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New Jerry Cornelius Novel

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  • Elwher
    Honer of the Wikiverse
    • Feb 2004
    • 523

    #16
    What johneffay says is how I look at it - I think confusion comes in as American have only one word (bathroom), where we have two (loo & bathroom), which are subtly different. The way that Mad Scientist described the loo in context, suggested to me that the loo in the apartment was a separate toilet and the bathroom was somewhere else.

    I'm now a bit further on & I think I can see what you are doing with the New York/ Cornelius strand - your commentary above helps!

    Definitely a different riff on Cornelius, something I don't think Mike could have done.
    Statistically 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy.

    Comment

    • nalpak retrac
      Champion of the Balance
      • Dec 2003
      • 1073

      #17
      That's interesting. While I worked on it I thought all the "important stuff" was a total imitation: a Messiah for the Age of Science, the unstable relationship with Catherine, inversions, doublings, paranoid hallucinations, anti-heroes and dodgy super heroes, and even Cappy is simply a mixture of Manly Mark Male with Frearless Frank Force (and the Dictionary of Symbolism's gloss on "Capricorn")--not only the characters but the technique of generative literature-making is totally out of Mike's playbook, I think.

      The toughest part was Mike's comment that JC is as much a technique as he is a character. This technique is where I am weakest, I think, and so I cribbed with the mid-20th century post-Victorian English I had heard living there. But go back and look at the original Cornelius novels and we see there is a lot of the first half of the 20th century in there as well--the persistence of a culture even as the psychic infrastructure supporting that culture breaks apart, and . . . and is JC an exponent of this process? Both as a character and as a technique?

      And isn’t it wonderul how this culture and this character persist as consistent and recognizable ontological reference points even as the centripetal forces of history draw it (and him) apart?
      Last edited by nalpak retrac; 11-28-2008, 12:12 PM.

      Comment

      • johneffay
        Born Again Nihilist
        • Sep 2005
        • 3394

        #18
        I've finished it now and I really liked it. Particularly the the way the scaling linked into the museums. I also enjoyed all academic satire, although I think some of that is going to play to a very limited audience.

        I think that it does work well as a proper JC novel, even though the Jerry in it is very different to earlier versions.

        I particularly liked the way that Jerry starts the book as a seemingly dominant character and then spends the the entire time being manipulated by others. I think that is very resonant with the technique involved with Mike's Jerry.

        I was also surprised by the very touching ending.

        If I have a criticism, it would be that some of the characters are rather under-developed, I think that Oona, in particular, trades upon a prior knowledge of Una P.

        Nevertheless, I'd recommend people give it a go, particularly if they like Mike's Second Ether material.

        Cheers Carter

        Comment

        • nalpak retrac
          Champion of the Balance
          • Dec 2003
          • 1073

          #19
          Originally posted by johneffay View Post
          I've finished it now and I really liked it. Particularly the the way the scaling linked into the museums. I also enjoyed all academic satire, although I think some of that is going to play to a very limited audience.

          I think that it does work well as a proper JC novel, even though the Jerry in it is very different to earlier versions.

          I particularly liked the way that Jerry starts the book as a seemingly dominant character and then spends the the entire time being manipulated by others. I think that is very resonant with the technique involved with Mike's Jerry.

          I was also surprised by the very touching ending.

          If I have a criticism, it would be that some of the characters are rather under-developed, I think that Oona, in particular, trades upon a prior knowledge of Una P.

          Nevertheless, I'd recommend people give it a go, particularly if they like Mike's Second Ether material.

          Cheers Carter
          Thanks so much, John. Your kind post is appreciated.

          In THC a balance was struck, uneven perhaps, among three concerns: 1) the JC material as it stood before I made my contribution, 2) the mythographic patterns and templates I identified in the Second Ether (outlined in the chapter I wrote for New Boundaries in Politics and Science Fiction), and 3) the sorts of things I had to do to satisfy my own “artistic” quirks and agenda. Many of these dynamics work themselves out in the colloquy between Rev Dr C and Little Capricorn; where the former is the “secret superhero” behind a thousand masks of social respectability; while the latter, being a “real superhero,” is the unrestrained genius that acts out superhero impulses unfettered by the mitigating masks of social personae. I think it is interesting to note here that in African-American slang, “to trip” means to slip out of control and act-out the quirky emotions of our eternal dialogues.

