Sunday, 29 May 2011
Sov-Sci-Fi & Fowles' Meta Musing Fun
Heart of a Dog is a blistering attack of the Communist view of man written by Mikhail Bulgakov, author of the majestic The Master and the Margarita. Written originally in 1925 this wasn't published in Russia till the 80's and given it's relentless poking, mocking and chiding of the Soviet ideology I'm really not surprised. Sharikov, a local stray dog, after undergoing experimental surgery implanting some proles pituitary gland & knackers develops into alarmingly human like creature and a stubborn, highly amusing thorn in his Mad Professor's side. It's not long before things get out of control however and the grubby State officials start to take an interest. A brilliant, occasionally poignant book that strikes deep into the mythos of the soul crushing idiocy that is the Communist creed and somehow Bulgakov's spin on Moreau's nutty tinkering adds to it's power. Whoever suggests science fiction is hamstrung & toothless daydreaming should give this a read.
John Fowles' novella Mantissa is whimsical, meta-fiction that spins like a whirly gig from the interaction of handful of characters, or rather, from just one. The protagonist wakes in a hospital bed, seemingly suffering from amnesia, and is almost immediately subjected to a bold form of psycho-sexual therapy, apparently with the full consent of his Mrs. What follows is a dizzying exploration of authorship and the written word, the sexual act and gender politics that folds in Greek mythology, contemporary literary theories, historical references and a bucket load of jokes whilst being oh so meta, referencing itself as a novel and a work in progress. Though it's slight, terribly self indulgent and it's gender mores dated it's stills a highly amusing firework that burns brighty with wit and erudition.