[ilds] Free Market

Kennedy Gammage gammage.kennedy at gmail.com
Tue May 17 16:33:04 PDT 2016


I can’t look at that title on the cover anymore without laughing. Thanks
Peter Baldwin!

So it’s a comedy – but it’s also a lot of nonsense. About Abel, Felix’s
proto AI [before the term AI was invented?] Felix says “Give Abel a sigh or
the birth cry of a baby and he can tell you everything.” Except _he_ can’t,
and there is very little Abel in the rest of the Revolt. Is it Abel who
powers the technology behind the humanoid cyborg ‘dummy’? Maybe – but
that’s in the NEXT book.

So we start with the fermata above his wife’s name. Does he know she’s
dying? He is trying to postpone it.

Felix has been raised by ‘two old aunts in lax unmanning Eastbourne.’
Here’s the page – it doesn’t look like a bad place:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastbourne  Not fair to blame the city for
Felix's issues.

So Felix covertly and intrusively recorded Nash’s sordid tryst with a
patient over Nash’s home phone without his knowledge? Abel knows the
woman’s name – how? The leap we are expected to take is enormous. Yes there
were hi-fi reel-to-reel tape recorders in the mid 1960s – but the computers
back then were primitive – and they’re STILL primitive. They can play Chess
and Go… but Felix’s personal AI is the ultimate Freudian Big Brother
because 'his' quanta are based on ‘speech.’ Whose speech? Does Durrell
expect the reader to buy this? I say no. Right from the get-go, Tunc is
swingin’ ‘60s sci-fi from the heart of London.

Yes – Larry has projected his creative mind outward from the Midi to Polis
on the Bosporus – but now he's also back where he used to hang out in real
life as a Bohemian 20-something. Unlike most of his adult writing, the
Revolt reacquaints us with the bloody Rosbifs. ‘The basic three points are
birth-love-death.”

The language is dense! We should maybe slow it way down and go page by
page… “The serial world of Tunc whose God is Mobego.’  It’s a privilege
reading in the Internet age, but even now Mobego does not Google very well.

Cheers - Ken


On Tue, May 17, 2016 at 3:22 PM, James Gifford <james.d.gifford at gmail.com>
wrote:

> Dear David & Bruce & Ric,
>
> I do wonder about this, both because of my other research interests but
> also Durrell's long and peculiar combination of anti-Marxism and negative
> comments on industry and capitalism.  After all, while his generation was
> heading to Spain, Durrell's 1937 /Panic Spring/ opens by invoking
> "revolution" -- only it's in Greece...  The two capitalists in that book
> don't seem like model figures in any sense either (emotionally stunted yet
> rapacious).  It might be worth noting that by 1974 in /Monsieur/, his
> comments on Marx are quite different.
>
> The mercantile spirit seems to be distinct from the honest greed he might
> at some points ascribe to a peasant, as if there's something in the village
> rather than the city to be celebrated.  While he can mock the peasant in a
> communist uniform elsewhere, overall Durrell gives his greatest sympathy to
> working "folk" outside the cosmopolitan world he inhabited.  A real
> question might also be how power and wealth are entangled in /Tunc/ and
> /Nunquam/ -- Julian wants to realize a profit off owning Iolanthe's
> contracts, but at the same time it's also because he can't distinguish love
> from domination and possession.  I don't think Durrell would reduce the art
> exhibitions in airports and other muddling endeavours of the Firm to the
> coercive law of capital's accumulation. Something else is afoot...
>
> We're jumping two novels ahead too, but I think the closing destruction of
> contractual obligation is telling -- it's not that "the social" will
> evaporate or that folks may even change at all, but rather that spontaneous
> forms of organization might appear.  That is, something more akin to the
> village with its more natural order and sense of time in contrast to the
> clock of the city with its enervating will, domination, and unnatural forms
> of contract help up by force rather than their own merit.
>
> In the same breath, must that be different from his thoughts on Gnosticism
> or Taoism?  Can't they simply be different parts or expressions of the same
> thought?  There are certainly those who see both as being radical.
>
> I'll press the point a bit -- are these ideas already implicit in the
> anti-utopian ideas that the allusion to Dostoevsky bring out in the
> epigram?  They are, in many respects, the same issues Dostoevsky's narrator
> is grinding on about.
>
> Best,
> James
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