16 thoughts on “BleakWarrior – Alistair Rennie


    1. BleakWarrior Meets the Sons of Brawl

    “We are the physical expression of natural states that serve no purpose beyond their immediate function.”
    This text, too.
    My mind goes into overdrive at what appears to be a Cartesian Swords and Sorcery adventure in its own version of wild overdrive.
    Synchronised-shards-of-random-truth-and-fiction made flesh – flesh in combat with itself then separated out into various acts of strobing: alternating between anarchic and linear motive-forces.
    To read this book at all seems to involve a leap of philosophical faith. But once started, I suspect you can’t leap back out of it, even if most of you wants to do so. Part of it is cast in neat, unjoined-up, slightly squashed handwriting from one who is thus (perhaps obliviously?) trapped by the surrounding ranks of visceral text.

  2. 2. The Gutter Sees The Light That Never Shines

    “The Covenant of Ichor were an underground sect of religious fanatics who adhered to the belief that it was the role of women to moderate the predominance of their masculine counterparts with whatever ruthless or violent measures were necessary.”

    We enter a mind-wiping area of various characters like the Gutter and Whorefrost, and I can’t cover them all here. They are riven and riving. They get absorbed then come out your flesh like virulent sebaceous cysts. I sense this is a book where the politically correct and impolitically correct are in a war of social justice with the politically incorrect and impolitically incorrect, a war with no holds barred, with all other permutations built in. This is the swords and sorcery of social media made into high and low fantasy, where you can’t even keep up with the grotesquely absurd obscenities, lusts and viciousnesses of the company you are keeping. A language that wields its own blades of graphology and phonetics and semantics and syntax. You just need to sit back and let it change the world you first entered a generation ago. You are helpless having enrolled in it with your password and avatar. Fighting fire with fire.
    I shall summon up the sinews to meet the Sons of Brawl again…

  3. 3. BleakWarrior has Sex at a price he Didn’t Bargain For
    4. The soliloquy of Lord Brawl

    Lord Brawl in rampant soliloquy, with the simple need to inflict suffering, a parallel for our meta-cybernetic times? He has sent in his numbered clueless bastard sons upon the in-flagrante BleakWarrior, with LB thus imposing a would-be sort of slaughter for its own sake, a flashmob that roams in his name, but now LB gathers more elementary forces to wreak vengeance for those sons who have become spear-carriers, with the emission of the most eviscerating, philosophically-tortured soliloquy you will ever hear ranted, or at least read by you as text here but with his rant embedded irresistibly inside your head. Shakespeare could not have done it better. Seriously.

    “My intemperance pays homage to my pain and my pain pays homage to my passion for pain.”

    • Meta – cybernetically, I suggest Bleak Warrior cast as BleakWarrior is no accident in the victimless horror of that meta-world, only victims in the horror of our real world. Each click a ‘random leap’?
      Meanwhile, the initials LB above *are*, I suggest, accidental.

  4. 5. Conversations with a Physician
    6. BleakWarrior Takes the Toll

    “…it’s possible to create a cure out of something that ordinarily does you damage.”
    (Cf ‘The Cure’ by John Travis and some other stories in ‘Horror Without Victms’?)

    • (Finish of 6.)
      “I require of you the controlled release of your madness…”

      I must not give the impression this is a linear book in two separate tracks of the linear and the meta, nor do these tracks even mingle or blend! It is a book of madness beyond even brainstorming, into a realm that the accepted benefits of brainstorming are taken to a new ground-breaking level, that is not even a level but a fiction realm that others have only dreamed of existing before, more in wild hope than blind faith. Now Rennie seems to be nailing it by not nailing it. I cannot cover all the exciting byways, e.g. in this section, the glands, building a Frankenstein monster of a sister, BleakWarrior’s nature as a fount of such ‘madness’, for want of a better word, and other places like the City of Honours, Skitten Heights and more. Other characters. Other motive forces in this ‘madness’ – madness as cure? I keep my powder dry. All I know so far is that this is an important book, one that seems simply primed somehow for Dreamcatching. Real-time reviewing in public is arguably the only way to read it, to triangulate its coordinates, to wallow in its obscenities of madness, to find its spine of truth, a spine that may not exist at all, and one needs these random leaps of faith to continue absorbing the variegated text, with images of swords as section-breakers. With veiled or palimpsested lenses on the reading eyes.


