*

All my Gestalt Real-Time Reviews from 2008 are listed and linked for your on-line reading pleasure.

Also available in print:
https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/rtrs-as-books/
Available signed by DFL

DREAMCATCHER Reviews are dangerously preternatural, filled with accretions, triangulations, nemonymities, serendipities, synchronicities, retrocausalities, gestalts, leitmotifs, codas, dying falls, objective correlatives, intentional fallacies… One day all these weird, wonderful or nonsensical conceits will come to the perfectly triangulated vanishing-point…

The full Dreamcatcher slow-motion book reviews are in fusion or symbiosis with hyper-imaginative fiction – and they are accessible in the posts’ thought streams by clicking on their titles.

This is a review site not individually of the Weird, the Horror, the Fantasy, the SF, the Literary, the Experimental, but of all Hyper-Imaginative Fiction – a Hifalutin site radiated on Hi-Fi broadband…High-Five!

I confirm that, unless in very exceptional circumstances, I purchase all books to read/ review, choosing ones that I believe I will like, hopefully love. More information in links above

“Incredible things can be explained only through even more incredible things.” – Jean Ray (The Man Who Dared)

All the slow-motion reviews on this site are by Des Lewis (nullimmortalis) unless otherwise stated. All chronologically linked above – with a Search facility available, too.

Beginning, just beginning, to crystallise the singular dream of all good hyper-imaginative fiction as written by a labyrinth of authors.

Reviewing a book is not writing an immaculate essay about it, but getting your hands dirty with it.

“As there is no intrinsic virtue in denigration, the critic who resorts to it, should be required to pass a test of qualification and sensitivity, at least twice as stringent as that imposed upon a critic who loves. Normally, love is not blind but clairvoyant.” – Robert Aickman

Reviewing hyper-imaginative literature is like placing a book on a planchette for a séance.

“Real time – when past and future twist around each other;”
“…the connections between all things, and how those connections play a part in healing.”
Two quotes from Christien Gholson’s story THE SPIN OF THE STARS in INTERZONE #260

“Sniffer of carrion, premature gravedigger, seeker of the nest of evil in the bosom of a good word…” — James Joyce

“To leave the reader free to decide what your work means, that’s the real art; it makes the work inexhaustible.” – Ursula LeGuin

“Paul swam in a sea of theories. Everything from the morning’s headlines to the license plates of buses had hidden significance. But Paul’s torrent of interpretations had something joyous to it. Buried patterns everywhere. It sounded, sometimes, almost like musicology.” – from ORFEO by Richard Powers
———————————————-

DFL Dreamcatchers or Dreamcaptchas are for optimising by capture:
Unknown or unexpected dreams that find themselves entrammelled fortuitously or ominously in the dreamcatcher with which we set to catch them.
Or targetted dreams we actually set out to catch with our dreamcatchers.
Or dreams that set out to catch us, captcha us.
Or all of these.

HERE a blog post by Jeff VanderMeer about my reviewing.
========================================================

2014: An author always appreciates a reviewer who is able to read deeply enough in the text to evaluate the plot, the style, and all the other things that constitute the finality of what is finally here, or there, — between an appreciation of the structure of the book, its design, the binding, the production. Des does a remarkable job in his Gestalt approach to “feel” each part of a book as he reads it, and to provide evaluation and reaction, without giving away the answers to questions that a reader must encounter as he or she reads through what is hoped to be a flowing text until it concludes.

Other public reactions HERE.

———————————-

Books I’m led to by other books, strings of books, excitation nodes.” – Melanie Tem (from her story ‘Singularity’)
Stevie Walsh here on 6 Apr 14: “To connect with the physical reality of the art form is an act of communing with the creator for me – and that demands respect and a certain amount of physical interaction. That is my firmly held belief!”

————————————————————————————–
Any unlikely profits from my own literary works or from multi-authored anthologies I have published are re-invested in purchasing other authors’ physical books for this gestalt real-time reviewing project, but mainly these purchases are financed by my own retirement pension: part of which is available as pocket money for buying books as a reading hobby.

