Sunday, 23 May 2010

Lovin' Geek Love

Bit of a slack week this week: no research whatsoever. My excuse is that this was just one of those weeks where stuff happens that takes you away from your usual routine and I just didn't get the time. Plus I was just really into reading Katherine Dunn's Geek Love, which I found out about through The Essential Posthuman Science Fiction Reading List

First published back in 1989 (after publishing some extracts in 1983 & '88), this is one helluva book. It makes absolutely no mention of neuroscience but it is chock full of weirdness and deliberately deformed bodies. It's adult fiction, but I reckon most teens would love it. Grotesque carnival; deformities; mutilations; sibling rivalry; bizarre and unecessary surgery; sex: what's not to love?

I'm only three-quarters of the way through but, despite a couple of confusing point-of-view changes, it just keeps reeling me right in. Will it make the final cut of my thesis? It's way too early to tell but it has given me plenty to think about in terms of loosening the logic of what I write. Dunn is a no-holds barred writer (in this book at least; I've yet to read her other work) and she just lets the ideas fling themselves around like cow dung from a slingshot; nothing is too bizarre or out there. Writing for an adult audience, she has a lot more freedom than I will have as I'm aiming my fiction at a teen audience (albeit older teens/crossover). But what I can learn from her is to push the boundaries of grotesque, of ugliness, of horror and let loose. 

For any writer out there who's feeling blocked, my prescription is to take a full dose of Geek Love, let its craziness sink into your brain and gurgle and squirm through your cells, then hit the keyboard and let fly.