Platterland

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Rob Hunter, 2010 - Fiction - 368 pages
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Lechery, debauchery, total annihilation, blood and mud-the usual stuff as two prime movers contend for power. Not power to do anything in particular-threaten, coerce, destroy: illuminate a city, tighten the skeins of a siege engine, or wind up the bowels of a child's clockwork toy-just power to have around. Just in case. Just the familiar, reassuring bulge of potential, there to quiet unease was not much to ask. But who to ask? -The Return of the Orange Virgin from Platterland
 

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The author calls it a “hypertext puzzle box.” And so it is. Certainly “The Orange Virgin” is a quandary box filled with the clutter of a well stocked mind made redundant by an errant world devoid of the classicism once imparted to a tender youth through a stern apprenticeship to Greek and Latin Masters frequently mistaken, though no more, for Antarctic birds. But here is a sweet offering called Platterland, by Rob Hunter. It’s sub-headed You Will Be Happy Here more in anticipation than trepidation, one imagines. In it a clash of titans fills the foreground as the earth goddess and sky demon jostle one another back into their proper dominions. A lavish palimpsest of characters spatters the way, like the texture of a well painted flat, rich in hue and vast in breadth while the depth leaves the reader breathless. Call it Ulysses in Willipaq or the Decimated Decameron. Hell, it’s really Shakes’ comic countrymen gathered in a giddy fête to gigue around the good old phallus. Lots of slap the stick humor. The image of a thousand clowns emerging from a VW or a deux chevaux is commonplace. Conjure the effort of stuffing the 957th clown in! In the 30 years Rob struggled to create his Parnassus he must have felt like that when he wasn’t envying the easy life of Laocoön. Golems dance with demiurges to the heady rhythms of cigar chomping manticores while Ur Goats nod and udderful bulls bellow to be milked though they know not where.
Notice must be taken of the cover art by Anna Wilkenfeld. Two of Swords distils Platterland – You’ll Be Happy Here to a heady liquor while serendipitously capturing the current political scene.
But there is more. Nine stories more, sort of like this:
What is alien? Perhaps no more than your full on normal point of view, but seen out of the corner of another’s eye?
So a Fixer says to the Golem behind the bar somewhere in the Larger Magellanic Cloud: Which way to the Poconos?
Now appearing nightly: Ernie Kovacs and Arnold Stang in “King of the Wood” the new off-off Willipaq hit play from the Golden Bough. “Three smashed thumbs!!!” — The Carpenter of Kennebunkport. “Huh?” — Burt and I. “Nertz” — Unperiodic Variety.
Who was that white suited dude with the handlebars?
You mean a mustache?
One of those too.
Was he driving a late model Fulton Riverboat?
No he was in the subway. In Milan.
Oh, Mark Twain.
Memory is the available time machine. Our own Doc Wonmug dials the relevant and irreverent past to show: ‘here be dragon.’
But, seriously folks … Rob Hunter has assembled a delicious assortment of adventures with an interstellar cast of characters including Flyin’ Ed. Those of you who have read Rob’s work before will dispute my clumsy attempts above to assault the flavor of Rob’s wit, imagination and sheer narrative dazzlement. Those who don’t know Rob’s work … first I envy them the encounter whose consummation is devoutly to be hurried to commencement and savored in the repletion during. There is no second because you are already clicking on the handy order form. –ml
 

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Contents

Title Page
4
Orange Virgin Introduction
7
The Entertainments TOC
8
The Contrapuntal Mind
11
Two of Swords
12
The Francher
27
Mark Twain in Milan
42
Platterland
77
Daphne Longhandles Last Flight
112
The Tirewoman Gabriel
123
The Death of James A Garfield
136
The Return of the Orange Virgin
151
Epigraph
349
How the Orange Virgin Came to Be
350
Dramatis Personae
351
A Brief History of the Author
354

McMuckle Makes a Minyan
87
A Modest Proposal
99
Chimaera Constant
100
Acknowledgements
355
About this Title
356
Podcasting and MP3 Audio
358

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