Wednesday, August 10, 2011


The Holy Book Trinity

I've done it! I've finally chosen my three favourite books ever. There was no point postponing the decision any longer. I'm 44 years old and I have been a voracious reader of fiction since the age of 14. That's three decades of cramming my mind and soul with literature! If I don't know my three favourite books by now, I'll never know. So behold: my ultimate trio!

The Father
Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges... I know that Andrew Hurley's one volume translation of nearly every story Borges ever wrote (The Collected Fictions) has its champions, but I actually prefer the slightly more formal tone of Yates and Irby in this translation of only a selection of the great Argentine's work (but what a judicious selection). For example, Hurley talks about a "bright labyrinth" whereas the older translation has "nitid labyrinth" and despite having to continually reach for a dictionary, I enjoy the latter approach. It's more crystalline for some reason.

The Son
Despite the differences in nationalities, culture and politics, Calvino is certainly the son of Borges; and he's not even illegitimate, just wayward. He has the intellect to match Borges and his abstract stories of space and time are no less original or rigorous than the ultimate Borges texts; but Calvino also has a deep humanity. The Complete Cosmicomics is both intellectually and emotionally engaging. I can state unequivocally that it's my favourite work of fiction. Peerless, funny, wise, incredible. Calvino may only be the son but he's the real saviour.

The Robo Ghost
Lem dazzles my brain with his genius. The Cyberiad is the perfect guidebook for the future. In these hallowed pages, paradox becomes religion, mythology becomes science, abstraction becomes energy. I love this book so much that I often can't refrain from dancing around it in sheer joy! Does that make me a Pole dancer? No, because the pun is awful: like my dancing. Trurl and Klapaucius, the constructor robots, are two of the finest characters in any fiction in history, both past history and future history! What more can I say? Squeeze my Lem 'til the sentient ocean runs down my leg!

One of MY favorite books is Twisthorn Bellow! :-)
Hah! Thanks! I'm guessing you are George? Am I right?
No, I am not George, or any other kind of George; I'm Humps Blowdoll! And I think that Twisthorn Bellow is one of the best books that I have ever read!

I have a cousin in the States who is a fan of absurd fiction, and I have ordered him a copy of 'Twisthorn' in the hope that he will spread the good news of Rhys Hughes to our colonial cousins!

But please tell me; I have started reading your wonderful book 'A New Universal History Of Infamy; (and loving it), and note that you are influenced by Jorge Luis Borges. I am wondering, how do you pronounce this gentleman's name? I am guessing it (phonetically) 'horhay louise borheys', but would be grateful for your advice.

Thanks very much....
You're asking me how to pronounce something? My pronunciation is usually very bad!

But anyway... to answer your question: this is what I have been told by a reliable source... You know those birds that are relatives of crows and jackdaws that live in woodland? Imagine one of those dressed in sexy lingerie and hanging around on a street corner. So you get:


That's the first name.... The second name is (apparently) spoken as follows:


And then:


I hope that helps. :-)
You mean it isn't pronounced George Lewis Boar Jizz? And if not, why not?
Kicky Stu! Kicky Stu!
He always know what to do!
He can play jazz
and sweet prog rock
while cooking a pizza
on a molten rock.

Kicky Stu! Kicky Stu!
If I wasn't me, I'd rather be you!
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