Joyriding the Maelstrom
This book is quite a wild ride. Ostensibly a novel centered on a protagonist named Bronson Bodine, in fact it presents a kaleidoscope of images and scenes that function at one level as an episodic narrative that seems to perpetuate the tropes of speculative fiction, and in at the same time, in a Nabokovian manner, plays post-modern games that subvert those old tropes.Please click HERE to visit the US Amazon page for Echoes.
It is constructed out of narrative blocks that are apparently disjointed, but which cohere to form an image of what seems to be a mythic presentation of the modern technological hero -- but it keeps mutating from bloc to bloc, ultimately leaving us with questions about those tropes, and the world they represent in the kaleidoscopic fragments.
What ultimately gives the work its unity is Kaplan's prose, which is his most persuasive tool, and his rather Nabokovian sense of humor, which produces genuine mirth at the most unexpected places.
I do not know if the author intended the work to use the paste-up method of Burroughs and Ballard, but there are aspects of the book that remind me of that technique. However, the book is persistently and eloquently without verbal murkiness, and there seems nothing gratuitous or random about the work, even at its most poetically puzzling.
I look forward to seeing the next volume. I'd give this volume of the proposed work a 4 1/2, but I have hopes for the subsequent volumes.
|"Descent into the Maelstrom" by Harry Clark, 1919|