42 thoughts on “XX by Rian Hughes

  1. After some thoughts on a committee’s instructions on how to verify and then impart info to the public about – evidence of extraterrestrial life …
    …we reach a poem that seems to address the gestalt real-time reviewer, like me, who has always sought triangulation, with other readers, of the coordinates of a fiction work, including this stanza that embodies, after 72 years, my philosophy of life …

    “Should one take ideas on faith?
    Or turn them on their head?
    Look at them from all angles?
    Think the opposite instead?”

  2. BOOK I: ANALYSIS

    INTELLIGENCIA: MEMETIC ENGINEERING

    BUSINESS PLAN

    “Other eyes, other minds, other languages . . .”

    A folie à trois, a triangulating of Nixon, Jack & Harriet, setting up business in a period piece SF before Covid, I guess, as they are setting it up without social distance in an office overlooking Liverpool Street. Know the place well. Like them, I need to drill down into symbols, what IS their business? Introducing perhaps alien life or AI life to us, to me, to hopefully un-solipsistic YOU. So not a folie at all? Just me harvesting possible permutations, and me trying to make this book have an INSTINCT unto itself that it didn’t have before, or some similar ‘pattern recognition’, building a gestalt gradually, judging by the size of this book as a black box in disguise, one that keeps most of its cards (or ‘idea fires’) close to its chest so far. My naïve insight perhaps, or is it the ‘hunch’ described by itself to itself as “a pareidoliac confluence of certainty.” I have, I think, long been a pareidoliast to the extent of it becoming a mental disability.

  3. Email exchange …

    “Maps of maps of maps of territories.”

    This stuff is gesta(l)ting as sweetly as a nut!
    Backstory to backstory between individual characters, with business and science containing the same synchronised shards of random truth and fiction!
    This now seems to be a novel novel as tour de force feeding off real-time book reviewing! As if I somehow started these coded processes in 2008 as a retrocausality of my future reading of this book!

    As a momentary aside:
    XX is one plus 19?
    COVID itself already a mixed up Roman numeral of sorts where O is zero?

  4. THE CARTOGRAPHY OF LUST

    “…a tendency to see meaning where there was none, to imbue the everyday with a sense of the numinous.”

    …. and/or the nemonymous?
    I wrestle with such matters everyday.

    Meanwhile, I am utterly inspired by this section’s serial skeuomorphs of an old-fashioned camera click as the sporadic ignition for Jack’s episodic Proustian cartography by walking through the streets of East London near the City of London… via a club, towards his painterly girl friend’s flat?
    I used regularly to wander these same streets in the early 1970s, at a whim, when skiving off from my financial office/sales job based in Queen Victoria Street. Spending, likewise, my time in the byways of the mind whereby events threw shadows before them. And the Proustian theme is continued at the end of this section by subtle reference to the nemonymity of customised Proustian ‘selves’ with Jack seeing Jack in a mirror.
    I hopefully will not continue to itemise this book so closely, for fear of future spoilers…

  5. 00BB937B-47C2-4C07-A424-6BA703560C73MESSAGES FROM IDEASPACE

    “Earth’s slowly downspinning crystalline inner core”

    An infection we call life, I think it says somewhere, and also, inferentially, that my Nemonymous Night and its Earth’s Coronus as SunNemo and its ‘Covered (Covid?) Market Core’, has been hacked from nearly ten years ago, as I have now hacked, in retribution, this book to garner its “signal”! A signal as a shared memory of a Proustian self reflected back at me? I had no idea this section of XX would contain the word “coordinates” when I used it above a few days ago. Brick Lane as the obvious place to think of the weight of the world “cradled” beneath one’s feet, I guess. And another email exchange, one this time of which I shall not divulge its contents. Nor the two perhaps crucial words as descried from the random-generated photographs that Jack click-shuttled as part of his skeuomorphic ‘petite madeleine cake dunked in tea.’ I perhaps should not have read so much Rhys Hughes fictionatronics! Literature is music just as much as the slightly mis-recurring signals of Philip Glass minimalism are?

  6. APOPHENIA

    I have quite often mentioned the word ‘Apophenia’ in my gestalt real-time reviewing of fiction books over the years, e.g. this one dealing with Jeff VanderMeer’s DEAD ASTRONAUTS:
    https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2019/12/05/dead-astronauts-jeff-vandermeer/#comment-17531
    Meanwhile, I suffer strongly from apophenia and various forms of confirmation-bias, as I have frequently confessed, to the extent of idiocy or genius — or both of these … or neither.
    Today this passage from this APOPHENIA section I read from Rian Hughes:

    46E605E3-233B-40E2-8DCE-806B26DAF77E

    created apophenia in me with two stories by Corigliano and Heuler that I read, by chance, earlier today, respectively here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2020/10/04/nightscript-6/#comment-20071 and here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2020/09/16/strange-tales-tartarus-press-at-30/#comment-20069

    Self as medium, but medium what? Medium FOR what?

    “— two Xs for eyes.”

