And Your Point Is?: Scorn and Meaning in Jeff Lint's Fiction
Click on image to enlarge.
by Steve Aylett
Category: Science Fiction/Humor
Description: This follow-up to Lint, the biography of cult author Jeff Lint, delves deeper into the psychosis of the seminal writer's work. This series of essays and reviews from around the globe, representing decades of study, is being presented for the first time in collected form. A must have for collectors, students, imitators, and stalkers alike. Contributors include Steve Aylett, Eileen Welsome, Arkhipov Halt, Daniel Guyal, Chris Diana, Alfred Bork, Michael H. Hersh, George Cane, Dennis Ofstein, and Jean-Marie Guerin.
eBook Publisher: Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2006 2006
eBookwise Release Date: October 2007
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [133 KB]
Reading time: 74-104 min.
"Aylett writes sentences that come from another dimension, sentences that would make William S. Burroughs reach for the needle in an attempt to regain a foothold in reality."--The Agony Column
"Having met Jeff Lint, I always feel a tinge of regret when I browse the typically unappetising fare on offer on the SF shelves at my local Waterstones, but, until he actually somehow sidles his way into reality, we at least have Steve Aylett."--The Zone
"Nonsense has never been as pointed or as fun..."--Jeff Vandermeer, SFSite
JEFF LINT SAID in interview that many authors' creation of 'understandable' characters who are a kind of 'hollow' each reader was supposed to occupy, soon left him aggravated as a reader: 'I will want to turn left and the character will turn right; I would ignore but the character obeys; I would destroy an argument but the character is blandly convinced and wastes years of his life. As a reader I find myself locked within an automaton I cannot control, which will never do what I would do (even by chance), and which provides no nourishment.' Lint's idea of an acceptable hero was a spider with multiple eyes like rally car headlights who, when issued an order, would jet tears of mirth from the entire bank of eyes and tell a friend later while adapting a submarine for spaceflight: 'I hadn't the heart to obey such a moron.'
Alfred Bork has called Lint's writing 'pointillist' and I think this derives from the fact that every single sentence comes directly at you. Each point is the head of a thread, a retrievable plumb-line of information. But few have taken up the option to draw on such threads. Critics who momentarily subjected themselves to the rigors of Lint's flaying, vortical screeds would quickly withdraw and resort to condemning books such as Jelly Result for being 'made up from beginning to end,' an argument which required such a faux-jaded powering-down of their own faculties that the energy required to advance it could barely be mustered.
It seems Lint's day was incomplete until he had scavenged the treasure-trove of truths discarded by fashion as worthless, arranged them into meaning swarms (a practice similar to bit torrenting but utilizing revolutions miniaturized to the size of full-sized ones' effectiveness) and tricked out the interior with ingeniously embedded lights, dragon glass and characters who 'interrupt the world' with a cough of honesty at the least convenient moment. No doubt is left that Earth is circling the drain. Sunlight dawns without realization--it's always the same light. Enough of this hammering can turn the untrained head into undifferentiated dissent goop, a sort of sub-resentment squantum which may result in you blurting aloud on the bus 'so I'm the eel in this equation.' There are passages where Lint has clearly decided it wouldn't be a bad idea to live as an undisturbed cobweb on the moon or as a mudfish, gelid and pulsating. A premonition or a preview? He seems to have anticipated the unlivable conditions humanity would soon attain.
So much has been written elsewhere about Lint's novels (not least in my own book LINT) that I've mostly chosen pieces which deal with his shorter fiction. These writers and journalists should be applauded for tackling Lint's work because, damn.