          To me the key difference between the Rev Dr C and Jerry’s other forms is found in his psychic continuity and the persistence of his persona. In his introduction to The Cornelius Chronicles John Clute writes, “The presentation of the self in everyday life in the inner city is a form of theatre where identity is a role and where entropy is high...” This presentation and the level of entropy can be adjusted by the author, who can figuratively “set the dials” and increase or decrease the persistence of identity or the level of entropy. In transplanting Jerry out of the inner city, it seems to me the secure and privileged high-church Anglican JC should have a higher level of apparent continuity, moreover as his professional training pointedly cultivates such continuity because it is central to the job of priest, and, eventually, central to the post of cathedral dean. But the reality of human theatre--choosing roles, wearing masks, playing with and against each other--remains the same at all levels. And likewise, entropy—a physical as well as social constant—remains a consistent a force that shifts the landscape and drives the actions that the players chose, or chose not to chose. As a well-connected authority of the high church, the Rev Dr C both represents and enforces the continuity of the individual and collective personae of everyone in society. His job is to keep us glued together because our cohesiveness—the integrity of our individual personae and the social interactions these personae make possible—are necessary to advance the integrity and the power of his friends at the top of the social pyramid; or indeed, are necessary for our collective survival. His little friend Capricorn, however, being a “superhero,” or, indeed, being an exponent of that very top of society that the Rev Dr C serves, is thus Jerry’s friend and his foil, his counterpoint, the model of the freedoms he seeks, and his master. JC’s encounter with Cappy is an encounter with the freedoms he has been aspiring to his whole life. In meeting Cappy, JC encounters the “billionaire masters” of our emerging global civilization; alternatively, in this encounter JC is the middle class fulfilling of its aspirations. In befriending Capricorn, JC meets up with the myth of his own liberation. But considering what Cappy really is, at the end of the day JC’s achievement and his success becomes the dissolution of the same rigid patterns of personality that have allowed him to ascend in the first place. Ironically, he has worked his whole life in order to achieve the dissolution of the most important tool—his persona—that he needed to get to the top. People today seem to have two avenues to achieve this kind of success: the first is to be extremely rich; the second is to give it up and drop out of the system entirely, and I think all of us are familiar with the strange aura of dissolution radiated by both the very lowest and the very highest strata of society—it’s something that very often frightens us middle class folk. Interestingly enough, however, little forays into this dissolute realm in the form of novels, church worship, music, film, TV and travel define the underlying character of our middle class “recreation.” Now while all this is going on it’s important to keep in mind the Rev Dr C’s religious vocation, moreover his position near the very top of the religious-political complex. Perhaps it all comes down to Mike’s line in The Entropy Circuit where Jerry says, “To the fearful all things are chaotic. That's how you get religion (and its bastard child, politics).”

          To me the great fun is in the mythographic possibilities that open up when JC and the Second Ether interpenetrate. At this point of intersection the shamanistic doors swing wide apart. Mike’s In Lighter Vein: A note on the Jerry Cornelius Tetralogy, neatly describes the system of “referentiality” that is represented in the JC material, and which is key to my understanding of mythographic poetry, be it Blake, Milton, or what have you:

          Part of my original intention with the Jerry Cornelius stories was to 'liberate' the narrative; to leave it open to the reader's interpretation as much as possible - to involve the reader in such a way as to bring their own imagination into play. This impulse was probably a result of my interest in Brecht - an interest I'd had since the mid-fifties.

          Although the structure of the tetralogy is very strict (some might think over-mechanical) the scope for interpretation is hopefully much wider than the conventional novel. The underlying logic is also very disciplined, particularly in the last three volumes. It's my view that a work of fiction should contain nothing which does not contribute to the overall scheme. The whimsicalities to be found in all the books are, in fact, not random, not mere conceits, but make internal references. That is to say, while I strive for the effect of randomness on one level, the effect is achieved by a tightly controlled system of internal reference, puns, ironies, logic-jumps which no single reader may fairly be expected to follow.
          I’ll close, John, on the matter you raise with Oona. I agree with you up to a point. She certainly deserves more development. The problem I had, however, was what a more-developed-Oona would have contributed to the overall scheme; that is, beyond a minor foil and a “tool” he uses to remove his wife, how relevant is she to Rev Dr C? Perhaps she might play a greater role in a possible sequel if she can contribute to the overall field of internal references and reflections. Meantime, JC is what the novel is about, just as he is what he is about, if you take my meaning. This novel is in many ways an interior monologue—for that matter, does Little Capricorn, the "Devil Boy” as Francis calls him, even exist? Or is he a figment of JC’s imagination, or the representative principle of imagination that drives him toward his success, or is it toward his dissolution?
          Last edited by nalpak retrac; 12-23-2008, 06:41 PM.

          Comment

          • krakenten
            Eternal Companion
            • Feb 2008
            • 862

            #20
            Part of the charm of the Cornelius stories for me is the very English-ness of them.

            Somehow the English manage to change things and stay the same, all at once.

            British slang, the hippest in the world, manages to retain the flavor of years gone by as well as a host of new things.

            I used to love collecting that slang, and sharing it with a friend's wife, who was Liverpool Irish-she talked like a BBC commentator, unless she was upset, then she turned into Eliza Doolittle before the Professor.

            I gave her one of the Borribles novels-which are full of the old Cockney expressions, and she dissolved in laughter when she read "go like the clappers", overcome with nostalgia.

            For an American, that is a deep pool of mystery, never to be quite plumbed, no matter how much you read or study.

            I tried-once I wrote a character who affected a very haughty British voice-she was a dominatrix-and the subtle word choices that separate the toffs from the proles is damned difficult to parse.

            She had basicly apprenticed herself to an upper crust lesbian domina in London for a year to get it just right!

            It was a strain, I can tell you. I hope I got it down, at least well enough to fool an American audience.

            Such a multilayered cultural matrix is hard to mimic.

