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Minor Episodes / Major Ruckus (The Chaos! Quincunx) (edition 2012)

by Garry Thomas Morse

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167615,960 (3.07)1
Member:chnellociraptor
Title:Minor Episodes / Major Ruckus (The Chaos! Quincunx)
Authors:Garry Thomas Morse
Info:Talonbooks (2012), Paperback, 288 pages
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Minor Episodes / Major Ruckus (The Chaos! Quincunx) by Garry Thomas Morse

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I took three runs at this book but was unable to get through the first two chapters. Even "experimental fiction" needs some narrative drive. A complete muddle.
  dleona | Aug 27, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A unique book --actually two groups of loosely linked episodes, whose plotlines only gradually (and incompletely) become visible. The first series (Minor Episodes) involves a corrupt fabulously wealthy entrepreneur named Minor and his assorted exploitational exploits. ; the second though its characters include a roughhewn hero type named Ruckus, pays much less attention to him; its primary plotline resembles The Carefully Considered Rape of the World in that an alien lifeform is going around having sex with just about every earthling (or technically Duckling) female it can find, though thanks to the availability of abortion most do not actually reproduce.
However, the plotlines are secondary to wildly inventive language and a great deal of ribald humor;.It is a little as if Stand on Zanzibar had been rewritten in the style of Finnegan's Wake. ( )
  antiquary | Jun 22, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As other reviewers have [in a sense tautologically] remarked, if this book is not your cup of tea this book will not be your cup of tea.

It is definitely my cup of tea, which I suspected from descriptions of its contents, which is why I requested it from Early Reviewers. I was not disappointed. It's also published by Talonbooks, which I knew from my lit-studies in a previous life is a major Canadian publisher of [mostly] Canadian experimental literature.

The links to Surrealism are well-deserved. Morse's prose proceeds and cubes up reality in a dreamlike fashion, looping and leashing out in totally unexpected directions / dimensions and bringing back and serving up word-combinations and images such as innocent readers may never have seen or read before. There are characters who persist (at least as much as they do in dreams) and a plot one can follow ... if you're into that sort of thing.

If you are looking for characters you can "identify with" and stories that reflect the way the world "really is," you should probably avoid this book. If on the other hand you have been fascinated by those moments between sleeping and waking where you seem to be hosting someone else's thoughts, I urge you to dive in and enjoy.

The best way to enjoy a book like this one is, I think, to just relax and marvel at Morse's linguistic fireworks. They may do something to your brain -- and that can be a lively pleasure.

My review is unforgivably late. No excuses. ( )
1 vote tungsten_peerts | Jun 16, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
MINOR EPISODES/ MAJOR RUCKUS presents a pair of surrealist novels. This author's form of surrealism is much more Georges Bataille than André Breton. The prose is so unexpected and the imagery is so dense that the text is difficult to read. As other reviewers have noted, if you enjoy this kind of prose, you likely already know about this book. It has a very small potential audience, but those readers are likely to enjoy this text. Unfortunately, this is not a literary style I enjoy, and I could appreciate this book only at a technical level.
  laVermeer | Jan 25, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Right from the start, there are some brilliant sentences in this book, even if the overall action takes some dynamiting to break into. This is odd, because on the sentence level things are far from psychedelically unclear--the surreal is like a lucid, programmatic psychedelic--no outtasite or gabba gabba hey, just the chance meeting of the sewing machine and the umbrella described like you're sitting down to dinner. This book is surreal for sure. The reporterly impossible. More factual clarity, less overall plot logic.

This lack of narrative thrust can cause you to tune out when Morse's inventiveness, exuberance and humour flag, which is relatively infrequently. Some of his bon mots are downright straightforward: "There are countries where you can do as you please and countries where you can think as you please. But I doubt there's anywhere you can do both at the same time." Some are much more freeqy, and it's nice that you can zoom out and glide over the waves when taking it action by predicate gets too chunky. Joycean, in that sometimes you wanna unpack and other times just get word-wasted.