    7. BleakWarrior Leaves the Isle of Norn
    8. The Circle is Out for the Counterpain

    “She bled through the language of her body…”

    And it is no accident in this book’s research of purposes in battle with the literature’s forces of intentional fallacy that its text’s section-breakers now become quills and ink blots instead of swords, and there is also the arrival of The Scrawler and “her ragged pack of juvenile linear misfits, The Scribes.”
    And that everyone’s handwriting is in the same mould? I smell a rat.
    A whole load of new evocatively named characters that I won’t list here for fear of just naming them will turn them into spoilers of later anti-climax when you read this book (as you must), but I will mention a Mad Scientist scene that makes me think of this author wielding his own quills of creation when casting the stunning alchemy of this whole book into the crucible or laboratory of his head. Assuming that is not defiling my own intentional purity of thought as to the creative process of literature that means more than it means. Subverting means and ends, this book is hopefully a Zeno’s Paradox, an Ohm Resistor during a race of words towards a victim blamed, a culprit blessed, a cure halted, a killing completed.

    “It is the perpetual mobilisation of a phobic distress that will not resign itself to its closure until after the event, whereupon the experience is a germ in a compost of absolute horror.”

  6. 9. A Week in Pursuit of BleakWarrior
    10. A Week in Pursuit of the Essence of Genius
    11. The Brain Exchange

    “It is a dangerous game you play — to second guess the revelations of a trickster — a teller of tales — who is liable to change the orientations of their plots with the randomness –”

    I dare anyone to gather into their head all those orientations in one fell swoop after a single reading of this book. I am not big enough reader to be able to do that. All my real-time reviews are based on my first reading and this first reading does its best not only to compete with me, to fight against me, but also to compete with itself within the book, with different typesets, to pitch one novel on one side of its character against another novel on another side, each hoping to battle towards victory. It’s you or them. You might not survive. I once had a novel fighting another novel in a book nobody has ever read, despite one or two reviews of it by nobody at all.
    Here, just to pick out a few things, the Welter of Impermanence as female character urgent for masturbation with, inter alia, a cheese grater, part of the onward sweep of bad-doing, and the Reader of Clouds, a level of scrying like As Above So Below or what I have often called empirical astrology as harmonics of fiction, not cause and effect but a synchronicity more powerful than cause and effect.
    This book deserves the name of one of its characters: Mega-Negation.
    Meta or Mega as prefixes of mirroring what we have become: Neta-People (my expression, not this book’s).

    To what extent can a Meta-Warrior comprehend the futility of its actions? To what extent can it bear the emotional repercussions of what it is, without knowing what it seeks and why?

  7. 12. The First Day of Retributions

    “Madness is my religion.”

    A sort of Socratic Dialogue between BleakWarrior and the Ever Decreasing Circle of Choice, as if metaphysics is this debated religion become indeed a form of madness. I started this debate in 2006 about fiction as religion that now seems more a madness than a truth.
    The conundrum of mind and body, cause and effect, we indeed go round in circles, spinning. A related Idea of mine regarding Horror and spinning*.
    The Warped Lenses et al.
    Nowhere before has fiction tackled such rarefied areas. This stuff is so genuinely ground-breaking that it breaks its own ground in the process to open up avenues for us to travel that no reader of fiction has ever travelled before, I claim. The Mentors and “the taproot of your memories” –

    “It is possible, for example that nature possesses an awareness of itself without self-knowledge. And, to this extent, I believe that the Meta-Warriors are an expression of nature’s self-knowledge in its full variety of forms.”

