Thursday, April 16, 2020

"Eddie Allan's Mysterious Manifesto" - a note from William Weiss

One of my colleagues in International Authors is William Weiss, a recently-retired English professor from the Northeast, who now makes his home in the Mojave Desert. Professor Weiss attended school at a number of universities and colleges, including Naropa, where he was a student of William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso. Professor Weiss taught at Patten College, UC Berkeley, National Hispanic University, the San Francisco Conservation Corps, and SUNY Adirondack. His books include Orbiting William S. Burroughs, and Hallucination May Constitute the Final Theorem under the pen name Professor Nil. Most recently, he published  Escape Trajectories (in collaboration with Gareth Jackson) and 68 Cantos. William Weiss will have a short story in the forthcoming volume of Emanations.

The other day, he wrote to tell me that he had been reading Emanations: Chorus Pleiades, and in it he found my short story "Eddie Allan's Mysterious Manifesto."  Now, this story also appears in my novel Echoes as the second chapter.  Professor Weiss writes:

I read "Eddie Allan's Mysterious Manifesto"... I like Eddie’s sense of humor and would have laughed out loud if not for the piece’s final seriousness.  Identifying the fantastic proliferation of information with horror is Eddie’s true contribution.  I encountered well-managed and clever echoes of Burroughs, Foucault, Chomsky, Baudrillard and others in the course of his manifesto.  Very nice to hear.
I'll say this for now:  I'm with Eddie.  I don't like telephones and expect nothing from computers (I call them deified appliances).  I agree that the NETWORKS are hastening the apocalypse, but I don't find this a bad thing.  Eddie makes the connection to the acceleration of accumulation of wealth (for who?) via the NETWORKS (that is, via the sheer accumulation of information), but the NETWORKS are part and parcel of postindustrial capitalism, and the socialist's dream of a worldwide rejection of capitalism is about as likely as us making the 2-degree Celsius goal.  It's ridiculous.  No one can AFFORD to drop capitalism.  Especially now.  The MACHINE and its NETWORKS will crank on until the exhaustion of natural resources makes capitalism as we know it impossible.  The militarization of the planet will proceed, the countries with the most powerful militaries will grab every last ounce of oil left, and all of this will only edge us closer to nuclear conflict.  (How about a nuclear winter for a climate crisis?). Let the Himalayas of information rise.  When the grids go down, and they will, those mountains will disappear like sand castles on the beach (the last 3 words of that sentence remind me of Nevil Shute's novel and Brinkley's The Last Ship).
And I'll step out on a limb with another Eddie, Ed Abbey, here: let's get it over with.
    The horror.  The horror.
I sent William Weiss the following response:
Thanks for the encouraging message.

The "Manifesto" is also in  Echoes--the second chapter--and the rest of the stories/chapters reflect (and sometimes with wonderful derangement) the themes in the Manifesto.  Do you know Poe's biography?  He did not get along with his step-father, John Allan. The bizarre relationship Eddie has with his step-father in the trilogy is touched on several times in Echoes, and in the second volume of the trilogy it becomes one of the many bizarre themes. Then it "haunts" the third volume in all kinds of strange ways.

"When the grids go down, and they will, those mountains will disappear like sand castles on the beach."

In the second novel, the grid goes down; and then in the third novel, what's left over melts like those sandcastles...

Ah, Ed Abbey--in the Second Volume there is a lot of monkey-wrenching going on.  Bronson Bodine and his faithful sidekick Nabnak Tornasuk keep busy shutting down nuke power plants, mines, factories, satellites, sweat shops, ore processing plants, smelters, and so on.  But, as I say, in the third volume that gets melted too.
The second and third volumes of The Invisible Tower trilogy should be available by the end of the Summer. Learn more about the first volume, Echoes, by clicking the cover image: 

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