I only buy books I instinctively know I shall enjoy reading and reviewing. I do not accept review copies.

10 May 2014: There now seems to be a growing trend to eschew negative book reviewing for many of the reasons I’ve given on this site for the last few years. Just google ‘”negative book reviews”‘ to see some of the discussions on this subject.
In this light, as has been said elsewhere, the positive goal nowadays is actually to get your book chosen for public review, its choice as a subject for that review and subsequent appreciation in that review being a synergistic unity. Thus, a book not being chosen for public review is tantamount to the new negative review, I would say.
Please refer also to my much earlier The Hothouse and the Heuristic article and its appendix.
My view has long been that review books in that Hothouse area, as defined, should be purchased by the reviewer with the natural instincts of purchasing a good read: a fair, ’unmotivated’ review then given publicly: and, thus, the best of all worlds with money put into the book system as well as each book naturally praised to encourage reading specifically or generally (unless those ‘instincts’ misfire): this being the new economics of independent literature.

Literature as Bitcoin.

Review Controversies

Real-Time Reviews as Collaborations

Further on-going review philosophy will be recorded in the comment stream below.

66 thoughts on “*

  1. If one googles for “fiction as religion” or “magic fiction”, and my name, one can witness the early development of my various theories that preceded or coincided with the Nov 2008 start of my real-time reviewing – for example this blog post by the luminary Matt Cardin in January 2009: http://www.teemingbrain.com/2009/01/13/fiction-as-religion-some-good-words-about-divinations-of-the-deep/

    Also in 2006: http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?t=818 (Magic Fiction)
    http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?p=3826#post3826 (Fiction as Religion)

  2. Relevant to this ‘philosophy’: “The Avant Garde and Me”: http://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/the-avant-garde-and-me/ and, possibly in this connection, the various reviews of ‘Weirdtongue: A Glistenberry Romance: Visit to the Narrative Hospital’: http://weirdtongue.wordpress.com/reviews/ and that novella itself.
    And my “six pointless claims” listed here: http://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2010/09/07/magic-fiction-and-magic-reality-within-the-ominous-imagination/
    Caveat: This sporadic interest of mine in the Avant Garde (in painting, music and literature) should not be taken to connote a lack of seriousness on my part in the expression of my own ‘art’ or of my philosophies and claims. Seriousness can take many forms. As can pretentiousness.

  3. A link pointed out to me elsewhere:

    http://www.dictionaryofobscuresorrows.com/

    vellichor

    n. the strange wistfulness of used bookstores, which are somehow infused with the passage of time—filled with thousands of old books you’ll never have time to read, each of which is itself locked in its own era, bound and dated and papered over like an old room the author abandoned years ago, a hidden annex littered with thoughts left just as they were on the day they were captured.

  4. And the feel of these Corianders continue to underpin my type of book reviewing, as if a meaningfully random concertina of connections work in a beautifully preternatural way, just as all the unmissable TQFs that I have read and reviewed over the years have also shown such an art, whether deliberate or not, in choosing equally unmissable fictions in streams of such preternaturally ordered connections.
    –from here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/totqf/#comment-3470

    (Also relevant: http://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/8249-2/#comment-14380)

  5. …and this Parisian story leads this matter-of-fact, almost Avant Garde tabula rasa towards its open ended dying fall. Strangely, I loved it, like watching a woman across the street in the window opposite, but I am not here in my window to watch any more because the story has ended, and I have become now merely someone people talk about as if he once existed despite a whole shedload of stuff he left behind all mixed up and gradually losing its electronic letters one by one till nothing is left, not even his name, still searching for some gestalt that was never there in the first place.

    FROM https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/delicate-toxins/#comment-1558

  6. http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?t=9248&page=3

    Quote Originally Posted by DoktorH View Post
    Books of short weird fiction: tend all be the same. I read Mighty In Sorrow, In Heaven Everything Is Fine, and Year’s Best Weird Fiction back to back to back, and it was like reading the same book three times in a row. it all runs together. with few exceptions, i can’t tell these stories/writers apart.

