My friend John Harrigan (he of Foolish People fame) contacted me last week to suggest that I take a look at a new novel which was starting to make some noise on the web: James Curcio’s ‘Fallen Nation: Babylon Burning’.
It took me a few days to get around to looking at the opening prologue, which immediately sucked me in with it’s hideous vision of a dystopian America, shown from the perspective of a 15-year-old girl caught in a web of cannibalism, incest and latent superpowers. Then I moved on to read the first proper chapter and came to this passage:
‘Us Demigods live in exile from the Divine right along with you. Also like you, we only know what our eyes and ears give us. To get the story you’ll have to dive into the reek and accept that chances are, when you emerge, the “truth” is going to smell like a week-old rack of lamb sitting on the side of the road in Calcutta. You want this story? You’re going to have to strap on your mining helmet and go spelunking.
Though I have little in common with him otherwise, there is a single journalist in your recent history who recognized these things. The rest were choked on the false objectivism they were taught in school, then fattened yet malnourished by the political and corporate interests of their sponsors. This one fellow – no Demigod to my knowledge, though he was surely a flawed Hero in the classic sense – “invented” Gonzo journalism.
This approach tells the journalist to embrace all the things he is taught to loathe in school, all the things which shatter his false objectivity, and then to present the mangled pulp the scenario has rendered. Most take it as a hilarious joke, or look at it skeptically, like the broken thing their cat drops in front of them. But there is something else here: truth.’