The Null Device

An amusing and illuminating article on Harry Stephen Keeler, the mad genius of crackpot pulp fiction often compared to Ed Wood Jr.:
eeler transcended deus ex machina, deploying regiments of metaphorical robots to keep things moving along all sorts of bizarre tangents. The seemingly rickety labyrinth is held together by a fantastic agglomeration of weird wills, lunatic laws, kooky contracts, idiotic oaths, and some of the most outrageously beautiful multilayered, interlocking coincidences ever devised by the human mind. The mystery is ultimately resolved by an exquisitely unreal solution with all the wacky ingenuity of a flawlessly conceived Rube Goldberg device.
(The standard Keeler protagonist) may be the unwitting victim of a nefarious capitalist plot to foreclose on his mortgage, steal his inheritance, or defraud him of his patent. Through a bizarre chain of coincidences, he finds himself implicated in some crime. His alibi is worthless, for his witnesses are invariably dead, abroad, or otherwise incommunicado. He is deeply in love, but his fiancé can never simply tie the knot. She has pledged to stay single until some rare book is stolen or a one-act vaudeville play is produced... Standard subplots involve weird curios, circus freaks, concealed identities, and mysterious (but not sinister!) Chinese laundries. It's the stuff of pure pulp fiction, but zanily transformed as if it's gone through the looking glass once too often.

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