Surreal Sex for Intellectuals
Posted November 6, 2011on:
This seems to be a very good time for science fiction. I was prompted to explore some of it partly on the strength of this novella, which hit me like a blow between the eyes and left me breathless and dizzy for a few days.
The writing is very smooth and controlled. I love clean, precise writing like this, especially when it involves a swimming pool and the promise of sensuality. This drew me in and took me swiftly to the end of the first chapter, where I received my first shock.
I won’t tell you too much more about the plot. There’s some science stuff and a little problem with a particle accelerator. Reality takes a bit of a knock. Strange things start to happen. There is some sex, lots of nudity, some cross-dressing and a birth of sorts. But it’s all a little bit surreal.
Perhaps it’s also a little bit old-fashioned. Think Dada and Derrida, Brecht and Barthes. You might get all kinds of dubious intellectuals latching onto this and confusing you with their philosophical babble about it.
The thing you’ve got to hang onto and not forget is that the book is short and really easy to read. It’s also funny and light.
When dealing with elusive concepts, it’s very important to keep your writing plain and concrete. This the author does with admirable consistency. The ending couldn’t be clearer.
I’d never heard of Douglas Lain before and still don’t know very much about him. He seems to be one of those cult science fiction writers who carves out his own niche and tries not to get noticed too much.
But it’s probably wrong to call this a science fiction book. It’s probably better categorised as literary philosophy.
But it’s all just words, really. Read it for yourself and make up your own mind. Or don’t. It’s up to you.