Friday, August 13, 2010

The Worm Ouroboros - Your Suggestions Shall Be Swiftly Ignored.

Imagine, if you will, that through some loophole with NAFTA, you inherit all 43 of the original Eggs from the House of Faberge - opulent, luxurious, and unique.

But, upon leaving them in the care of your babysitter/landscaper, you return to find them all  broken as they had accidentally been put in the wash.

One would normally be sympathetic to any rage that you may, at this point, find yourself expressing. But, instead of insuppressible anger, you actually find yourself in awe of the creation of your babysitter/landscaper, who in a fit of panicked action, took every shard of every broken egg and constructed one colossal Faberge-ish Uber-Egg. 

As a whole construct, it makes no sense. It is a cobbled-together masterpiece made from fragments of exacting beauty and skill, yet it has become an outsider-art opus made with elements of exacting artisanal technique.

If you feel this concept is impossible or exciting or exhausting, then I present to you:

This is one of the first examples of high fantasy. Released in 1926,  it predated Tolkien's epic The Fellowship of the Ring by 32 years and I have never read anything like it. Its characters are complex and interesting. It is both serious and well-wrought with its archaic Old English Prose and its vivid scenes, filled with lucid emotion. 

"Night came down on the hills. A great wind moaning out of the hueless west tore the clouds as a ragged garment, revealing the lonely moon that fled naked betwixt them."

But these virtuous writing traits are carried on a structure that is so ridiculous that you wonder if, once Eddison started writing, he ever looked back. 

Set in another "Middle-Earth" (only this one is on the planet Mercury), the story opens with a man lounging on a divan in a Lotus Room with his lover. That night he is swept away by a magic chariot led by a small bird to the foreign planet in order to observe the epic struggles between six kingdoms. This introduction puts the viewpoint squarely in this man's focus. But, after the introduction, he disappears from the story - NEVER TO BE HEARD OF AGAIN.

The kingdoms are all of full grown men, who are powerful and Nietzschean, yet Eddison labels their races as the Goblins, the Ghouls, and the Pixys..e.t.c. 

Eddison had odd names for his characters as well, such as La Fireez and Fax Fay Faz. These were names he invented as a child that he just could not let go of, completely ignoring the current urgings from the writing community to "Murder Your Darlings." (More on that later.)

As if navigating the odd inventions of Eddison weren't enough, he outlined some oddly presumptuous rules at the beginning of the book on the proper pronunciations of the names.

"Corinius rhymes with Flaminius"

"The e in Carce is long, like that in Phryne"

But, reading it is a unique experience. It's like watching a car crash where the passengers are thrown from their windows only to engage in synchronized aerial acrobatics, landing deftly on oversized puffballs with drinks in hand.
Second to the left is Goldry Bluzco, who I believe shares his name with my plumber.


  1. This sounds so good! I really have to borrow!

  2. Wasnt Fax Fay Faz the name of a Boss in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time?

  3. plus it has the coolest cover art... i was obsessed with those books as a kid

  4. Your description of the book makes think you should write a short story about the new art/extreme sport of synchronized car crash dancing. what an interesting idea, i think red-bull would be interested in sponsoring it.