            Am I decieved, or is this work bringing Jerry into contact with Cthulhu? As one who also writes of the lore of Ol' Calimari Puss, this is going to be a thrill ride!

            I must order it quickly!

            Comment

            • Michael Moorcock
              Site Host
              • Dec 2003
              • 14278

              #21
              There have been some truly horrible UK attempts at US slang over the years. I'll name no names...
              And, of course, much UK slang once had US equivalents, like rhyming slang, which existed in NY and Chicago. Much American English is archaic English English, too (gotten is archaic in England, current in US). It's a constant two-way influence, which is what I especially enjoy about our common language (two great nations divided by a common language, Shaw)...

              Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
              The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
              Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


              Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
              The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
              Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

              Comment

              • Governor of Rowe Island
                Orgone Accumulator
                • Aug 2004
                • 5266

                #22
                I've got a very keen ear for accents and attempts by American actors at British ones nearly always amuse me*. Particularly execrable ones are Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins and Brion James in Tango and Cash. Willy in the Simpsons sounds like no Scottish accent I've ever heard as well.

                *Not to say that British actors are less laughable, mind you!
                You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

                -:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-

                Image Hive :-: Wikiverse :-: Media Hive

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                "I am an observer of life, a non-participant who takes no sides. I am in the regimented society, but not of it." Moondog, 1964

                Comment

                • krakenten
                  Eternal Companion
                  • Feb 2008
                  • 862

                  #23
                  Up the apples and pears?

                  Most of the people I know couldn't figure out rhyming slang! The way the changes get rung, it's hard for anyone else to understand, unless they grew up with it.

                  And what do people say if they don't say gotten?-ill-got gains just doesn't have that ring.

                  The rhyming slang descends from Thieves' Cant, a secretive patois used by the flash cullys and their dollies to confound evesdropping coppers!

                  Spanish used to serve the same purpose for Hispanic criminals, until a lot of cholos joined the forces for good-now, they use obscure dialects to the same purpose-La Eme, the prison gang that was once(and may be again) the Mexican Mafia teach the old Aztec language to members to keep things confidential.

                  In any case, a Happy Christmas to you Michael Moorcock, great joy to you and yours!

                  (I wonder what Jerry Cornelius' Christmas Tree looks like?)

                  Comment

                  • J-Sun
                    Priest of Nadsokor
                    • Dec 2007
                    • 2171

                    #24
                    For shizzle!
                    "Self-discipline and self-knowledge are the key. An individual becomes a unique universe, able to move at will through all the scales of the multiverse - potentially able to control the immediate reality of every scale, every encountered environment."
                    --Contessa Rose von Bek, Blood part 4, chapter 12

                    Comment

                    • Michael Moorcock
                      Site Host
                      • Dec 2003
                      • 14278

                      #25
                      Actually of course, we DO say ill-gotten, but it's essentially an archaic reference. Gypsy is the source of much flash talk, which became theatrical/gay 'secret language' by 20th century (ref Jules & Sandy -- or City in the Autumn Stars for that matter...). See also Tom and Jerry!

                      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                      The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                      Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                      The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                      Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                      Comment

                      • krakenten
                        Eternal Companion
                        • Feb 2008
                        • 862

                        #26
                        Every day, I learn something new!

                        Comment

                        • In_Loos_Ptokai
                          Abrogate all rituals
                          • Apr 2007
                          • 802

                          #27
                          Originally posted by Mad Scientist View Post
                          --- snip ---

                          The toughest part was Mike's comment that JC is as much a technique as he is a character. This technique is where I am weakest, I think, and so I cribbed with the mid-20th century post-Victorian English I had heard living there. But go back and look at the original Cornelius novels and we see there is a lot of the first half of the 20th century in there as well--the persistence of a culture even as the psychic infrastructure supporting that culture breaks apart, and . . . and is JC an exponent of this process? Both as a character and as a technique?

                          --- snip ---
                          JC as a technique as much as a character. Now that's something I hadn't thought of. I'll have to go back and re-read the Jerry Cornelius oeuvre.
                          sigpic Myself as Mephistopheles (Karen Koed's painting of me, 9 Nov 2008, U of Canterbury, CHCH, NZ)

                          Gold is the power of a man with a man
                          And incense the power of man with God
                          But myrrh is the bitter taste of death
                          And the sour-sweet smell of the upturned sod,

                          Nativity,
                          by Peter Cape

                          Comment

                          • nalpak retrac
                            Champion of the Balance
                            • Dec 2003
                            • 1073

                            #28
                            Originally posted by In_Loos_Ptokai View Post
                            I'll have to go back and re-read the Jerry Cornelius oeuvre.
                            Indubitably!

                            And JC's special program will soon be available as freeware. Not only does it generate literature, it interprets it too:



                            Comment

                            • David Mosley
                              Eternal Administrator
                              • Jul 2004
                              • 11823

                              #30
                              It's taken a while but I've finally uploaded the sample chapter of Tally Ho, Cornelius! that MS sent me before Christmas to the PDF album in the Media Hive.

                              Did you ever get any joy with sending out review copies, CK?
                              _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                              _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                              _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                              _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

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