I Shot the Moon, Calamari Press, 35-38 / 41, 3RD BED [7, 8, 9, 10, 11]

 

Click through to read the full (super-mega) review of 3RD BED [7, 8, 10, &11]

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Art as Inheritance, part 3: Reverse Chronology

I’ve been doing some research into reverse chronology (for the follow-up to my post “From ‘Doom House’ to ‘Mood House'”), and I thought I’d compile the results here.

Reverse chronology is probably as old as narration itself. Once one has the idea of telling a story forward, it’s a simple enough matter to tell it backwards:

There was an old lady who swallowed a cow.
I don’t know how she swallowed a cow!
She swallowed the cow to catch the goat…
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog…
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat…
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird …
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wiggled and wiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
But I dunno why she swallowed that fly
Perhaps she’ll die.

How far back does this idea go?

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Postmodernist Identity, part 1: IPCRESS, Bond, Austin Powers, and G.I. Joe

OK, time to get really geeky. Paul’s recent post mentioning Len Deighton’s The IPCRESS File (1962) jostled a few thoughts I’ve had about—well, about G.I. Joe. And pulp. Which I’ll get to. But first:

The Unnamed Spy

The IPCRESS File is a first-person Cold War spy novel. We never learn much about the novel’s narrator, other than that he once worked for Military Intelligence, wears glasses, enjoys good food, and doesn’t love his job (he doesn’t seem to make much money). Deighton conceived of the fellow in response to Ian Fleming’s James Bond, making his spy everyday and working class where 007 was glamorous and dashing.

Throughout the novel and its seven sequels, we never learn the spy’s name. At one point, someone calls him “Harry,” and he thinks,

Now my name isn’t Harry, but in this business it’s hard to remember whether it ever had been. (31)

What’s more interesting is that the unnamed narrator of the later novels might not be the same man who narrates IPCRESS. Throughout Spy Story (1972), the narrator is regularly addressed as “Patrick Armstrong,” and Deighton changes the character’s age (making him younger by about twenty years). And the novel begins with the narrator entering his apartment to find it refurnished, with a different person replacing him in his photographs. But there are also clues that it’s still, somehow, the same man…

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