Thursday, June 4, 2015

Reprint Heaven: Look; I Don't Make This Stuff Up

Trolling For Submerged Vehicles
Obligatory Small Animal Photo At Beginning Of Blog Thing

Sniffing around the Intertubes, I found this.
“When is Ben coming home?” Edmund said.

“They told their dog they’d be back in a week,” the muddy boy said. “So… four more days, then. Their dog hates boats, which means anytime they leave on a sailing vacation their dog has to live outside and kill his own food and put up with me doing whatever I want to it.”

“Do you know which song unlocks the trapdoor in Ben’s cottage?” Edmund said.

As the muddy boy handed Edmund the carton of milk, Edmund saw that on the boy’s wrist someone had lettered, in mud, the letters M O N G O.

“I don’t know anything about songs,” the muddy boy said as he peeked into his bag.

Edmund gestured at the muddy boy’s wrist. “Did Mongo write that on you?”

“Yes.”

“You know Mongo?”

“I am Mongo. Who told you I wasn’t Mongo?”

“Nobody,” Edmund said. “But if you’re Mongo, I’m supposed to tell you something.”

“Then tell it.”
My original suspicion was that James Joyce had been reborn and has been using my name. However, it's part of a serial post-modern Intertubes novel entitled The Numberless, created by Ts’ui Pên, a Chinese writer now living in Italy (and thereupon, I am convinced, hangs a really good tale), translated by a person at Vanderbilt University and published by Potboiler Press.

But, I'm only a Dog, and no one listens to me -- though I do happen to like boats, so long as I'm not actually on them. And, I don't live "outside", and don't kill my own food. I go to a restaurant, like anyone else; even if I have to use a child seat and have difficulty with the silverware.

There. Now you know everything. Except about Heino.
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MEHR, MIT AROOO:  All fans of Umberto Ecco and the Illuminati series, and anyone who enjoys those nifty 9-11 conspiracy videos posted on UTub, take note: in going back to check the links in this post (as the Intertubes has a way of marching on), we discovered a tiny mystery: The novel I'd quoted from had disappeared. And it didn't appear to be as it seemed.

The section quoted above was indeed from a postmodern, online novel, The Numberless -- however, the domain where it was posted, thenumberless.com, has expired.  It did exist, however (and proof can be seen courtesy of The Wayback Machine), but there are no search engine references to the work. 

Thankfully, the Wayback cache did keep a link to the email address at vanderbilt.edu of the novel's 'translator', Matthew S. Baker, and a search for him shows that he is quite real and very much extant.  Formerly of the MFA program at Vanderbilt University, he has had a children's novel, If You Find This, just released this year by Little, Brown publishers.

Baker's claim in posting The Numberless online was that it had been penned by Ts’ui Pên, a Chinese writer living in Rome, and that Baker had translated it from the original Italian.  Putting Pên's name into the vast whirl of the Googlemachine shows one reference  -- to a 1941 short story, "The Garden Of Forking Paths", a collection of short works by Jorge Luis Borges and published under that title.

It's a story set during WW1, involving espionage and a search for Hermetic knowledge.  Pên is mentioned as "a learned and famous man" who resigned as governor of a Chinese province "to undertake two tasks: to write a vast and intricate novel, and to construct an equally vast and intricate labyrinth ... in which all men would lose their way." Ts'ui Pên was murdered before completing the novel. The draft he left behind was confusing, contradictory and made no sense to later readers. The labyrinth he mentioned was never found.

However, the novel Ts'ui Pên wrote was the labyrinth -- his attempt to describe a world where all possible outcomes of an event occur simultaneously, each one itself leading to different possible futures.  Today, given String Theory, The Multiverse, and even stories like "One: A Novel", this vision is hardly new -- but in 1941, notable.

And Heino is still around.. 
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