Thursday, May 3, 2007

Confronting the suppressed.

Peter Raftos' The Stone Ship

There are few things more satisfying than a reading experience which functions as wish-fulfillment for desires you didn't realise you had, or which you didn't let yourself articulate. That was one of the aims of Dada, I know: the revelation of what we are suppress because it's too disturbing to acknowledge. But, silly old school me, I prefer my revelations to come in the form of linear fiction.

So there's Peter Raftos' The Stone Ship. I liked it. So did Cheryl Morgan, among other reviewers. It's entertaining, it has some vivid imagery, it's got one of the great fictional universities, it has a proper loathing for the administrative and bureaucratic side of higher learning, and it nicely balances the grotesque and the amusing.

All to the good, and I was quite happy with the money I spent on it.


There's a scene in which a mob of crazed librarians, carrying "knives and staves and torches," rampages through the stacks, eviscerating, decapitating, and disembowelling the students and professors and researchers they find.

As I read that passage, my pituitary and hypothalamus flooded me with endorphins. I reached rapid conclusion of plateau phase. My eyes turned blue and I saw through time. My soul expanded, and my faculties were awakened to a high degree of life. I slipped the surly bonds of Earth, looked down on the clouds with contempt, and punched God in the face.

Needing a cigarette ain't in it, as Patrick O'Brian might have written, if he wrote Jack/Stephen slash.

I hadn't really admitted to myself just how much I wish death-by-explosive-dysentery on the students and faculty here. And I've only been doing this six years, and have yet to officially get tenure. I can only imagine what the Secret Masters of Librarianship say (besides "ook," I mean) about the students and faculty they have to serve when they meet in the shadowy offices of the A.L.A.

Ah, well. Being a librarian is hardly financially or emotionally rewarding, but at least I'm not a high school teacher. Those poor bastards have it rough.

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