Monday, June 06, 2005


I've enjoyed Brendan Connell's tales of Dr. Black, expert extraordinaire, for quite some time. Forrest Aguirre and I took one for Leviathan 3 and I took another for Album Zutique. Each new story seems to be better than the last, and the newest of all, Dr. Black and the Guerrillia (83 pages, hardcover, Grafitisk), is available in handsome 300-copy limited edition book form direct from the author.

In the novella, Dr. Black visits San Corrados, looking for the Yaroa tribe so he can finish off his latest book. As is the usual case in Dr. Black stories, Dr. Black strides through the landscape having odd adventures and barely escaping with his life. Not only does he encounter the Yaroa, but also the guerillas who are fighting to take back the country from the corrupt general who leads it. Of course, Dr. Black becomes embroiled in their efforts.

I'd be hard-pressed to pick my favorite parts of the narrative. I mean,
the encounter while "under the influence," of some local druggery, with the God of Metanatural History ranks right up there. As does the slime molds playlet. As does the interior monologue leading up to Dr. Black's possible shooting at the hands of a firing squad. It's insanely wonderful stuff--daft, droll, and experimental in a fun way. (The book is also nicely illustrated by John Connell.) I'd also be hard-pressed to pluck an appropriate quote to entice you simply because Connell's work contains so many pleasures, so instead here are a couple of snippets...

The deity had the head of a large, tropical American edentate (Myrmecophaga jubata) attached to the pale body of a man of affairs. He spoke, not in English, but rather in a variety of Pennsylvania-German-Pali-Middle-Mexican-Persian which the doctor, an able linguist, could perfectly understand.

Black inquired as to the significance of the objects in the glass case.

"Those are your sentiments Doctor," the deity replied.

"My sentiments?"

"Your sentiments."

"And what are my sentiments doing here, might I ask?"

"This is the Heaven of Metanatural History, and it is where all the non-material parts of Earth's imminent scientists are kept for both study and display." The deity scratched its snout and then rolled out a long protrusile tongue.


"Would you like a blindfold?"

"No. I would prefer, at the moment of dissolution, to have my visual awareness entirely unimpaired." [Dr. Black replied]

The other bowed stiffly. "As you wish." He turned to the gunmen. "Ready!" he cried, opening an enormous mouthful of yellow teeth.

The doctor considering how a bullet can contain a supper of roast game...freedom...a river of sadness...the end of a noble career...travelling at two-thousand feet per second..with rifles positioned about thirty feet away...upon being fired...the projectiles would arrive in about twelve thousandths of a second...but taking into account air-resistance...partial differential equation..."


seeing: childhood = Alabama (to the sounds of Sweet Nadine: huge, crowned with red hair, her beautiful voice + his own father: a thick and elongated torso; great great great grandson of noted physician and chemist Joseph Black = discoverer of carbon dioxide...If he were killed he would sorely miss the chicken heart back at his laboratory on Long Island which he had kept alive for twenty-seven years pulsating in a solution of sea salt.

"This is unpleasant," he thought.


The book is not yet available in the US through bookstores or book catalogues, but I'm happy to be the first to announce that this limited edition (signed, numbered, illustrated, and printed using brown ink) is available from the author via his paypal account: $20 plus $3 shipping for the US if you don't mind receiving the book after July 1st, or $20 plus $10 shipping for the US if you want it shipped now. (Brendan lives in Switzerland, but is visiting the US starting July 1st--thus the difference in price.) Contact him at his email address for other arrangements, including shipping from places other than the US. No matter how you slice it, this is a steal of a price. (I hope in future to use this blog to bring your attention to other first-time or unique offers.)

Meanwhile, Brendan has submitted to the five questions...


Why should readers pick up your book as opposed to, say, just about anybody else's book?
For the very reason that it is not anyone else’s book. I wouldn’t bother writing if what I was writing was the same as everyone else was writing (clumsy second conditional sentence if ever there was one). If I were a bird I would be an eagle. That is better. Yes, pick up my book; gravitational conditions could always make you drop it again.

Does your book have any socially redeeming qualities? If so, what are they?
Actually the book is a bit “socially redeeming”. It is about revolution, righting wrongs, frying injustice. We see the softer side of Dr. Black, the famous neo-Romantic brain, and at the same time are given a rather enlightening history of the dire situation currently facing San Corrados. The beauties of nature are unfolded before us . . . screaming as they are assaulted by the brutal vampire of Modernity.

Does your book have any medicinal or mental health value to readers?
If read in the early hours of the morning, before the sun rises, it will lower your blood pressure significantly. If memorised, it will cause good things to happen. If transmitted to others, it will act as a guarantee to a good rebirth.

Assume your book has been filed under "Ages 8 to 12" in the children's section, perhaps by mistake, perhaps not. How horrified do you imagine a child would be after reading your book, and why? How many years of therapy would the child take to recover from the experience?
Oh, I think children would like it. At least boys. I am not sure about girls. I suppose it would depend on the child. But then again, girls are often more intelligent than boys. And children in general like adventure, exotic locations and such things. No need for therapy. The therapy comes with the reading, just as a can of sardines comes with a little metal key.

If no one buys your book and you are unable to continue publishing your fiction due to the intense vilification that occurs in the media, what line of work will you go into?


At 10:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brendan, I actually read your book while sitting in the doctor's waiting room, and it made my blood pressure go up, not down!!

But it was a very entertaining read. I enjoyed it. The other patients in the room looked at me every time I chuckled.

Recommended reading for all!

At 3:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And what are my sentiments doing here, might I ask?"

Once I read that part, a thing of spit flew out of my mouth from laughter onto the computer screen.

Sounds like my kind of humor!!


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