Reviewed by New Pop Lit
I had thought I could still make this a story of the revolution, and I do want to. You can see our society has crumbled; made all kinds of horrendous mistakes. Turned us into almost-robots, and all sorts of other things. The shadow of the real …
AS A WRITER Robin Dunn gets away with more than he should.
His ideas are amazingly complex and his imagination is off the charts. He confines himself to no set world or existence– you’re never sure if he’s writing about this dimension or another; about futuristic London or today’s Los Angeles. Or both, at once.
London is the Big Smoke and here in my apartment that is finally its clearest and most literal manifestation, its ultimate meaning: thousands of megatons of pulverized scrap, rubber wood, paper, plastic, silicon, concrete and glass, churning into the sky. In black waves.
(Something devastating has taken place. Or is taking place.)
Where are we? What are our bearings?
My dream self is in an office, working on a poem. Outside, in fantastically bright yellow sunlight, skimpy trees shake in the wind, and brightly polished autos blind me through the window.
The feeling conveyed when reading the Dunn novel is akin to awakening from a dream– half your head in this world, the other in some magical land you just left.
Robin Dunn creates these effects with clarity and beauty.
I’m not precisely sure what genre this novel properly belongs in. Science fiction?
Even if I am a mad scientist, I am still a scientist. I am doing it for you. So that you will know what I have found.
Doesn’t seem technical enough.
Cutting-edge science fiction. Next-level thinking.
Literary? Experimental? Avant-garde?
And what of the forgotten stories? The palimpsests and the echoes encoded into a million tales, each of our words, infinite? Who owns them?
Perhaps Dunn is chiefly a poet.
What’s This isn’t one of the stories I remember about? Part of the magic of reading it is figuring that out.
Is their being something which will retain some marker in the paste of spacetime to insist that its unity and direction, its values and castles and eons– all of it– are true and worthwhile, even inevitable?
Underlining all is commentary, on Dunn’s fictional world, and ours.
While This isn’t is not a novel for everybody, if you’re bored with the usual– if you desire to take your head to unusual places, without dropping acid, and sample one of the more unusually talented writers on this planet– then it’s worth a look.
Information on Robin Wyatt Dunn’s books is available here.
Audio of Robin Dunn reading from this book can be heard here.
(Photo of Robin Dunn.)