Fiction

I’ve always liked literature and from my teenage years wrote poetry and short stories, greatly influenced by the tastes of my older brother. He had a real flair for literature at university but chose to pursue psychology. I pursued art.

The attraction of movies for me was in large part for a way of combining pictures with language and stories, sound and music. It seemed the most complete of arts – still does. Even in art school I started making super-8 movies that had inter-titles or captions (there was no option for sound with super-8 movies at that time – probably still isn’t). So I was soon thinking about stories – factual or fictional – for short movies and eventually when I got to film school this was done on a more formal basis,  sitting down with others and writing properly formatted film scripts or preliminary treatments on a very tight schedule, only to watch them steadily being butchered by ‘the production process’. Script-writing continued after I left film school, either to submit for funding for independent features, or just for my own short films, funded entirely by myself (see  Filmography).  But film scripts are a very unsatisfactory, bastard form of literature. They don’t even have the status of plays, which at least stand for repeated performances, even with extensive interpretation. Film scripts are even more provisional, even more convoluted and fragmentary to read. Not surprisingly, my film scripts drifted into short stories or novellas at times, just to make for a better read. But I ‘m not offering anything from the 70s or 80s here – that would require excavating them from storage and either scanning them in as scruffy-looking PDFs or retyping them first, which I don’t have time for just now.

Instead I’m providing stories from 2006-2010, a period of great stress following my failed doctoral studies. I didn’t have a studio so I couldn’t really paint. I already had over 1200 drawings in storage and didn’t want to add to that. I hadn’t taken to digital graphics just yet. But following the protracted period of writing for the dissertation (2001-4) I was still in full writing mode and had began to blog, so I was writing a lot of casual art criticism, pretty much daily. Fiction provided a release from that as well. Some of the shorter pieces were actually written as comments for the blog They Eat Their Young, mostly from 2007. The rest were written to vent various frustrations, explore dreams or schemes. Some of the shorter pieces would probably fit on this page, but for the sake of consistency I’m presenting them all as downloadable PDFs. They’re not really presented in any order, but I’m listing the novel first – that’s kind of a big download. My favourites among the short stories are The Old Man and Lowered Guards.

1)      The Secret of World Domination (62,706w – 554KB ) a short novel – downloadable PDF

Synopsis

In a hypothetical world, a tiny and remote country called Abkr inexplicably comes to dominate scientific and economic achievements in just a hundred years. Their secret remains while the rest of the world fears Abkr’s mysterious weapons. These permanently remove objects virtually without trace. The stand-off lasts twenty five years. But when Abkr rescues the space station of other nations through the use of their own, there is a thaw in international relations.

A conference is held in the capital of Abkr, and the world’s governing council attends, along with representatives from other great nations. It is to be an eager rediscovery of the country. The council enlist the services of a retired professor, an expert in the culture and languages of Abkr, but he proves of little use. However, as he picks up the threads of a place he visited thirty years before, through old acquaintances, he slips deeper into the country without official permission. He is drawn into its internal politics, its regional and tribal factions, and their peculiar religion – Rsit – the worship of knowledge. He learns how these provide both the springboard for impressive invention and discovery, but now also profound corruption and conspiracy.

The Professor, as he is known throughout, travels from the front of the country, its prosperous plain, through a central administrative region of highland lakes to the back – the mountains of ‘The Abk’. There he sees how the furious dedication and rivalry of the rural tribesmen descend to comic and infantile levels; are carried to tragic conclusions. For these are the tribes ultimately sacrificed in Abkr’s enormous success. The Professor’s guide, a renegade militia leader or ‘private security consultant’, known as Rain Pleases, plots an escape for them, once their forbidden journey becomes known. They travel to Rain’s tribal land in the north eastern corner; the depressed mining towns of The White Clay tribe. From there they plan to cross the border over a final, high pass. But as The Professor’s personal motives become clearer and his suspicion and disillusionment grow, his participation falters. The story ends with a tragic/comic race up the icy slopes, as tribal members sing a traditional farewell.

This is a satirical allegory on international politics and global policies, and the quest for a mythic ‘grass roots’. Issues including democracy, economics, advertising, law, education and religion receive comic treatment. A more serious theme is in the importance of language, its preservation, translation and to differences between written and spoken forms. Much of the secret to the title lies here. The satire accordingly extends to literary forms, to pastiche of folk and children’s tales, academic description and paraphrase, science fiction, surreal and poetic treatments of mythic and romantic elements. The world is thus summoned not only through a geographical journey but a literary one, commencing with the flat prose of hypothesis, to end in the lyrics of folk song or prayer.

2)     The Old Man (2300w – 78KB)

3)      Lowered Guards (7629w – 175KB)

4)      The Beautiful Woman (1600w – 61KB)

5)      French Lessons  (5233w -152KB)

6)     Moses & The Seven Brokers (1363w – 62KB)

7)      Art Class ’64 (505w – 64KB)

8)      Returns (4390w – 116KB)

9)      Street Feinting Mad (189w – 55KB)

10)   Flowers of The Olde Worlde (213w – 38KB)

11)   The Curator Smiles (318w – 57KB)

12)   Scissors Rock Paper (223w – 56KB)

13)   Human Resources (1119w – 59KB)

14)   The Island of Gene Moreau – Mururoa Mon Amour (288w – 38KB)

15)   Mother Lovers  (3080w – 80KB)

16)   A Treatment (456w – 79KB)

17)   I Glass Dame Elizabeth Murdoch (482w – 45KB)

18)  The Fake  (456w –58KB) – This is the only story to have been previously published – in UK art magazine Garageland, Issue 12, 2011 – p68 . The regrettable title there was the work of the editor.

19)   Tim G Speaks (374w – 77KB)

20)   Manmade (578w – 54KB)

21)   Superfantastic (289w -57KB )

22)  The American Inquisition (256w – 76KB)

23)   The Big Map of Accepted Borders for Orphan Jesus (296w – 64KB)

24)   J&M: The Ultimate Remix (268w – 57KB)

25)  Poems 78-82 Revisited (2017) – (7,773w – 21 poems, 50 pages -265KB)

Posted 06/10/2012 by gerrybellart

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