Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Weird Fiction?


(Image from Homestuck by Andrew Hussie.)

Bring on the crazy. More importantly, bring on the New Sincerity. Here is the thing: I like a little whackiness. I like adolescent reptiles with martial arts training that have been genetically modified. I like swords & spaceships mixed together. I like Terry Gilliam & David Lynch. The thing I don't like is irony, or its sibling, preciousness. I don't like people who think they are "exploding the genre." So I'm more than happy to dig into House of Leaves precisely because it is genuinely pretentious. The goofy typesetting & Borgesian footnotes are affected. They are sincere, they are pure geeky sugar. I like Vurt's dripping surrealist druggie faerie tale because Jeff Noon isn't faking it. He means it, & not in some pathetic fashion. Not with some needlessly smoldering Byronic intensity. Just fully sincerely. I like fighting robots, don't you? I don't want it sullied with sardonic sarcasm. I mention this for the simple reason that is this: I think the tide is turning. I don't think hipster reappropriation is winning any more. You might be upset that Hollywood is selling out your youth to make movies, but they are figuring out that they don't have to mess it up. That a robot who turns into a semi-truck is awesome.

Why is this on my mind? Simple. The single craziest moment in any book, ever. Ever. Author? Clive Staples Lewis. Book? The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe. Madness: Santa Claus. SANTA CLAUS. Easily the craziest cameo in literature. He just shows up...& then he gives people presents! It isn't even a little bit otherwise. Santa comes & gives gifts to the children. Not just any presents; awesome presents. Swords & suchlike. I can remember, quite vividly, being in first grade (Miz Budapest's class) & reading that scene & having my mind blown. What! Father Christmas! Out of the blue. Just crazy. I am now braced for it. In anything I read, I'm ready for Saint Nick to jump out & give the character's crazy loot. It makes reading...interesting. So go on, China MiƩville. Put in an insane devil whale. Make Bas-Lag a wonder of colour bombs & brainsucking moths. You have a ways to go before I think you are very "weird."

4 comments:

Jennifer said...

Nice subtle shout out The Sound of Young America.

mordicai said...

Jennifer is my homie.

David said...

"New sincerity" is an interesting concept, although when people are talking about its avatars such as Wes Anderson and Michel Gondry it seems more to me to be superdouble deep irony. Isn't sincerity just like, sincerity?

mordicai said...

I actually think Royal Tenenbaums is sincere! Anyhow, you are right that double deep irony is a factor; I used a Homestuck picture partly for that reason (as a notable character is Ironic As Shit.)