  7. HUMAN RESOURCES

    I really think I know Harriet now, with this her backstory, as well as with the “process of osmosis.” And the accretive ‘Danielewski HOUSE of Leaves’-like Daedalus Footage Wikipedia. The DNA code concept of alien signals as messages within messages, too. I often tap into the human resources of osmosis in my reviews, by the way. This mighty book feeds me good and proper with durable doses of it. 🙂

  8. UNDERGROUND ARTIST

    “Given his proclivity to see patterns and connections….”

    …into one’s current Proustian self as well as into the nature of Nature itself… flirting with art-for-art’s-sake mandala overlapping as freed patterns from iPad to iPad, creating chat up lines as physical social media, in a gallery beneath the Brutalist streets: art that can be coded and recoded and code-looped! This book is literature’s ground-breaking version of all this? The Discovery Channel of a ‘virus’ is mentioned. Fractals, too.
    Now, a PULSAR: another Wikipedia entry, this time redacted by the exegesis of a media blocking from an old-fashioned slide or Jack’s business calling card. Patterns and connections thwarted? This book simply knew I would be reviewing it, I guess!

    I am actually writing this on my own iPad. The only code I know is html. My email is hotmail, and has been the same address (dflewis48@hotmail.com) since April 1999.
    48 is my year of birth.

  9. 56266BEC-36A8-4CC1-B825-E96691AF2AA3THE CAVERNS OF THE MOON

    “There were just too many unknowns.”

    Those of you reading this massive ‘period piece SF’ alongside me will already suspect why, at this stage, I mention ricochets, intentional or non-intentional literary fallacies notwithstanding, creating a path like an even more massive bullet and burying itself, with intention or not, in our one-sided companion within space. Did you know this had happened in a past disguised as our future? That there is a lady, AND or DNA otherwise, on all our dark sides of a bespoke gestalt psychological moon?

  10. GRAMMAR AND COMPOSITION

    “Through multiple sets of mental parentheses, he drilled down into nested meanings within meanings, taking quick detours to cross-reference.”

    I feel utterly in tune, not only with this whole book so far, but also with Jack himself, although he is younger and cleverer than me, and more handsome than I ever was! And he writes well, too, if he is equally in tune with the author who created him.

  11. Only recently, it dawned on one that ‘descent’ is what covid does to smell?

    DESCENT

    “Her route through this maze had been carefully planned.”

    Are readers of an already published book its once determined future ghosts?
    Dana’s descent into the bowels of the darkside, but at least someone must have planned it as Danielewski must have planned the journeys in his HOUSE of Leaves? That paradox somehow enhances rather than detracts from this imaginative journey into the already crystallised prose of such lunar spelunking. Whether or not you believe in ghosts triggering unpredictable, yet otherwise determined destinies. Ghosts in the Machine of Fiction.

  12. DINNER IN THE RUINS

    “Every side of every building was a featureless dark plane of sheared geology.”

    Each page in this iPad Kindle ebook, too, shearing off edges of text depending whether you flip between portrait or landscape. I assume this challenge to reading was intentional, but I have no idea how this effect works in the paperbook version of it. Nor can you use this ebook to copy and paste textracts from it for reviewing purposes. No search and find facility, either, in this ebook.
    Dana’s journey inside darkside, meanwhile, is itself a sort of foolhardy shearing across from New York to Hell and back again …. I think.
    Dana is her own data for dinner. Her own ruinenlust.

  13. OK TO PRINT

    I think this book represents the first 3D Printer from fiction print, as powered by that very fiction!
    Where the past is its own future Count Frankenstein, not of a monster, not even of Mr XX, but of Heller’s Catch XX.
    I, too, believe,meanwhile, that Blavatsky’s Theosophy today works periodically pareidoliacally. Especially now in co-vivid times, after this evidently prophetic book was written.

  14. POINT OF CONTACT

    “Dana shifted her position, took two steps to the left in order to allow the rangefinder to triangulate. Weird.

    …as I do with this giantesque and barely visualisable ebook, where bits are missed out by slants of technology aberrantly or gratuitously. My often described powers of triangulation and pareidoliac inferral regarding fiction-as-truth have been self-trained for some while now, but even those powers find it impossible to cope with this work of Rien.
    Different versions of Void that Dana faces on her lunar spelunking.
    “1100110011…”
    Words as images, at least in the big-headed head. Planet or satellite.

  15. 805B4F93-0CEC-4C31-9298-C2705CDAE2EASEMIOTIC WEIGHT

    “, the future happened yesterday.”

    …vis à vis technology from clunky authenticity to streaming. Pornography dissemination the power sources for such glib futures? Bonds that collapse. Yet, this chapter has come timely for me, having in last few days tried to rescue some of my music works and reading aloud recordings from the 1980s. But putting them on-line as a Dropbox link does not now seem likely to last!
    This ebook itself is a similarly slippery customer as its own paradoxical proof for Jack’s obsessions with retrofitting. And this Rien work may turn out to be the great Counterintuitive work of the 21st century!

