I feel a little guilty about slagging all sci-fi, so it seems worth mentioning at least one book that turned up in the sci-fi section of the bookstore that was just mind-blowing. Towing Jehovah by James Morrow is stuck in that ghetto, but it’s really just surreal literature. The premise is that the Vatican discovers the two mile long corpse of Jehovah, god of the Christian Old and New Testaments, lying face up in the Atlantic Ocean, and hires an ex-captain of oil tanker, infamous for running his last ship aground and causing a major environmental catastrophe, to hitch up stone cold Jehovah and inter him before anyone finds out that God is dead. That premise is just the fulcrum for an elaborate balancing act of thoughtful weirdness. It’s funny and absurd, but it’s not cute or smirking. One review compares him to Salman Rushdie (who I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never read anything by,) but it feels like Morrow is also in the tradition of Philip K. Dick or a less bitter Vonnegut. I’m reading This Is How the World Ends now, and it seems Morrow might be one of my new favorite authors. I just have to make certain not to read any interviews with him, or essays.
Musically this morning, I’m listening to the New York Dolls “Too Much Too Soon”. Yeah. i really lik e this album. For being recorded by a bunch of heroin shooting crossdressers, it’s quite a fun record! To do one of those hybridizations that critics hate so much and swear is awful writing, it’s David Bowie with Mott the Hoople humping the dead corpses of the Rollings Stones while the Velvet Underground looks on from a dark corner. There’s some part of my brain that keeps telling me, “This is really awful stuff that only survives on hype! Listen to those campy girl backup singers. Listen to those idiotic asides in the middle of the songs! Look at the damned cover of the album!!!” Yeah, look at that cover. It’s a classic, in the most nonclassic rock sense.