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I started reading this short book - I'm not sure it can really be classed as a novel, divided as it is into four parts - while flying between Dublin and Italy. As luck would have it, I didn't expect that a good half of the book would be set in early nineteenth century Venice - the next day day I was to visit Venice. And so, the tale of the Henri, and his worship of the that military deity, Napoleon Boneparte - to whom he serves chicken, and the parallel account of Villanelle, a beautiful web-footed Venetian girl with a penchant for cross-dressing set a scene for my experiences in what Henri describes as 'A city of madmen'. But, even if you're not planning on going anywhere, it's still a fantastic story - with characters like Patrick, the sometime Irish priest with prodigious and often improbable eyesight, the innocent,...

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The Walls Came Tumbling Down - Un Film de Robert Anton Wilson (Amazon.com) The Walls Came Tumbling Down - Un Film de Robert Anton Wilson (Amazon.co.uk) The Walls Came Tumbling Down - Un Film de Robert Anton Wilson (Powell's Books - new or secondhand) From the writer probably most infamous for his penning of <!---->The Illuminatus<!---->! (trilogy co-written with Robert Shea) and the <!---->Schrödinger's Cat Trilogy<!----> , comes a screenplay that he would dearly love to film. For those of you unfamiliar with the work of RAW (called 'the world's greatest writer-philosopher' by the Irish Times) -- which includes psychology, surrealist fiction and downright fortean material -- I'm not sure that I will convince you to read him, as the *The Walls Came Tumbling Down* is perhaps not the best of his books to start with, and so I'm going to talk more about the cautionary nature of the screenplay,...

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mushroom.man (Amazon.co.uk) Before procuring a copy of *mushroom.man* by Paolo Tullio, author of *North of Naples, South of Rome*, I was apprehensive -- even cynical -- about reading an Irish novel with a subplot which utilises an exchange of email message exchanges between the two first-person narrators. Indeed, I had an olfaction of bandwagon-hopping in pursuit of bestseller heaven. I was however, wrong. *Mushroom.man* diluted my doubts, and for me, shook dust from old oxidised trains of thought with a clarity I've rarely encountered outside the works of Robert Anton Wilson or Paul Devereux. The novel concerns itself with two main characters, a young British psychologist sojourning in the University of Iowa, who stumbles across the Internet postings of the mysterious mushroom.man, an ex-artificial intelligence programmer who has dropped-out to live a life of recreational, academic, spiritual and culinary mycology , somewhere in the depths of the Irish countryside. The...

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Daev reviews Hunter S. Thompson's Hell's Angels, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Rum Diary... Hell's Angels (Amazon.com) Hell's Angels (Amazon.co.uk) Hell's Angels (Powell's Books - new or secondhand) Hell's Angels, Hunter S. Thompson's first book, published in 1966, is a highly involved, almost endearing, but highly critical account of the civil chaos, the police hysteria, political polemic and media hyperbole that trailed around after the Northern California motorcycle gangs of the mid-sixties. Rather than assuming the distant stance of the 'objective' journalist, Thompson spent a lot of time partying with the Angels, going on 'runs' (mass bike rides to various locations over holiday weekends) and just hanging out, talking about everything and anything. He was never a member - he was always under suspicion for being a writer, he didn't ride a chopped Harley Davidson (He rode a BSA, which he totalled one night, and almost himself...

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Lynch on Lynch (Amazon.com) Lynch on Lynch (Amazon.co.uk) Lynch on Lynch (Powell's Books - new or secondhand) An fascinating foray into the abstract world of David Lynch, the director of Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, Wild At Heart, Lost Highway and The Straight Story. The book is based on a series of lengthy interviews by editor Rodley, which bring out the folksy nature the shy boy from Missoula, Montana, and his talent for abstract painting. Often, in the course of the book, Lynch shies away from explaining his movies, on the basis that if he could explain them, he wouldn't have made them. Lynch's works lies in the realm, as Rodley says, of the unspecific, the uncanny, not in terms of mere subtext. As in his paintings, Lynch's approach to film making is less rational, and more in terms of feeling the movie, allowing intuition to take...

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Holy Fire (Amazon.com) Holy Fire (Amazon.co.uk) Holy Fire (Powell's Books - new or secondhand) h o l y f e c k ! Last month, I found myself several times guilty of the somewhat unsavoury practice of engaging in brief conversation with prominent authors, whilst hiding my embarrassment at not having totally immersed myself in their literature. One such example was Mr. Bruce Sterling, the man behind the legendary Dead Media Project. I had read various articles by him, and had soldiered through the disappointing Difference Engine, co-written with William Gibson, but after having witnessed Sterling speak in his caustic yet endearing style at South By South West, I purchased a copy of 'Holy Fire'. I couldn't put it down. A literate greyhound on amphetamines, I imbibed the pages until I reached that curious dissatisfaction of having finished a good book too fast, instead of giving it the mastication it...

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Them: Adventures with Extremists (Amazon.com) Them: Adventures with Extremists (Amazon.co.uk) Them: Adventures with Extremists (Powell's Books - new or secondhand) Why are we selling this? See the related Blather article, Them & Us by Maria Behan Also have a gander at Jon Ronson's homepage

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Two hilarious practical philosophical fiction books from Tom Robbins, Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas and Still Life with the Woodpecker, reviewed by Blather's high priest of disambiguity, Daev. Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas (Amazon.com) Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas (Amazon.co.uk) Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas (Powell's Books - new or secondhand) A book to be patient with, as its initial uncomfortable second-person viewpoint puts the reader in the position of Gwen, an ambitious, hopeless money driven young Seattle stockbroker, and you have to deal with the collapse of your dreams one Easter Thursday when the market crashes... if that wasn't bad enough, your 300-pound psychic friend goes missing, as does your idiot fiancé's born-again jewel-thieving ape, and the intrusion into your life of a mysterious slimy cancer-ridden stockbroker, whose chat-up lines involve asparagus and urine, who wants to whisk you off to deepest Africa...throw in frogs, the tarot, the star...

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The Third Policeman (Amazon.com) The Third Policeman (Amazon.co.uk) The Third Policeman (Powell's Books - new or secondhand) 'Within the boundaries of this novel the reader will find: a murder thriller; a comic satire about an archetypal village police force; a surrealistic vision of eternity; the story of a tender, brief unrequited love affair between a man and his bicycle; and a chilling fable of unending guilt.' When I was in my mid-teens, I discovered a copy of *The Third Policeman* in my local library. Nothing was *ever* the same again. Written in 1939, but not published until after the author's death, it's a book that threatens to defy the dimensions of it's own pages. Sub plots and wild theories run through almost independent footnotes, introducing De Selby, the scientist who believed that night was but an accumulation of 'black sooty substances' in the atmosphere, and that travel was an illusion....

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John Keel The Mothman Prophecies (Amazon.com) The Mothman Prophecies (Amazon.co.uk) The Mothman Prophecies (Powell's Books - new or secondhand) For a thirteen month period from November 1966 until December 1967, the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, USA was reportedly tipped into a state of chaos - overrun by UFOs, poltergeists, Men in Black in beyond-fashion-clothing driving impeccable old cars and fake service workers -- both groups had dark, sharp features, and wearing thick soled rubber shoes. If that wasn't bad enough, a surrealist abbatoirist left cattle cadavers strewn about the fields of Point Pleasant. These phenomena appeared to revolve around regular sightings of a winged humanoid known as the 'Mothman'. There were hundreds of alleged witnesses to these phenomena - some claimed 'contact' with various otherworldly beings. It seemed that anyone even peripherally involved was affected, and Keel, who had arrived from New York to investigate the reports, was...