Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Michael G. Chivers: Clever Writer!

I'm reading a fascinating, frightening tale - "The Squalling Terror" - told by Michael G. Chivers in Emanations: 2 + 2 = 5, and in a single sentence, he ties a sight gag to a pun that shows why the object described can never be of practical use to anybody:
One of the items looked like an ivory d*ldo of unfeasible proportions, covered in impenetrable script. (page 246, bowdlerizaton mine)
The writing here is very clever (I chuckled aloud on the subway) and implies a control over wording that goes deep into the sentence. I refer mainly to the term "impenetrable," which can suggest that the d*ldo does not function properly - as we already know from the other significant term, "unfeasible." One has to misread, of course, to impart this meaning to "impenetrable" - i.e., 'not penetrate able' - but let's be generous with our man.

Anyway, I'm still reading, and enjoying the story . . .



At 9:20 AM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

"...goes deep into the sentence."

I see what you did there.

At 10:28 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Your eyesight is more penetrating than mine.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:46 AM, Blogger Bill Ectric said...

Cool, I'm currently reading the Squalling Terror, too!

At 10:51 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

If you finish first, I'll know that I can survive.

Oh, wait . . . this is fiction, isn't it? I need not worry, right?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to see this terrific story getting some attention.

The political satire is spot on. I think his posture on such matters is the shape of things to come. That is, this is how the pendulum is going to (or perhaps should) swing the other way.

I like his parody of Lovecraft, too. Beautifully done.

At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As fictitious as today's headlines, bub!

At 11:03 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Anon 1, for the key to the reading.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:05 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Anon 2, now, I'm paranoid again!

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:23 PM, Blogger Antony Trepniak said...


At 1:52 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Let me link that: YouTube.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you think of "The Squalling Terror"? Does it contribute to the 2 + 2 = 5 theme? (And just what is that?)

Also, what came of your reading of the Robert Meadley story?

At 11:52 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

The Meadley story was interesting for me because I enjoy stories of encounters with the Devil, but I can see that some readers might find the story a bit thin.

The Squalling Terror is a really good story, a sort of Lovecraftian satire of the Marxist Revolutionary Party as a religious cult that gets more than it bargained for.

I don't understand the 2 + 2 = 5 either. Except this anthology is the fifth one. And it deals with the irrational. Maybe that's all it means.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 3:14 AM, Blogger Antony Trepniak said...

As it happens, there is a 2 + 2 = 5 connection to The Squalling Terror through George Orwell's 1984:

"In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it."

I would love to say that this was intentional, but the reality is that TST was written over a period of four years, and I had no idea that it would ever be published, let alone where. I am glad that you enjoyed it.

At 9:50 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I had forgotten the Orwellian statement. That's perhaps the meaning in the Emanations subtitle.

I did enjoy the story. It was so good that I almost set it aside for fear of nightmares, but I steeled myself and read on.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Compare Orwell's statement to the Benjamin Franklin epigraph. There is a tie-in, too, with the Chivers story. That is, us boomers threw the baby out with the bath water when we embraced "postmodernism" as the road to Utopia (Mike, please find that pic of the guy in the Yes T-shirt with the soiled shorts). Well... maybe we learned a thing or two in the past fifty years, and 2 + 2 = 5 isn't, ahem, one of them! And perhaps Robert Meadley's story fits in to this as well because it underscores the the idea that the errors of the past will find greater permutations with the increase in population... "The road to hell is paved with good intentions; or, you think 5000 years of human karma is sticky? Har! Har! Har! Boy, just wait till you see the nanobots!"

At 3:00 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Those nanobots are scary to think about!

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 12:57 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

What's the email for?

Jeffery Hodges

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