Tuesday, April 13, 2004

I just finished Nymphomation, by Jeff Noon.

Easy to read

A literary workout
Read it before

A novel with novelty
Lost my interest

Kept me riveted

Jeff Noon is just a wickedly nifty author. Vurt was the first novel of his that I 'read'. I actually purchased the audiobook on a whim. I burned through the cassettes tons of times, and then Rob ripped them to CDs for me. I've actually listened to the CDs so much that they are all beat up, too. It really doesn't matter much since I can basically recite the whole thing, and I've since purchesed the paper form, and read it a couple of times.

Nymphomation is based around a TV show which is a sort of lottery. People buy electronic dominoes, and if their domino ends up matching the domino that is shown on the program, you min big money. It's a huge fad around Manchester. But when a couple of the winners turn up dead, it seems there is more to the game than is easily seen.

The book flashes back 30 years or so to a class of failing students who learn about math and life from a new, innovative teacher, who bases all of her lessons on the game of dominoes... there is an obvious connection!

The book explores this connection, and goes on to play around in chaos, game theory and other mathematics invented just for the tale. It takes place in a near-future filled with fast-food and curry shops, where mechanical insects - blurbflies - buzz around with advertising slogans, and an entire culture is addicted to a lottery game show.

It's a cyberpunk novel, of sorts... it's impossible to describe. Jeff Noon writes science fiction in a style which is somewhere between fantasy and beatnik. He opens the chapters with crazy rants that set the frenzied mood, and grab hold of you once you grow accostomed to the flavor.

Page 27: "Native gamblers, stuck superlove crazy to the televiz, goggle-eyed and numberholic as the credits came in colours. Tango the dominoes, forever changing. Pipsville, dig those chances! Bulging air, message-heavy. Blurbflies in a swarm, singing streets alive. Madverts. Dream to play! Play to win! Win to dream! All over the city, that wet and slippy evening, surrounded by biscuits and crumble, herds of punters were banging their bones on cofe tables and dashboards, mouse pads and park benches, watching tiny dots pulsate in crooked rhythm."

The wonderland feel is further enhanced by things like Page 319: "'Twas nine-ish, and the slimy hordes did clack and gamble in the wave. All dotty were the game-parades, and the telebox did crave. 'Beware the Dominock, my daught, the pips that on young chances feed! Beware the House of Bone and shun the Mr. Millipede!' ...
'Twas nine-ish, and the spotty numbs did gamb and dumble in the games. All pippy were the domisums, and the telebox in flames."

Crazy and cool. Lyrical and fanciful.

Last Thursday, I went to see Hellboy.

A simple story

A complicated tale
Seen it before

A fresh perspective
Visually ordinary

Special effects-y

It was a nifty film. The characters had a bunch of depth. The scenery was dark, but not overly so.

And there is a lot of fighting. A LOT of fighting -- guns, knives, swords, fists, explosions -- it's all there. There are some awfully nasty-looking demons.

It's certainly not for everyone, but if you like intense action wrapped around an epic storyline spanning 60 years, involving Nazis, demons, gods of chaos frozen at the edge of the solar system, and the end of the world - apocalypse-style, go check it out.

Breathless fun! Enjoy!