  16. THE MAUSOLEUM OF THE GODS

    “a distracting jpeg jitter”

    Dana’s discovery on our moon is probably this book’s tour de force, and you will need more than just me to convey it to yourself. This is a book you need to work with, a synergy, a multi-reader triangulation, a power-pareidolia, a gestalt of guess-gulfs. I am simply drawing your attention to it, that it is THERE. The Celestial Mechanic: Citizen Void, meanwhile, evokes music, including my own love for classical music including Xenakis, Antheil, Penderecki &c., by means of other guess-gulfs that some may call wild inference!

  17. THE GREY MAN

    It is as if Jack’s schooldays memory of the Grey Man has been created here to crystallise or safeguard my ‘objective-correlative’ of gestalt. A counterintuitive means to bolster confidence in my own propensity for connections and synchronicities. Jack’s word-image of the Grey Man in itself is haunting, too, as is, also, the more brash image of the Grey Man, now given horns, tears and a gas mask, visually shown to us as artwork by his girl friend Nadine. A coincidence, as she does not strictly know about Jack’s Grey Man. Or is it a Pharaoh’s goat?

  18. THE SUBLIME PLEASURES OF THE COLLECTOR

    “Of particular interest today were more games for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum.”

    Believe it or not, I thought about this and the Sinclair ZX81 when reading about Sinclair Road, West L ndon, in the Royle story ‘Standard Gauge’ here this morning and I very nearly mentioned the old Sinclair computers at that time. I now wish I had done so! (I remember twirling a pencil in cassettes to rewind them with my young son at the time….)
    Also Jack finds on the market stall a contraption that first reminded me of the sewing contraption I showed above, then of the huge calculator machines with a handle to turn that I used in a 1970 office job just off Pall Mall. But I now see it is far more Enigmatic!….

  19. THE MAN IN THE MOON

    I could quote all manner of quotes here of this SF tour de force as we enter the identity of Dana and what visions or realities she experiences. But not SF as such, more a fiction truth mingling the still accreting gestalt I have found in the historic Big Books of the Weird, Science Fiction and Classic/Modern Fantasy as edited in the last decade by the VanderMeers but also so-called literary work like that of Nicholas Royle and Andrew Hook that I happen to be reading and reviewing concurrently with XX. Factored into by what I have already said above about XX itself and, dare I say, by the processes of gestalt real-time reviewing themselves and the books already fortuitously chosen for such processes since they started during the credit crunch in 2008. Perhaps factored into by an as yet unknown alien’s own fiction truth!

  20. COMPUTER LOVE

    “But the Book had become a web that spanned the land, and the web had become as the mind of Man, complex and connected, and unlike the written word, fluid and capable of knowing itself.”

    This is not only The Blind Adept’s ‘esoteric’ description of www but also, in hindsight, gestalt real-time reviewing! I wish had written that myself! Please Google “fiction as religion” (retaining the quote marks as your search entry) for my past perambulations on the Word as Logos. Within fiction truth. Only a few days ago I was broaching this conceit for chapters 3 and 14/15 here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2020/10/09/powers-and-presences-john-howard-mark-valentine/
    Jack’s thoughts about machines (eg Typex) like those above having AI thoughts themselves are fascinating, too. I note he pencil-circled the word “oxbow”. Just keeping my powder dry about this.

  21. EF0D3B12-A70C-46A4-A58A-E20063EA57EA

    OXBOW

    “If you’re equally everywhere, there isn’t any not-you.”

    OXB-ow, OXXbow, memetic trap, memetic BOX? Reading this incredible Proustian and Cartesian stuff, I feel I am counterintuitively doing the right thing in reading the ebook version of this physical book that takes up otherwise huge box-like space! An Oxbow as means to channel the Signal. Animals, extraterrestrial aliens, spirits, we humans, inanimate objects, all or some of these? Well, perhaps this is THE gestalt I have been seeking all these years via fiction truth. Tesla, notwithstanding. And the elusive self. I-dentity. Teeth as the seat of the soul!?

  22. THE WARHOL FILTER

    This is getting even better and better for me, steamPunk made digital, and vice versa, nemo pads to memory sticks to clouds, and memetic traps, mimetic and mnemonic, too? That “DNA analogue” that is Dana. Philip Glass minimalism replicated as Warhol soup cans. A filter for what may come through dangerously along with this book’s unique SIGNAL of a universal mind myth that Jung and DF Lewis at least once believed. The astrology I once practised as synchronicity rather than cause and effect, here become a miraculous ‘ideaspace’. Or am I blowing this real-time review now with increasingly wild thoughts? And on to black and white photographs in XX to match the books I once reviewed of JW Böhm and Desmond Wolfe. Brexit once the injuries of time, now become covidual rather than individual. But Trump finally trumped today? By an oxbow trap.

  23. 152BE788-497B-457F-A52A-5D6BA066BAD1

    THE ONOMATOPOEIC INTERPRETER

    I wonder if this should not be ONAMATOPŒIC!
    Whatever the case, you will not forget the evolution of what or who actually turns up, presumably inanimate but created by an alien through the means of Jack’s steampunk and futuristic technology, including the images blazed forth in black and white, pure white and black, in oscillatingly prevailing shades of nothing and something, at the end of this chapter. So bold, so something or other straight into the eyes. I wonder if by reading this on an iPad whether its effect is truly FULL ON, when compared to the lazily immutable images on paper in a book?

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