    I don’t know the first two books mentioned, but this is always a danger in today’s ‘streaming’ of things back to back, streaming things that you think you enjoy. The only answer, I feel, is to dwell on each story, ingest it, refigure it, fix it, dreamcatch it…

    • “The writer, like a swimmer caught by an undertow, is borne in an unexpected direction. He is carried to a subject which has awaited him – a subject sometimes no part of his conscious plan. Reality, the reality of sensation, has accumulated where it was least sought. To write is to be captured – captured by some experience to which one may have hardly given a thought.” — Elizabeth Bowen

      Cf dreamcaptchas, dreamcatchers

  7. After gestating for nearly a year, my review of RHYSOP’S FABLES is now complete – where I end by saying…

    “I have a love-hate relationship with this now battered book that has been hanging around upon my person for months and months like a Catcher of the Wry, or the Cougher of Coffins, a jouster with jests, a work that currently completes for me the completist Rhysaurus, for good or ill. All has been forgiven, especially because of one fable in this last batch that inadvertently tickles me text… “Last night I reversed the polarity of a dreamcatcher,…””
    https://nemonymous123456.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/681/

  8. Terry Grimwood, living in Stevenage as he does, tells me today that “there is an EM Forster footpath that begins at St Nicholas’ church and winds away into the Hertfordshire countryside. At the start of the path, in the churchyard itself, there is a small monument inscribed with the words “Only Connect”.”
    His photo of it is shown below.
    A number of EM Forster novel titles etc. are mentioned in the title story ‘Only Connect’ in the book ONLY CONNECT. There are a number of connections between all the stories and I now see this 1998 book as a forerunner of my gestalt real-time reviewing.
    image image

  9. Relevant from here today:
    ————–
    Pages 103 – 122
    “I say the singularity of this coincidence absolutely stupefied me for a time. This is the usual effect of such coincidences. The mind struggles to establish a connexion — a sequence of cause and effect — and, being unable to do so, suffers a species of temporary paralysis.”
    And perhaps I should leave this second half of ‘The Gold Bug’ at that, for fear of spoilers. (Seek the treasure for yourself, I say!)
    Other than to say that this text sort of mirrors the triangulations of Escher angles and coordinates of longtitude-latitude in ‘Call of Cthulhu’ (that I coincidentally read today), as well as the cryptic measurement and word associations of the Rue Morgue. Together with an envied mystification for mystification’s sake by using the gold-bug rather than a bullet! And, oh yes, the Cthulhu Mythos also needs expendable suicide spear-carriers like you and me who dig it up by collating (or merely reading) such stories…!
    Indeed, the whole nature of the cryptic unravelling does remind me of my own gestalt real-time reviewing by brainstorming, triangulation and retrocausality: ‘the synchronised shards of random truth and fiction’, as I have called this process for decades.

  10. From Robert Aickman’s lengthy SOME NOTES ON DELIUS article, unpublished until very recently :

    “As there is no intrinsic virtue in denigration, the critic who resorts to it, should be required to pass a test of qualification and sensitivity, at least twice as stringent as that imposed upon a critic who loves. Normally, love is not blind but clairvoyant.” – Robert Aickman

    For ‘clairvoyant’ there, perhaps read ‘preternatural’?

    (My full review of this article here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2015/05/26/the-strangers-robert-aickman/#comment-4631)

    • Fuller context of above Aickman quotation…

      “When one is in doubt, the critic who praises, will be found to be usually right, and the critic who disparages, usually wrong. As there is no intrinsic virtue in denigration, the critic who resorts to it, should be required to pass a test of qualification and sensitivity, at least twice as stringent as that imposed upon a critic who loves. Normally, love is not blind but clairvoyant. Criticism being so very much a matter of temperamental affinity or antagonism in respect of the work criticised, it is plain that a third party is likely to get more from the sympathetic than from the hostile critic. Moreover, there is some degree of absolute nobility in praise, even in foolish praise; and a high degree of ignominy in belittlement. The capacity for praise that is at once warm and discerning implies a degree of fineness in the critic that is, alas, rare in anyone. These truths are so simple and obvious as to call for unfailing repetition.”