There are tired ideas, especially in the realm of the prurient--stogies and dicks, someone calling a vagina a flower repeated several times with authorial emphasis like it's a novel point of characterization. The "episodes" in the first half, relating the escapades of a global monopoly capitalist fuck/trickster wizard called Minor, are actually a bit longer on balance I think than the chapters of the second half, which is loosely a parody of SF in which humans are called "Dulklings"; but really it's a fairly seamless transition, except that the second half is aliens on top of the first half's secret agent schtick. All of these are more tones than threads, anyway, regions of the palette, since it's hard to follow the action in any realistic way.

The first half is less over the top, perhaps--there are still more of the small, natural reactions to crazy crap that make you smile at the ballsiness--Minor gets sniped, a flower springs up, but it's the way he brushes it away with annoyance that convinces--the quotidian reaction making it almost a silent film, a raised eyebrow on the face of a Chaplin or somebody. The real reaction would be screaming catatonia, and too many authors would go too far into the alternative and just effuse us to death Pynchonian; but here the characters are true denizens of their milieu, something rarer in fiction than it might initially appear, and give us the reactions of, like, really arch action heroes. Oh! It's camp! And Minor is an antivillain for our times who puts the Baudribbles and drabbles in DeLillo's Cosmopolis to shame.

I hope I'm not making this sound dry. Surrealism is an acceptable reaction to a surreal world in which each of us acts not in his interest every single day. It's not as good a reaction as rage, but it's more than adequate, and some rage does poke through the surr. here. But more humour: I lolled or lqarled* like double digits of times reading this, which isn't an experience I usually have with guys that think they're funny. And it helps you deal with the fact that each episode ends inconclusively, a draw match conducted for obscure purposes between shifting identities moving in mysterious ways.

BUT do let me note good sir that each episode also advances the plot, a little, which speaks to craft considering there hardly is a plot. Each time, the weird truthiness you've developed regarding who a character might sort of be and what capable of shifts, or the balance of power is overturned (even though you didn't get that you know F or Bebe Lala or Lax Laxness was in the ascendency until they got comeupped) or you get a new angle on how the laws of freaky fysics might reveal another wrinkle.

Major Ruckus, the second half, gives you more opportunity to glide and murmurate, which is not a bad thing, kind of like running through the surrealist Louvre or something (running through museums in general always a good plan, btw. O synaesthetic repast!).

Hey, you're the dude in the chair and you can read this however you want to and I don't think you'll have much trouble finding a way that you can enjoy.

*laughing quietly and relatively long ( )
7 vote MeditationesMartini | Dec 5, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0889226970, Paperback)


In tribute to the surrealist narrative techniques of André Breton and Robert Desnos, Minor Episodes documents the serial adventures of Minor, the ubiquitous "everymogul" who embodies the economic one percent and keeps musically erotic quixotics on tap. Having entered a "rent in time" that gives each chapter an alternate reality, Minor swaggers through an undersea casino, in-flight blockbuster, bawdy Western, and Kafkaesque job hunt, cavorting with billboard queen Bébé Lala and country-music legend Faith Faith, when not dressing down his shifty sidekick, The Concierge, or haunting the intensely disinterested songstress Miss Sharp. However, danger looms in the form of The Stropper, a serial killer fresh out of a shaving promotion, and an enigmatic ginger-beer icon who has retired from a satisfying life of culinary assassinations.


Major Ruckus, a contrapuntal text and parody of the speculative fiction genre, celebrates the stylistic techniques of William S. Burroughs and Robert Anton Wilson, following a frenzied struggle by various parties to obtain an essential time-travel component, a struggle that includes psychic "dicks," universal call-center operators, aboriginal eroticists, lubricant heiresses, rogue advertisement animations, pornography censors, and alien sperm-bank clones, all to the horrified fascination of hapless meta-writer Oober Mann. But ultimately it is Carl Sagan who creates the most confusion, when his prudish doodle of a woman is sent into space aboard the Voyager probe, triggering a plan to "assist" Earth's declining population through extraterrestrials in the guise of census takers.


Minor Episodes and Major Ruckus introduce The Chaos! Quincunx series.


Garry Thomas Morse is a Governor General's Award–nominated poet and fiction writer.


(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:32 -0400)

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