XX by Rian Hughes

PART FOUR continued from here: https://nemonymousnight.wordpress.com/xx/

When I continue reading this massive book, my thoughts will be shown in the comment stream below…


14 responses to “xx


    072A76CA-8ED8-4866-9075-D039700484EF“Masks compulsory. Clothes optional.”

    A useful readers’ heads-up, if not for the Duchamp moustache, but mainly for the summary of what has been going on in Jack’s plot — as can be derived from his chatter with Nadine while grilling sausages. Followed by a sense of a followed paranoia as an epiphany at the end, as well as a separate connective epiphany …

    “If Jack was an old-fashioned calculating machine, a relay would just have clicked into position and a connection would have been made.”

  2. ASCENSION by F. Herschel Teague (part seven)

    “His breathing sphincter caught the scent of frying flatbread and spleen, and he realised he had not breakfasted.”

    No doubt a reference to my reading and reviewing, earlier this morning (here), of ‘The Late Breakfasters’, and the main protagonist’s reappraisal of her life and life partners, as the CM here ponders the Vertical (Spire life) versus the Horizontal (the flatbread as well as the denizens of the flatlands, now in an approaching horde, and their own seemingly inchoate aspirations) as he makes, in media res, the Ascension upon the funicular railway for a scenic cascade of waterfalls. But that is a side issue, I guess, not only to the egg bartering he conducts to pay for his lodgings, but also to his bringing back what had fallen from the stars to his own erstwhile aspirational connections at the highmost of the Spire. And like Jack, perhaps…was he fleeing a different book within a book?

    “Was he outrunning some epidemic? Had the thing from the stars brought with it some disease, something that clouded the mind? Were they following him? And could he himself be affected?”

    I see Planetfall now costs half a crown!



    St Paul’s Crypt cafe just after it opened in the morning… “Clean and whitewashed, it was not the kind of place one expected to go hunting for ghosts.”


    “… those passions read
    Which yet survive stamped on these lifeless things”
    Shelley (Ozymandias)

    My bold, my bad

  4. As an aside, by the quirk of a chance, I needed today to re-listen to me reading aloud this 2007 DFL work: https://www.dropbox.com/s/d7g2rt5fecrzoy4/VN650084.WMA?dl=0 (copy and paste link into your browser if it does not otherwise work.)
    It happened to resonate obliquely with XX !


    Concrete Poetry worthy of Bob Cobbing as we experience the “memetic fug” of a tube journey with Jack. Followed by dwelling on what he had now already told his colleagues about some of what has been happening in this book, had told them despite his NDA, told them about DANA on the moon, and whatever else about this book’s DNA, I guess, told them at NANDO’s, it appears.

  6. ASCENSION by F. Herschel Teague (the concluding part eight)

    “…a tall tower with a crenellated battlement at the top. Around it were crowds of Naze, climbing the stone walls…”

    See the Naze Towers shown earlier in this review.
    This chapter is a magnificent prophetic tour de force by our Herschel, or up his own Uranus? I sense it is the former, as helped by an inscrutable Rien. This now seems to bear out the preternatural force for me of this whole book so far, including both competing novels, as I have, perhaps naively, presented them, while I was taken over by their words towards a hopeful gestalt. The reason why I invented the still evolving processes of Gestalt Real Time Reviewing in the first place? The CM has returned to the Spire and presented the thing that had fallen from the stars to the Highmost. And this now presages what is falling towards us today, that co-vivid dream of Jungian flesh as well as mind. All of us a Kingian Dark Tower or a Clive Barker ‘In The Hills The Cities’ where we all become that object itself? There are many possible interpretations, so you need to read it for yourself. Suffice to say – it is cataclysmic with a prose style to match!

  7. “No alien flu bugs.”