  11. From my review of ‘The Collected Connoisseur’ here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2015/10/03/the-collected-connoisseur-mark-valentine-john-howard/#comment-5559

    SECRET STARS

    “A sheaf of shards: that is what I gather.”

    The C here provides me – by means of a book of someone’s inchoately collected letters – with the sublime exaltation and exulting sense of many aspects of my life’s thoughts about gathering together – during my experience of existence – gestalts from various leitmotifs, those patterns from many perceived art-aesthetic, spiritual, cosmic, astrological, natural phenomena. A pure rhapsodic treatment by fiction, the first explicit expression I have ever seen in print, of what I have long called ‘the synchronised shards of random truth and fiction’. A fiction of a fiction as a truth, thus enabling the power of this passage, among many others, in this ‘story’: “What we seek, and what we also half-fear, is all around us, always, had we the necessary calm intentness to discern it.”
    A ‘half-fear’ that this knowledge may also destroy us as easily as it creates us?

  12. I am sometimes asked how I choose certain books to review and why I get involved or interested in certain literary controversies.

    I hope this does not sound pretentious, but my choice of books to buy stems from what I claim is a preternatural knack of knowing what books to enjoy, hoping by this to keep a catholic and eclectic taste in hyper-imaginative books afloat in an uncertain world, to my benefit and to their benefit. I also enjoy the process itself of real-time reviewing and feel that it can expose aspects of and connections between books, thoughts and things that are positive.

    Meanwhile, I feel I have no axe to grind as I am not active in getting my own stuff published. In the last 16 years, I think I have only submitted a handful of my own works to publishers, ones that have been solicited from me.

    As to actual and potential controversies (some itemised here in the latest of four pages), I admit that there is a certain ‘rubber-necking’ tendency in myself, but I also feel that these lines of controversy should be known as far as possible in the hope they will eventually be transcended or at least cauterised one by one.

    I trust the works themselves are what posterity will remember and make judgements by.

  13. I repeat something here that I previously wrote on my Controversies thread:
    ========================
    I am sometimes asked how I choose certain books to review and why I get involved or interested in certain literary controversies.

    I hope this does not sound pretentious, but my choice of books to buy stems from what I claim is a preternatural knack of knowing what books to enjoy, hoping by this to keep a catholic and eclectic taste in hyper-imaginative books afloat in an uncertain world, to my benefit and to their benefit. I also enjoy the process itself of real-time reviewing and feel that it can expose aspects of and connections between books, thoughts and things that are positive.

    Meanwhile, I feel I have no axe to grind as I am not active in getting my own stuff published. In the last 16 years, I think I have only submitted a handful of my own works to publishers, ones that have been solicited from me.

    As to actual or potential controversies, I admit that there is a certain ‘rubber-necking’ tendency in myself, but I also feel that these lines of controversy should be known as far as possible in the hope they will eventually be transcended or at least cauterised one by one.

    I trust the works themselves are what posterity will remember and make judgements by.

  14. People should read certain challenging books properly, not skimming, but reading each story or chapter, say, daily, and thinking about it, before reading the next chapter or story.

  15. My book reviews are written for three separate parties: myself, the readers and the book’s inferred creator. Most reviews elsewhere are actual PREviews for readers. Mine can also be genuine REviews that can be read (a) alongside me as the reader reads the book or (b) after the book is read by the reader.

  16. Only real-time reviews as a dreamcatching or hawling process provide such constructive uncertainty, paradoxically a new certainty of forthcoming gestalt…
    A labyrinth of connection and uncertainty.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s