domingo, dezembro 18, 2016

Die Verfremdungseffekt: "All that Outer Space Allows" by Ian Sales


Published 2015.



"One of the strengths of science fiction is its capacity to literalise metaphors."

In " "All that Outer Space Allows" by Ian Sales


If Shakespeare broke the 4th wall in several instances, why shouldn’t Ian Sales be allowed to do it? “A Midsummer Night's Dream” deserves special mention for Puck's ending speech, which can be condensed into "We're sorry if you didn't like the play." Even before that, Oberon seems to be addressing the audience when he explains how he is Invisible to Normals. It also deserves a secondary mention for the continuous breaking of the 4th (5th?) wall in the Pyramus and Thisbe sequence. Frequently the action stops so Bottom can reply to the characters watching the play. Plus, the prologues. Oh, the prologues. And of course in Henry V where the opening monologue is an extended apologia for not showing the tremendous battles that are going on in-between the play's scenes. Made doubly strange because it was retained in both the Olivier and Branagh films of the play, where they do show the battles. Also, any time Iago opens his mouth he is likely to address the audience by the end of the speech. And don’t forget one of Hamlet's many soliloquies (this one in Act II, scene ii) includes the lines "I have heard that guilty creatures sitting at a play/Have by the very cunning of the scene/Been struck so to the soul that presently/They have proclaimed their malefactions..." A great many productions have “Hamlet” break the fourth wall at this line and speak directly to the audience, for a darkly comedic effect. Launcelot in “The Merchant of Venice” tells the audience to pay attention while he plays a prank on his dad, "Mark me now; now will I raise the waters." Feste singing at the end of “Twelfth Night”, "But that's all one, our play is done, And we'll strive to please you every day.", and last but not least, the epilogue in “As You Like It”, in which Rosalind admits her nature as a guy who plays a girl who dresses as a guy (or a girl who plays a guy who plays a girl who dresses as a guy, in most modern performances), complains that the play was no good, and flirts, collectively, with everyone in the audience so that they'll "like as much of this play" as they possibly can. Bertold Brecht used the breaking of the 4th wall to good effect (drawing attention to important elements of his plays), in what he called “Die Verfremdungseffekt.”
Somewhere in between the 4th wall and the meta lies a lot of influences I got in the 80's: the head-to-head, heart-to-heart discourse of Kerouac or Bukowski's sighing plaints, or even the real person gonzo journalism of Thompson, all authentic stuff busting down bullshit or at least old forms (of it). Influences, both in plain sight (in manner), and under the table (that I came to realize as I started thinking who did break the 4th wall in all forms of art, be it film, opera, blogging, or novel). Sales was not successful in breaking the 4th wall, but this novel was a still earth-shattering, and approached themes I both hadn't intentionally delved into thinking more fully out.
The living dead are everywhere, aren't they? Hi Vasco. I appreciate this one. Some stuff there I haven’t read but it'll take place eventually. What do you think about 'choose your own Westworld adventure' books? Is that Meta enough for you baby? Hasn't TV, Opera, plays (namely Shakespeare as shown above) been knocking down walls since early on and we would roll our eyes at everything and everyone? Not to mention all the walls they had to knock down to build on to the studios once they realised the medium was sticking to everything? Like Hamlet soliloquizing the audience? “Ham, how many dimples on a golf ball folks? “Ham, 672.” “Ham, no that's too many.” “Ham, out, damn spot.” And the imperative to choosing a Westworld adventure is the second person: you, you, you, you. You killed him in your brooks brothers suit, you son of a bitch. It piles up. It feels almost accusatory. It draws you in. If you jump to the ground, turn to page 69. If you hold on, turn to page 69. Is most of this metafiction what they call postmodern? These things twine and twain and twist and you're left with a thousand stories and a weighty sense of unreality. Just what I was looking for. Go read Ian Sales for good contemporary SF.


Deeply Interwoven Parallel Worlds: "Then Will The Great Ocean Wash Deep Above" by Ian Sales


NB: SF = Speculative Fiction.

2 comentários:

Book Stooge disse...

So have my comments gotten eaten by the spam filter or have you not been moderating them?

Manuel Antão disse...

Blogger sometimes sucks...