Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Writer's Last Sigh

First, Kathy is MESSED up. Just putting that out there.

Second, I've been giving some more thought to my dislike of sighence fiction and what I think of Philip K. Dick. I have fleshed out my theory. You see, what bugs me is that nearly all sigh-fi writers have the same weakness. They've got this wacky world going on where people live on Jupiter or where there are no more murders or where there are microtransmitters planted in everyone's brain or where the fire department burns books or what have you, and you're reading along, and they drop some hints and provide some things with subtle exposition and good storytelling and context, and then it's like suddenly they go Oh, crap, I have to explain to my readers that in this world everyone has a brain transplant when they turn twelve so suddenly two characters have a totally implausible conversation and one says, "You know how in this world we all have a brain transplant when we turn twelve?" and the other says, "Yes, right, that's so they can collect our old brains for the aliens who come to take the best cells out of them" and it's like -- THEY WOULD NOT BE SAYING THAT! And not because I can't suspend my disbelief about the brain transplant but because they ALREADY KNOW that and it's stupid and it just shows the weak sigh-fi writer has become lazy about subtly exposing and wanted to take a shortcut and I hate it.

So that has happened. On the other hand, I think this book is rather literary. He is forever making literary allusions. Sometimes he comes out and cites "'And leaves the world to darkness and to me,' he thought, reccalling a line from Thomas Gray's Elegy. A long cherished favorite of his..." (p. 79). Other times he just alludes. "Another loser, among many. Many are called, he said to himself, but few are chosen. That's what it means to be a pro." (p.62) One can tell that Philip K. Dick is smart and writerly. But I did sigh a little bit. I haven't sighed for many pages now. We shall see what happens...

Also, I still love Heather. She is my new Myrtle Clare. (And p.s., how rad is it that the real Myrtle was IN THE MOVIE In Cold Blood?!) Heather is so cranky. Psycho Kathy had some Talking Tina-esque doll that knows about people and it told Jason to find Heather in an attempt to get out of this "why don't I exist, suddenly?" predicament. So he calls one of Heather's unlisted numbers, and turns out she doesn't have any more recollection of him than did his agent or the birth certificate files or anybody else, but there is clearly more to come there. Their conversation is hilarious, and she thinks he's some "twerp fan" and keeps calling him that and demanding to know how he got her private number, but it's just so randomly hilarious how she is so feisty. I love it. He's like, Heather, Heather, I'm a six! And she responds, "A six what? You have six legs, is that it? Or more likely six heads. " (p. 58) I can just hear her spitting those words at him. I LIKE her. Immensely.

I'm also rather on the edge of my seat to find out more about this whole six business, I must say. All we know is that they're some kind of elite group of people who were made to be sixes. No idea what that really is about.


No comments: