a + 30 + a’

I hadn’t read John McDaid since his seminal hypertext fiction Uncle Buddy’s Phantom Funhouse helped push me out of traditional literary studies onto the track I’m on now. Eight years ago maybe? Then this week Boing Boing enthusiasically blogged “Keyboard Practice, Consisting of an Aria with Diverse Variations for the Harpsichord with Two Manuals,” one of McDaid’s short stories. Since it caught me in that rare moment when I have just finished a book on the train to work and have nothing to read on the ride home and it was available for download I thought I’d give it a try. Well well well. I gotta agree with Cory. This is one hell of a story. You have to think McDaid is familiar with Richard Power’s Goldbug Variations (especially given his epigrammatic mention of gene sequences), the only other story I know so self-consciously influenced by Bach’s Goldberg Variations. I dare not try to wring a synoposis from either. Suffice to say that McDaid ably turns the reader into a rapt listener at a futuristic piano recital. It is a beautiful, lyrical story. Frankly I don’t remember his prose being so textured, but maybe that’s because I was too enamored of the medium back in the Uncle Buddy Hypercard days. In any event, this is worth your time. Pop Glenn Gould on too, if you have it. Download here.

2 Responses to “a + 30 + a’”

  1. GC says :

    I prefer “Where’s Goldbug” also known as Richard Scarry’s “Cars and Trucks and Things that Go.”

  2. John says :

    Well, there’s that too, yes. Poe’s great story is part of this reference-fest too, of course.