The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'outré'
A Graun piece on Colin Wilson, the reclusive misfit who wrote the Great British Existentialist Novel and then squandered his newly acquired status putting out over 100 books on outré subjects such as serial killers, UFOs, cults and Atlantis, as well as the odd Lovecraftean horror story, who has just published his 110th book, his second autobiography:
His philosophy is basically existentialism with non-rational excrescences and characterised by bizarre nomenclature - Faculty X, Upside Downness, Peak Experiences, Right Men, The Dominant Five Per Cent, King Rats. It seems to constitute an attempt to classify human feelings and behaviour as written by a Martian who has never met an Earthling. This is, of course, Wilson's weakness and also, in a way, his charm - he has no understanding of other people whatever. When I ask if he would say he is low in emotional intelligence, he readily agrees: 'That is fair, yes.'
He is exceptionally tolerant of nutters and happy to engage in long correspondence with people who have theories about, say, alien abduction - or with Ian Brady, the Moors murderer, with whom he corresponded for 10 years till Brady dumped him. But ordinary social contact - apart from with his family - seems completely missing from his life. Missing, but not missed. He says that about 10 years ago Joy insisted on going out for a drink on New Year's Eve. 'We finished off drinking champagne at midnight in our local pub and it took me a year to shake off all the people that I'd met!'
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.