Yesterday I saw an old friend and we walked around the city and and ate Japanese food and went to an escape room, which was something I became vaguely aware of after Sherlock S4 because that last (not-good) episode kept getting compared to an escape room and apparently everyone except me had been to one at some point. Working out the puzzles was fun, but I’m clumsy with locks, getting things in and out of a lock at the gym is always a struggle, so entering the codes correctly was a little bit difficult.
Outside there was a poster advertising the film Valerian, and it took me a moment to figure out what it was advertising because the leads looked so sulky and grim that I thought it might be an adaptation of The Turn of the Screw set in space. The last time I thought about Valerian was 10 years ago when a French woman tried to slap me because I said that Fujiko was better than Laureline.
Context: We were well into the second hour of a very expensive nomihodai and we’d been trying to drink our money’s worth in whisky cocktails. It was more than a little awkward because I hadn’t realised it would only be the two of us and I am not exactly the greatest conversationalist, and then for some reason, she ordered shots, which were not included in the nomihodai, but the bartender served because why not. However, tequila reduces my natural shyness, so when her (more than slightly racist) monologue about the terribleness of Japan turned to manga, I stopped smiling and nodding and I objected strongly to her description of Valérian and Laureline as better than anything Japan had to offer. “Laureline is nothing more than a cut-rate Fujiko,” I said. In case she hadn’t understood, “A bargain basement Fujiko,” I added.
“You say that again, I slap you,” she said, and I think it was supposed to be playful, but it came across as super intense, so I started to discreetly edge away (we’d been sitting next to each other on the banquette), but a drunk’s version of discreet is anything but, so I edged myself on to the floor.
She leaned over me, “Some people, they say I look like Laureline.”
“Naaaawwwww,” I said, and started giggling. She harumphed and ordered another round of cocktails, and then when they came, she drank them both. What I’d meant was, you don’t have red hair.
Anyway, now that I think about it, Fujiko/Laureline would be an amazing crossover pairing. And Henry James in Space would be super amazing.
That stroll down memory lane took up my internet time, so now I can’t complain about the book I read today, Virginia Heffernan’s Magic and Loss: the Internet as Art. I agreed with some of its points about the value of the internet, but overall it was so silly and poorly written that I started to question my own beliefs.
Lyric poetry has always been short. That’s why it’s not, for example, epic.
I think that is supposed to be a joke, but it is almost impossible to tell.
I confess to taking gross liberties with traditional books, savoring the rule breaking, skipping forewords, concordances, and boring chapters, while lavishing prurient attention on jacket copy, dedications, and acknowledgments.
Oh, you rebel!
It’s no surprise that the Harry Potter generation, who grew up on serial fantasy fiction set in the labyrinthine hallways of a magic school—as well as on suspenseful literary television like Lost, which is built on cliffhangers, errors, and indirection—have taken to the disorienting pagination of the Kindle and the lost-in-the-funhouse narrative that thrives in ereader form. These are books that defy the miserable school essay format: tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them. They are filled with fake-outs and unfulfilled promises. The best Kindle books serialize easily and pulse with suspense that drives the reader emotionally (rather than rationally) through the maze. There are mistakes, redundancies, false starts, red herrings, loose and dead ends. Purity. The Goldfinch. Fifty Shades of Gray. Gone Girl.
Those are all straightforward narratives, I mean, if she thinks they are exceptionally twisty, someone should buy her a copy of Armadale or Lady Audley’s Secret. Additionally, one would think that in a book about the internet, a mention of the internet origins of Fifty Shades wouldn’t be out of place. There’s nothing “lost-in-the-funhouse”, assuming that’s a reference to Barth, about any of those books.
And I can’t even get into the last chapter, which drops the technology theme and rambles on about undergraduate grudges. If I hadn’t been so close to the end, I would’ve given up and gone back to The Raven Boys, which is the last book I dropped (at chapter 4).
Next on my summer reading, either Joshua Cohen’s The Book of Numbers or Heidi Julavits’s The Folded Clock. After that, I should be back to Harry Potter – I’m #6 on the waiting list now for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.