Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Hound of the D'Urbervilles

I clearly bowled too much yesterday, for my arm is aching and my fingers are swollen. It's not the sort of sport you can just go to without diligent training and preparation.

Today I spent ten hours grappling with data, then went home to feel a bit nauseous and recover by reading Kim Newman's The Hound Of The D'Urbervilles, a insanely complicated mash of many, many pieces of literature into one, unholy monster of back-reference and footnote. As well as being a pastiche of Sherlock Holmes and a long (and literal) shaggy dog story, there's a collection of ridiculous stories of cursed jewels, cowboys and almost anything else written in the last two centuries. I thought Anno Dracula couldn't be topped, but this is incredible, and awing.

It also has a footnoted version of 'The Green Eye Of The Yellow God' which is itself a work of genius. The footnoting. Not so sure about the monologue itself, which isn't quite up there with the work of Topaz McGonagall. Although mention of that fine poet points out that Newman even refers to the Tay Bridge Insurance Fiasco, apparently a failed scheme of the evil genius Moriarty. What a wonderful tangled web to be stuck in.

I'm reading this on paper: after a day of fighting my computer, staring at its screen some more doesn't hold much appeal. Part of me is wondering why Charles Stross and Kim Newman have never collaborated though. Wouldn't that just be the maddest post-modern mentalism ever to belch onto the printed page?


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