Saturday, January 02, 2016

Michael G. Chivers: Impersonating a Traffic Cone?

There's probably no law specifically outlawing this, but think of the chaos that would ensue if everybody were to walk around with traffic cones on their heads! Order would break down instantly, and the entire planet Earth would have to be quarantined - possibly even exterminated - to protect the rest of the universe.

This is a possible, distant reading of the plot behind The Squalling Terror, which was written by Michael G. Chivers and which I have described as "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," and I added, "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."

You'll get no plot-spoilers here on this blog post, but if you're familiar with Lovecraft's tales, you'll already know what to expect of a religious cult for which the Marxist Revolutionary Party is a 'secular' front.

But does the tale at least have a happy ending, some potential readers will want to know. The answer to that question is . . . "Yes" . . . and . . . "No" . . . depending on whom you identify with in the story. But such is true of every story.

At around 90 pages, this story is more novella than 'short' story, but it is well worth time taken to read it.



At 4:16 AM, Blogger Antony Trepniak said...

Many thanks for your supportive comments, Comrade Hodges. I am particularly pleased that you found the story to be scary as well as funny, as I tried particularly hard to balance those two elements.

The novella was inspired in part by a line from China Mieville's introduction to At the Mountains of Madness: “The Shoggoth is a hysterically hallucinated coagulum of the victorious insurgent masses.” I had hoped to include this as an epigraph, but the International Authors legal dept. advised firmly (and no doubt wisely!) against it.

The quote amused me as it illustrates the tendency of Trots to view everything through the lens of their own monomania and to posit some kind of never-explained cod-Freudian/vulgar Marxist subconscious as the basis for artistic creation.

At 9:22 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

"The Shoggoth is a hysterically hallucinated coagulum of the victorious insurgent masses." Riiiiight. And the blob in The Blob was creeping communism stopped by the Cold War, symbolized by the ice skating rink onto which the blob was lured.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Comrades! Comrades! How can you so recklessly make such erroneous hermeneutic statements concerning Comrade China's VITALLY IMPORTANT critical analysis of the reactionary Lovecraft!? You sound like a couple of Kulaks! Obviously, you need to resist such bourgeois tendencies before you slip back into the alienation subtexts of late-capital! Do you think our transgressive agitprop is rock and roll self-promotion!? I urge you, comrades, for the sake of the Revolution, stay focused on ideology! The central point of Comrade Chivers' story is a subliminal message he very carefully inserted into the plot line: The scientific laws of history prove that any advanced civilization that lives amongst the stars must be socialist! Indeed, the sky comrades are coming, and together we will bring the Revolution to the stars! And this is the meaning of Comrade Chivers' novella!


Comrade Anonymous

At 3:05 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...


Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:50 PM, Blogger Antony Trepniak said...

Ssssshhhhhhhh Comrade! We mustn't divulge our Entryist masterplan to the running dogs of Capitalism!

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

Clever! Divulge it by not divulging it!

Jeffery Hodges

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