26 thoughts on “Black Helicopters – Caitlín R. Kiernan

  1. “Kiernan can write anything.” — Locus

    1. Radio Friendly Unit Shifter

    “, because how do you understand the goals of an organisation so secretive 99.9 percent of its operatives have only the faintest idea of the big picture…”

    Immediately captivated, nay, captured, by this work, as I knew I would be. I get instincts, you see. Gestalt Real-Time Reviewing would be nothing without my instincts. This initially seems to be a cross between a Joycean Dublin scenario and Robert Anton Wilson’s ILLUMINATUS! and oodles of David Mathew. Ptolema meets two other feisty women in some radio linkage or graffiti tag conspiracy of X and Y. That’s all I am going to tell you so far. If I elicit a plot spoiler, worse spoilers will get me, I sense! Or someone else will, another feisty woman, perhaps. Words read as body language, or… “, Ptolema learned to read body language like it was words on a printed page.”

  2. 2. Anybody Could Write a True Story

    “, the voyeur of utter destruction as beauty, marking micro-changes in deterministic nonlinear, nonrandom systems.”

    Marking them with this brief chapter’s earlier mentioned pencil that needs sharpening (as my pencil will need sharpening after marking this book for my real-time review), or not marking them at all but setting them in motion? This chapter is marked Stonington, Maine (Deer Isle) in 2012: the previous chapter being marked Dublin, Ireland a few days later in 2012 …. and since 2012 our world has had certain things set in motion indeed! Here the narrator addresses someone she calls “dearest Bête”, about talking with a woman called Sixty Six in the real-time of this chapter about, no doubt, things germane to this book that I have read so far (not very far, only 30 pages, now with my marginalia.) I keep my powder dry. Or at least keep my pencil lead sharp! (Truth is in the perception of a story not in the story itself, I say.)

  3. 3. A Wolf at the Door / It Girl. Rag Doll.

    “Different rhythms soothe different people,…”

    We are on the Argyle Shoestring in 2112. Near the salt marshes and ruins of Old Boston. “You have to read between the under-code,” to follow what is happening with Johnson and Ahmed on board (or not) – in teeming or datastreaming dystopia? Butterflies, chess, and a woman one of them calls a genius. I feel like its “scribble in the margin of paranoia,…”
    I also think, perhaps erroneously, of the black helicopter crowd.

  4. 4. Black Ships Seen Last Year
    South of Heaven

    Incestuous relationship of twin sisters since they were 13. Ptolema feels sick. This is Dublin again, the next day, proving this is not ULYSSES. Though there is a line from TS Eliot. This chapter a backstory and a future’s retro-infodump all wrapped into one. “Fuck me in the ear if I know what that was all about.”

  5. 5. How Ghosts Affect Relationships

    “She knows that the woman is threat and shelter, peril and deliverance. A future catalyst.”

    Not a blank chapter (the first world example of which as a discrete story I published in Nemonymous 2002), but a white one with modern art’s pickings out of the black pieces in a chess game (the squares all white), and odd features of the characters themselves. Ghosts are always all white? Just beyond the cusp of the last Millennium as this chapter’s time date. Made me wonder whether, if white is all colours, meaninglessness is all meanings.
    I have faith in this book as it is written by whom it is written. Another future catalyst?

  6. 6. Late Saturday Night Motel Signal

    “, that’s not for any brigand flensing the sky who just happens across them in hisherit’s driftnet by-catch.”

    “, hauled from out the sea, and she says hauled from out the sea off the coast…”

    2035 – off the coast near Deer Island perhaps, as I see my dreamcatching, hawling self peeking in to review things, and the narrative seems like a cross between Finnegans Wake (see my earlier review of FW here) and Under Milk Wood (the opposite of over black helicopters or chess?)….

  7. 7. The Way Out Is Through

    “She never says so, but she makes the face she makes whenever she disapproves of something I’ve said.”

