friend or relative turns out to be a meaningless yet threatening virus.

    I think that ultimately for Zizek, hysteria arises from the uncertainty of addressing the other via cyberspace. “I don’t know what the other wants from me and thus I try in advance to reflect this uncertainty.”

    Does this not adequately reflect the problem which we face in our cyberspatial existences? Who is the other who addresses me and what do they want from me? Is this other a real other or simply a ‘chat bot’ conversing through programmed outbursts of grammar.

    This interview can be read in its entirety here: http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/2/2492/1.html
    All quotations are taken from this article.

    • hysteria movie 4:43 am on May 18, 2014 Permalink

      Try as I might, I seldom got past the sense that
      all three actors were playing characters rather than deeply inhabiting them, an impression that’s reinforced by the fact that Jung,
      Freud and Spielrein eventually become advocates
      for different – if overlapping – views of human behavior.

      This, in turn, can improve experiences in the bedroom.
      But, what if your reality tunnel is being ‘hacked’.

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