Converging Parallel Lines: Yet Another Reader’s Take On Infinite F**king Jest

I just finished reading Infinite Jest for the third time, and this time I took notes. It helped. Keeping the dozen-plus storylines straight in the mist of the rhetorical glitter bombs Wallace throws in your face borders on the Herculean, which I get is on purpose, but I noticed (and more importantly retained) what felt like a good quarter of the story that I missed the last two times around.

I found it was easier to sort everything into mental piles, and towards the end the many mental piles coalesced into just two: the emergency room-level psychic pain of addiction, and Wallace’s overt and horrifying attempt to trap the reader into solving (and becoming addicted to) a deliciously unsolvable mess of a plot.

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Lincoln In The Bardo & The Golden House

Rushdie Saunders

I read the first several miniature chapters of George Saunder’s Lincoln In The Bardo with some misgivings. I knew and loved Saunders from Tenth of December and was accustomed to his style, but the overbearing nature of epistolary literature has always rubbed me the wrong way. And this was a whole novel of that? Very hard to grab onto, yet the reviews glowed and gushed. So I pushed on. Continue reading “Lincoln In The Bardo & The Golden House”

Science Fiction vs Literary Fiction

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I considered myself a science fiction writer all the way through my first novel, Pareidolia. With portals, time travel, impossible rooms, and recovered alien artifacts, there’s no way it could be anything else.

I figured I ought to have a glancing familiarity with my genre, so I assigned myself a long reading list, starting with Frankenstein and ending with the hottest new sci-fi novel of the moment. It didn’t go well.

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Pareidolia: August 1, 2000 Timeline

The events described in the last ten chapters of Pareidolia all occur on the same day. This wasn’t a plotting challenge as much as it was a technical nightmare. I was all for describing different events from different character perspectives earlier in the novel, even with a little overlapping thrown in, but this was a whole other level of insanity.

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