    1A298BC3-6DCD-4C47-AC65-796562C093CBAs you can see, I have to be careful now what I divulge about the next section that purports to be a transcript of an admittedly edited report upon a meeting of Dana with her supervisor, following her encounter of a fifth kind with the alien. My own report on this report is also edited, but I think I can mention the talk of forebrain and hindbrain, because what it says has already been touched upon by my earlier quotation from Aickman’s Late Breakfasters (1964) that I was, by chance, reading at the time (!), viz. ‘But the nightmare had each time seized and penetrated her whole body and mind; it was as if she had been twisted into another identity, mysterious and horrible, which, when she returned, there could be no question of remembering since the two beings had no capacity for memory in common. She shuddered to reflect that this second identity, totally unreachable lay always behind her face and beneath her thoughts. The strain of having perpetually to maintain the ascendancy over it weighed upon her.’
    My bold.
    These correlations are incredible.
    My own tussling with a head big enough to bear two brains, too, since I was a child, and as evidenced here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2016/06/06/singing-with-all-my-skin-bone/#comment-7415 and, in 1999, here: http://weirdmonger.blogspot.com/2012/12/this-is-article-i-wrote-for-brian.html
    Dana feeling ‘full’ in this way. Having someone else’s memories. Awaiting ‘autopsy’ of another Proustian self?
    And a description of a ‘helmet’ that seems to be in mutual synergy, incredibly, but inadvertently, with a different but resonating description of a sort of helmet in a story called Office-Based that I reviewed, by chance, about an hour ago (!) here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2020/12/05/25324/#comment-20445
    NB. The Otranto Helmet I mentioned in my review of The Late Breakfasters.
    ‘Mindlids’ as eyelids….
    And the direful message this messenger brings.
    And the conceit, as broached again, of “naivety” I mentioned in the previous entry above when discussing the disarmingly collucid and covidual Herschel Teague work.
    And much more.


    “See, we have all manner of virus software on our computers to prevent rogue code getting in. Yet we have no protection whatsoever for our greatest asset, our greatest weakness — our brains?”

    My brains!
    Frightening now to realise to what we expose our brains, as a sort of daredevil game with the accreting infoworld, fake and real. Readers generally expose themselves to the potential of sometimes spitefully spoiling blogs about the books they read. This author has, for example, voluntarily exposed himself to the interference of this “basic WordPress blog”, as Jack and co. expose themselves to YouTube and those in Peru running along similar lines of alien finds as them. We are all eventually gods without chariots? Fiction versus fiction as chariots or containers for each Proustian soft-self versus Aliens or AI forces à la the prophetic Herschel Teague?

    “See, a virus only cares if it kills the host before it’s reproduced.”

  9. “He wasn’t the only counter-culture writer to end up believing in his own fiction. Thought it was possible to preserve characters, people — himself, even — in a story, and that way achieve immortality. And not just in the literary sense, but off the page somehow.”

    Mea Culpa, if Null Immortalis. But if not my fiction, certainly there is a co-immortality in my gestalt reviewing of others’ fictions. “Jungian archetypes, aliens, whatever.”
    There follows another of those ‘top secret’ interviews with Dana. And this XX book is perhaps acting as my second brain in this project. My X, though, in collusion with the other X or battling with it? I keep my powder dry. E2366943-2AA2-41A8-AEB9-2C6A09D9EF8D
    Dana herself is still “full’ of what her own sharing of a second brain (an alien one) had given her about the mind-boggling statistics regarding all the other races in space. The ‘shouting match” of the cosmos. I will keep the rest of this interview duly secret. But the newspaper article that follows this interview touched upon hostile takeovers and moral compasses. The aliens as the signal itself rather than entities issuing a signal. And then a transcript of an Oxford Union debate, one that visualises the various embodiments of the “Alien Zoo”, one that I now suspect was prefigured by the real CERN Zoo that actually existed in Switzerland, as picked up in 2009 by my own antenna, and as specifically mentioned for Feb 4, 1995 on this web page here: https://www-d0.fnal.gov/~gwatts/ud0/past_speakers.html
    Moreover, this debate at the Oxford Union has a hilarious argument about ‘political correctness’ and ‘sexual correctness’ when dealing with alien visitors, and is unmissable!

