Comments on “The rat”



Kate's picture

I didn't / couldn't respond to your earlier inquiry about disgust or horror ['access denied' + a sneaking suspicion that perhaps I individually merited being denied access-- but enough about me!]

It strikes me that you've set yourself an interesting technical task as a writer, doing this serialization. The segments are short-- almost like a text to accompany a graphic novel. They are likewise extremely vivid: and thereby risk straying over the fine edge that divides the intense and the risible. There's also the riskiness of writing about the most fundamental human questions-- that the reader deals with his/her own capacity for wonder/horror by snickering at things beyond the individual's capacity to 'take straight'. Gallows humor is a time-honored method of dispatching intimations of mortality, grief, and rage.

In my eyes, you're doing fine-- keep it coming!


Sorry about "access denied"—that's the software bug I'm trying to track down now. Nothing to do with you personally!

Yes, dramatic moments coming out unintentionally funny is a major risk for an amateur. (In some writing circles this is called "Narm"—follow the link for an interesting discussion.)

This is complicated by the fact that I'm intertwining horror and comedy deliberately. That's an attempted technical trick to communicate something about non-duality without spelling it out. I'll write about that in the metablog soon. Of course, some parts are still meant to sad or horrible and yet might only be funny. Or, the technical maneuver might just not work, no matter how well executed.

My idea with the short episodes is that they can be read during a lunch break, or while waiting for a bus or something, so readers might get hooked on a new episode each week. There's a long and distinguished tradition of serial fiction, as I'm sure you know. My main model is Tales of the City, which I imagine you also know (and recommend if not!). That ran as 1000-word episodes in a newspaper. I aim for 1000 words, although some episodes are closer to 2000.

The episodes are also quite different from each other in tone, which will probably make the novel seem disjointed at first. A unity of theme should eventually become obvious, though. This is another technical trick; it's meant to communicate something about the necessarily disjointed nature of the self, which I take to be central to both Buddhism and monster fiction. (I'll have a metablog post about that point in a few weeks.)

There's a host of other technical peculiarities to this thing. For example, it's a romance novel whose protagonist is male, and whose heroine is... beyond atypical. Its emotional dynamics are entirely unlike a romance novel's, although romance is central.

I never seem to do things the easy way. I'd rather fail at something unusual than succeed in a well-defined domain, though!

Anyway, I'm glad you're still enjoying it. Thanks for the feedback, and please do continue to let me know what does and doesn't work!


Anonymous's picture

I thought that that this would be good - but it's not.

Epic cultural achievement

That's truly wonderful! Thank you.

I've discovered that the redoubtable Buffalax has provided helpful subtitles:

Unfortunately, they might not be an entirely accurate translation.

(His epic Benny Lava makes one of the greatest achievements of Indian civilization available to English speakers—a work of vast benefit to all sentient beings.) [Actually true fact: the original song is about medical school.]

I'd like to know what the Golimar lyrics are really about. Vetalas are still considered a realistic problem in village India, so one can guess the gist.

no end in sight

Kate's picture

If I were fluent in tweetering acronyms, I'd unload a dump truckload of them here. Wow! That's funny squared or cubed.


Willie R.'s picture

There is no way to wander into the world of David Chapman by accident. It is a strangely compelling realm. I intend to stick around.