I bought a book!

It happens sometimes. What are we calling physical books now? Book-books as opposed to e-books. I don’t feel a need to call them anything other than books, unless the distinction needs to be made. In this case, it does; I bought a paperbook.

Sometimes people buy them for me — people who know me well, who consider the content as well as the cover design and age. Pulp sci-fi collections are my favourite; recently I was given a 1963 Penguin science fiction compilation edited by Brian Aldiss, the classic orange-and-white cover overlaid with a scribble of something that might be a robot, or a satellite, or a bucket of spatulas. It includes stories by Isaac Asimov, Walter M. Miller, Clifford D. Simak, Aldiss himself, “up-and-coming British author Jim Ballard”…and John Steinbeck.

Fabian’s Note — Technical Difficulties Update: due to the fact that this column was inaccessible for most of the last 168 hours, and a deluge of mail was received at Castle Dust remarking on that fact, Mr. Dust has decided to pull the previous column early and repeat it in this week’s slot. That way, the majority of regular readers who were denied their weekly Dust fix can now enjoy the original column unmolested by spinning bufferers and Latvian Viagra ads. Also, since Mr. Dust was shut out of the mainframe, he was unable to write anything new, so there wasn’t much choice. Also, we’re all drunk.

However: if you were one of the few who read this before, read it again! It has additional bonus material, PLUS a hidden treat! There will be prizes!

 

“In all radical parties, I enjoy a strange, almost mysterious respect.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

This is a curious business, this matter of writing about a book, and at that a book written about a book, or books, or even more curious, the writer of books. This “meta” business is potentially so tedious. I guess we have the French to thank for that. Yet, it is something I am drawn to, a thing I am compelled, for reasons which escape me, to further in my own singular  fashion. So, I layer on, like a hiker going out into a New England winter, layer upon layer: the writer writing about other’s who have written before him. And it is so that I come to a biography of a writer who took the writers and their work before him and tried to make sense of it all. And someone writing about him writing and me writing about that writer and the writer of which he wrote. It does make sense, however; is that not what we all do, try but to make sense of what precedes us? And make sense of that sense? What if in doing so, we are driven, like some wild beast gone crazy, to a center that cannot hold, that makes us mad, that renders us to the world inchoate, such as the subject of this biography, Friedrich Nietzsche. What if then?