    • That statue above I photographed in 2008 in Vigeland Park seems highly appropriate for Dana!

    • Another of those top secret interviews with Dana…
      I feel this XX book itself is my own ‘capsule’ as an alien brain with which I am fused … just as Dana’s alien is found fused with its own capsule, two separate things fused or a single entity from outset? Exxoskeleton?… I should never perhaps have bought the physical artefact of this book itself and gone with the XX ebook I was reading originally!? Fused as well as combatting each other? Two brains, but one of these brains a “sandbox” to sift out counterproductive viral ideas? That is an amazing concept, awakening me even more to my own condition!!!! Hell, this book is so amazingly germane for me and my times! This interview even mentions an “epidemiologist” in this context….

    • JH You been vaccinated? Simple question.
      WN I have.”

      And that is a quote from one of two transcripts of public broadcasts, the first being a slightly drunk chat show, the second being Woman’s Hour on BBC, about what populates the Signal and how we are being taken over by entities within it or synonymous with it ….
      Possibly the new ‘boat people’, and whether to succour them or to resist their taking us over, even to obviate their virally replacing our individuality with a coviduality?
      I am not a conspiracy-freak but, in my sandbox brain, I believe that the new Abject, the new normal, the new noumenon embody the knowledge that fake news has its own motive force or power, and we need to battle it with our own well-seasoned and respected creative-fiction as the lesser of two evils?
      Me, testing the water.

    • Yet another top secret transcript of interview with Dana…

      “I’m not going anywhere. I’m under quarantine, remember.”

      Gives me time to grapple with this reading experience, and the gifts it gives me. Now the secondary repository brain, if you don’t have one of your own, the internet itself! She now gives her alien, to whom or which she is fused, the male pronoun, as I did above before changing it to ‘it’. Dana seems to continue to be replete with stories and other histories and “race memories” and other words that I think I now understand, like ‘Scooch Orlena’, ‘Grimault’, ‘Wivaroe’. (My daughter happens to live in a place called Wivenhoe!) And I begin to understand the nature of the transmission of these alien histories, striving for a “harmonious whole”, as I do for a literary gestalt in real-time running parallel with this book’s. The transmission is two-brained, (in my human terminology today) physical and digital. The former induces: “the head explodes, filling the air with new spores.” And I wonder whether those earlier ‘mushrooms’ had the impulse to grow suddenly in my Autumnal garden a few weeks ago. simply to be photographed by me for this very review! 

      “They are now used to keep the Grid in stasis. In lockdown, effectively.”

    • “…demonising entire races, implying they are less than human simply by virtue of being alien.”

      A journal article dealing with humanity’s reaction to the Signal, while in…


      …Jack and co. experiment with Chiang/ NoMan Chomsky language-learning philosophies, here with Intellgencia Oxbow tests…. preceded by two solid pages of such testing, but to me, random upper and lower case letters, and numbers.
      I spotted “BUTmoi” among it all, but each reader will, I sense, spot something different bespoke to their own ‘me’. (My bold)
      We are all thus striving for contact with each other, as readers of this book, so that we can triangulate the coordinates of its gestalt. Use this review as a meeting-place, if you like. Or tell me where I can find your own coordinates, if you prefer. I have been attempting to arrange this for several years now for all literature in general, as attested by many of my statements of intent in the many entries already digitalised on this site.

      (Is it a coincidence: INTELLIGENCIA?)

    • Placed on Twitter a few days ago, a retweet that now prefigures in hindsight another transcript of a top secret interview with Dana…

      “I’m not contagious. I’m not a danger. It’s beginning to feel more and more like a prison. How long until I can get out?”

      She seems to be getting fractious now. But that does not stop her imparting more information from her fused alien Proustian self and the cosmos this combo contains. The beginning of the universe as a part of Art and Music Aesthetics. An ADORNOment.

      Followed by yet another retweet reproduced in the book itself, a quote from which I have edited myself: “F..k off space n….rs, we’re full”