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Grand Junctionby Maurice G. Dantec
Synopses & Reviews
The organ is linked to the machine.
The organ: five fingers, a hand.
The machine: six strings, a metal beam.
A metal beam that vibrates with electricity coming from the copper coil attached to its base.
The hand, full of its own nervous electric impedance, moves along the taut strings of the long metal beam.
The six strings vibrate rhythmically under the pressure of the five fingers. The strings are attached to a body.
An electric body.
This body-machine produces sounds and has its own name. It even has a past, which in this world amounts to a virtual miracle.
Better still, under the hand that moves in the electrified space of the metallic strings, under the five fingers that spread starlike amid the harmonic notes, this body-machine also has a future-an even rarer commodity than a past.
We are in the Afterworld. The World After the World. And in this world, only the hand moving on the metal strings to produce sounds, to bring forth a voice, only this hand knows how to make machines sing.
It is the Healing Hand.
It is the organ that gives new life to that which has never been alive. It is the antimachine that grants the favor of Grace to the machines, though they are dying and disappearing at the same time as the creature that conceived them.
So the hand plays; it plays on the body-machine of the guitar.
And the guitar sings; it sings its own electric body.
Its electric body boasts the double coil characteristic of its make. This machine has its own name: Gibson Les Paul, 1954 model. This guitar has its own body. And a body has this guitar. A human body. He holds it between his hands, hands that run over its surface and make it sing in a multitude of magnetic frequencies.
This guitar is an instrument, and he knows what that involves: injection sense/etymology in electric language. Instrumentum, in the language that was sacred for two millennia, from the word instruere, to build inside, and by extension: to develop an instruction for a human being. Via its Indo-European roots, it means operation capable of acting on the physical world.
Nor is the instrument an object; it is really a piece of technology, a language, a machine. M¯ekhan¯e: a war machine, according to its Greek origins, it indicates the existence of an operative action that will permit the development of another machine. Flash introduction to the semantics of the organum, more or less meaning organism: in this sacred language, which disappeared well before most of the others, every instrument bears within it the organum of which it is the mechanical hand; every instrument is an organic multiplex; every instrument is a body and the man who creates or repairs it is thus an organarius. An organist. A doctor.
And that is what he is: a doctor for electric machines. And this instrument, this guitar, is a body-machine.
Volume level 10 on the amplifier, a 100-watt Marshall from the 1970s. A century old; a rarity. The riff resonates heavenward, swallowing the near-universe up in a pure shockwave of white noise, full of ferocity, at once glacial and incandescent, a thermonuclear bomb. Electricity at the fingertips-and at the other end, a human body taut with pure joy, the kind that sparkles like a snowflake falling to rest at the corner of
Like Houellebecq, Dantec takes his inspiration from both high and low brow culture; he is the sort of writer who cites Sun Tzu's Art of War and the Stooges' 'Search and Destroy' with equal facility.--New York Times
The spirit of Philip K. Dick . . . animates the heady metaphysical world of French author Maurice Dantec.--Denver Post
Dantec is] France's reigning master of cyberpunk.--Booklist
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Visionary, gripping, sumptuous and tantalizing, Grande Junction is a masterwork of hip, literary science fiction.
On October 4, 2057, most electronic devices on Earth are infected and destroyed by unknown viruses, and billions of people dependent on machine interfaces are killed as a result. Twelve years later, the survivors are sunk in a new Dark Age, a grim afterworld in which the only law is the law of the jungle.
In the sprawling ruins of Grande Junction, a thriving urban community centered on an abandoned spaceport, civilization is hanging on by its fingernails. In this last fragile outpost of knowledge and reason, hope and faith, a second wave of lethal viruses is unleashed–viruses that attack human beings directly, stripping away language, thought, humanity itself.
But it is also here that a young boy, a guitar-playing prodigy named Link de Nova, discovers within himself the power to fight a malevolent entity determined to remake the world in its own bleak image. Now, as the viruses spread and enemies converge on Grande Junction, Link and his friends and protectors, Chrysler Campbell and Yuri McCoy, prepare to fight for the survival of the human race with rifles, radios, and rock ’n’ roll.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
MAURICE G. DANTEC’s first novel, La sirne rouge (Red Siren), was published in 1993 as a part of the Série noire collection. The novel won France’s 813 award for best crime novel. His second novel, Les racines du mal (The Roots of Evil), a cyberpunk novel, was awarded France’s
Prix de l’Imaginaire. Dantec is also the author of Cosmos Incorporated and Babylon Babies.
TINA KOVER is a translator who has worked on Modern Library’s edition of Georges by Alexandre Dumas.
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