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

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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.

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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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Pareidolia: Deleted Chapter (Holcomb’s Interview)

Enjoy this deleted chapter from my first novel, Pareidolia. The premise is available here, and the table of contents can be found here.


Here we find Zeke and Marcus discussing the astrophysics conference that Zeke lately attended (outlined in this deleted chapter), and Marcus shows Zeke a taped TV show episode that he suspects must contain an anonymous interview with Kenneth Holcomb.

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When The Words Write You

I’m sick. It’s 2:16 in the morning and I absolutely can’t sleep. The decongestant I took earlier in the day is refusing to play nice with the mouthful of hopefully not rancid NyQuil I downed a good four hours ago. At any rate the dark room is pulsating with that awful clarity of dilated eyes and the thing I can’t stop thinking about is how a single simple idea can explode with unpredictable and uncontrollable complexity into a full-blown novel.

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