Book Review: The Age of Wire and String

The reality of which Ben Marcus writes his stories in The Age of Wire and String are so unbelievably intriguing. I get a sense that I am reading something that would be found in the Twilight Zone. There are supernatural undertones in his writing and to each ultimately different narrative.

In Land on floating Island of the Gods I like the line “Then from the sky a man hurtles downward, the sound of the gods washing past him like colored wind, his fingers twisting in elaborate shapes of speech”. The story makes human existence unimportant in the life of the gods. They can’t hear humans in their atmosphere and they definitely can’t see them. This angle of them makes me wonder why we spend so much time wondering about them when they are not interested in what we have to say.

I also like the Swimming, Stictly an Inscription. The way it talks of people in life are “waiting for an open grave” by dousing too dangerously with things they cannot handle.

The imagination of the descriptions of the terms at the end of each section forced me to reread some of the stories so I couldn’t try to get a picture. I almost feel like the terms would have been more helpful if they were displayed before each section instead of at the end. My favorite description is the fudge girdle. Besides being cooked onto the body, “at fights and thrashings, the fiend is consumed through the girdle”. I find the terms somewhat more entertaining themselves than the stories.

I think most importantly this book reminds me of the exercise I had worked on last spring in which we took our story and translated it into other languages and finally back into english. I don’t recall the name of this exercise. Whereas we used the simple aspect of this exercise I feel that Marcus is at the extremes.


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