    “It is much more complex than simple suspension of belief (or even disbelief). Horror fiction, at its best, enters our individual territories and becomes part and parcel of a revolving realm with Death at its core: and, in this realm, all the flotsam and jetsam of life (the richest life being generated by the imagination as well as by the day-to-day interaction of our minds and bodies) spin round, some colliding only to ricochet off, others sticking together, some being swallowed whole or bit by bit. Eventually, the various items are sucked into the core where they are minced up or refined into streams of sense (or apparent sense or, even, nonsense) which are then released from that realm into other revolving realms which create new collisions, fusions and spin-offs. This is using Death as a positive tool, as it surely is. Without Death, we’d be nothing.”
    Above quoted from my blog here in 2006: http://weirdmonger.blogspot.co.uk/2006/04/free-fiction.html

  8. 13. Abysmal Silence is Not Golden
    14. How Weakness Was My Source of Strength
    15. BleakWarrior Makes a Leap of Bad Faith That Feels Good

    “But words must fail. Words are nothing. Words must come without the gift of meaning,…”

    … as this book itself presents this ‘perfect paradox that makes perfect sense.’
    And surely only the denizens of what I have long since called CERN Zoo’s Power of Retrocausality now give BleakWarrior the perfect paradox of a Random Leap in Reverse! And much more. And his quest for the Talking Well where he prefers to face death rather than to flee. (That Talking Well we all know so well?)

    There is no way I can do justice to this book. Only injustice.


    16. The Brotherly Devotions of Burning Hot Coals
    17. The Node To Nowhere
    18. Goring a Whore for Liver Dye
    19. Love on the Heels of Certain Death

    “The physical and mental consequences of an artificially-induced Random Leap were such that BleakWarrior emerged from the node in a state of temporary devastation. He felt as if his body had been turned inside out and flayed from the soul upwards. He was disorientated in the extreme*, with his head spinning as if propped on the end of a stick and twirled in undulating circles at high speed.”

    *The injustice of my spinning review now holds full sway.
    But there’s something amorphously and entrancingly Henry Fielding, Lawrence Sterne or Tobias Smollett about this picaresquely internecine novel, this internetine fantastica where some architecture is transgressive against other architecture, a liver extractor roams and sheep graze among the more brutal or concupiscent aspects.
    Lord Brawl’s Bastard Sons continuing their seemingly inchoate goals. And whole new swathes of mind-wiping characterisation and genius loci, and the section-breakers are now Double-Bladed Battleaxes – a symbol of this book’s double-edged orientations of thrust…
    As I try to extract this book’s gestalt…
    “He whistled a silent tune through his lips as he prised her liver from its stubborn knots of ligature, easing it out with attentiveness as if trying to avoid a small explosion.”
    CF The knots that are ligotti.

  10. 20. BleakWarrior Switches to Automanic
    21. The Sisters of No Mercy Get None
    22. A Death Match Made in Heaven

    “The best abductions are those in which the victim is unaware of their victimhood.”

    …or the victim is not a victim at all as with Horror Without Victims who is an incognito character in this book, I suggest, just like, for example, the cognito Burning Hot Coals… That seems to be the hidden key of understanding this book. “To suffer the need to suffer.” Chaotic impulses within the self like a form of music.
    Meanwhile, there is what I predict will become literature’s single great touching relationship between two people, built up in these last sections, a relationship between BleakWarrior and an over-anxious girl called Automanic. Her renditions of self are utterly poignant and fully in the spirit of this book’s perfect paradox. Beyond even Zeno’s.
    Their meeting of minds also gives a new meaning to REAL ale.
    The ambiance of the Aquarium also needs to be read to believed. But I have hardly scratched the surface of this book with my quill of injustice.
    Its precious hairshirt, too, makes one want to jump into the Talking Well itself and to absorb the nature of Hatred “for what it was — a superficial accumulation of dire emotions that, in themselves, were meaningless and, ultimately, without foundation.” In this day and age and the recent events in the UK at least, take that thought with you because that thought alone (as well as much else) will make this book worth reading.
    Forgive my spoilers, but I claim that this book cannot be spoilt beyond how it has spoilt itself. A book seriously with a language style to knock your head off and some unique thoughts that will surely astound you.
    Forgive, too, my Random Leaps. This book made me.

    “Liver Dye was still bound up in the knot-work that, in some places, had been untied or cut or twisted out of shape.”


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