    I know that paranoiac feeling, as reviewer!
    Anyway, more strong writing, more Faulkner, now, than Finnegans. 2012 again, Deer Island, Narrator and Sixty Six. “The howling,…” “…to haul away dozens of books.” Again, I know the feeling at the moment.
    Seems apt where Shoggoths roam (amid memories of scientific discoveries of these women) to mention “the Semen Sea”. Especially when the date August 20th mentioned in this chapter! ‘“Demons” with scare quotes.’

    “Yes, I do sound like a madwoman, and I don’t expect any of this will ever be made public.”

  8. 8. Golgotha Tenement Blue / Counting Zeroes

    “Our whole solar system is a living organism.”

    Nobody could say it simpler. Meanwhile, the chapter headings all sound to me like LP titles by Bob Dylan from the 1960s, and this chapter is indeed dated 1966, the year when I started University and embarked upon the road toward reading this book. Being ABLE to read this book by temperament and intellect! This chapter prepares the ground for creating characters in other chapters as parastatals of the book – by transgressing fate as well as time and by creating these characters’ mother or grandmother. I once had a jokey family catchphrase: ‘I blame the mother’. E61B18DF-F1B7-4696-ACA4-C3F727D4B66B
    “Gentlemen, we have arrived at the oneness of allness.” The mother is now truly grand. Another lesson for me along the more recent reaches of the path towards this book.

    “She names asteroids that have not yet been discovered.”

    Tracks of an LP in the sand alongside, being a photo I took yesterday.

    My short short entitled ‘I Blame the Mother’ published in Dark Fantasy Newsletter 1998: http://weirdmonger.blogspot.com/2006/03/i-blame-mother.html

  9. 9. Bury Magnets. Swallow the Rapture.

    “No one on the Nautilus-IV, no one back on Earth, no one in the scattered, hardscrabble colonies below, none of them know why she is here.”

    Nor do I, ‘the White Woman’, in 2152. Is the default time 2012 for all of us now? You need to brush up on your French to read much of this chapter.
    I see, in this work, lots of literary and other artistic connections to NOW. Now as the moment, the particle of time as you read each word and string them together hopefully into future sense. But where is the tipping-point? Not reached it yet. The triangulation to a hardcore of its magnetic lodes. Where my helipad?

  10. 10. A Plague of Snakes, Turned to Stone

    “It is difficult to believe this can continue much longer.”

    But I look at today’s date in my own real time. Will it “always now be late summer, earliest autumn,…” 2012, Dear Isle, is that still you? Just noted that Sixty-Six has the same name as the year in the Golgotha chapter! Time dilation, and a sea that is my view of what the epitome of “ichor” would be. And an ammonite that carries the patterns of this book. Unless that page has now been destroyed by its leasehold narrator? Or, even, by its freehold author? Better quote it before it vanishes, as some sentences earlier in this book have already vanished: “It begins here, and it goes round and round and round, and it’s always growing larger from the center.” The only way to help the centre hold, is to gestalt real-time review it, I guess. Make it seem like a theme and variations on Four Quartets.

  11. 11. Throwing a Donner Party at Sea

    “Yes, I am. Yes, I most surely am. But so are we all.”

    Read that quote in context and you will know where I am coming from! Or when. It is 2114, on the Argyle Shoestring again. With Johnson and Ahmed. One of them now hawled off in cuffs, the other finding in hindsight the ‘mad scientist’- type ray tube, that might explain much of what is going on? And a missing book. Not just one page missing of the book, but the book as a gestalt.

    “…dangling from the catwalk, suspended above the abyss with a wrench and a spanner.”

    “, navigated the jibboom and bowsprit, then climbed down to red tier, through the spyglass,…”

  12. 12. If I Should Fall from Grace with God

    “Men with hand trucks trundle by, hauling wooden produce crates stacked six or seven high.”

    Nora Swann (a descendant from Swann’s Way?) with special psi qualities in an Irish safehouse being debriefed by a woman from Albany, following events in Dublin a few days earlier in 2012. I am beginning to wonder what I have done to find myself deserving to read this book in the real-time of 2018. By the Grace of God, indeed, may go you. Brexit considerations regarding the Irish Border, notwithstanding!

  13. 13. Late Saturday Night Motel Signal

    “Oh, sure, the net will scream, but I do this best of all, they know that, best of anyone, and the swells won’t dare kick me.”

    Well, this swell just might. Literature is a sort of religion. You either believe in its references and shuffling futures, because you believe in its freehold author as deity behind the book, or you deem it pretentious skirmishes with good and bad, with luck and destiny, because you have never heard of the author or deem he or she a pretentious Illuminatus or even fraudulent in the concocted religion of their aspiring to literature at all. I still keep my powder dry. Remember I have real-time reviewed Finnegans Wake in detail. A review even beyond the nuke that hit St Petersburg. This chapter is back or forward to 2035.

  14. 631EE855-92EF-4B2A-9D84-76230410F01D

    “A slow sort of country. Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place.”

    Zeno’s Paradox or Lewis Carroll? Probably both. I issued this tweet BEFORE I read this chapter:

    We are now on the cusp of a continuous sea border between the Irish mainland and Europe, that Brexit of broken promises to avoid a hard land border. But this is back in 2012 at a Dublin port of origami cranes. With many literary references to this book’s anti-references of characters, times and events.

    “She is treading ground never trod before.”

    “…but I’ve heard nonsense, compared with which that would be as sensible as a dictionary.”

    “I think perhaps you’ve got the story mixed up again, love.”

    “Don’t you think I know you’re flying blind, pretty much making it up as you go along,…”

    Pretty much.

  15. 15. The Spider’s Stratagem

    “Ptolema, my dear, no one is ever fucking certain of anything. In all the wide world, there is not a scintilla of certainty.”

    Indeed, it seems synchronous that I should read this chapter immediately after yesterday’s revelation regarding the Salisbury Novichok assassination attempt by real-time moving mugshots of two seeming obvious thugs masquerading as a State’s operatives, or vice versa, for nefarious or subtle plots of bluff and multiple bluff in the scheme of things. Meanwhile, this is London in the default year of 2012, with cigarettes and an eternal chess-player.

  16. 16. Now [here] Man Saves / Damns the World

    “The stark black hands of the round white clock hanging on his office wall, right next to a portrait of the president, say it’s twenty-five minutes until midnight.”

    Give or take a few minutes in our own real-time? This again being 2012, Albany, the equivalent Dickens’ Signalman surveying the outcome to Deer Island… and the Ant Farm of people in black suits in the sub-basement of Erastus Corning Tower who would seem likely otherwise to populate real life black helicopters as well as such helicopters’ eponymous vehicle of words…

  17. 17. Thunder Perfect Mind / Judas as a Moth

    …or Mother? “I don’t know what I mean, Mother.”
    A particle or a wave? Apparently both!
    The Waxen Men dragging her howling into Room 66 and “ragged claws” seem to be a trial gestalt for this book’s disparate times (this one “undated”) via, inter alios, a TS Eliot feel. “Europe is mad. The world is mad.” It all started with Brexit, imo. Retrocausally as well linearly.

  18. 18. Soft Black Stars

    “No one wanted to believe it would ever go this far,…”

    Ligotti or Lovecraft, notwithstanding, I know the feeling! This chapter is the book’s default of 2012 near Maine, but it is today’s tipping-point that it describes in a Joycean fashioning from our beloved Horror tropes. “…and helicopters circling the scene, this is the end, my beautiful friend, this is the end,…” “You can’t kill fuckin’ Cthulhu with a shotgun.” I say, myself, that Azathoth itself is about to transit from the Earth’s core where it has been bubbling since 2011, waiting for this tipping-point.

  19. 19. Where I End and You Begin (The Sky is Falling In) 2012
    APPENDIX 9. [le remix Anglaise] Bury Magnets. Swallow the Rapture. 2152

    “Twin. It’s not a noun…”
    This gestalt real-time review is indeed my attempt at [the English Remix]. I sensed many literary and political references and links and projections back and forth. Meanwhile, though, I end by sensing overall an inspiration or influence on this book — beyond any of these imputed references — from a literary work by a third party, one that has not yet been written in linear time. So I still keep my powder dry.

    Not the end.

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