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The Medusa Frequency Paperback – 7 Oct 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; New edition edition (7 Oct 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747559090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747559092
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 630,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

'Entirely captivating' -- Time Out

'No matter how far Hoban's imagination goes, his books are always convincing, beautifully written and charged with narrative momentum' -- The Observer

'Russell Hoban is our Ur-novelist, a maverick voice that is like no other' -- Sunday Telegraph

'Russell Hoban is unclassifiable ... he is an original; imaginative and inventive' -- Sunday Times

'Short, smart and fizzy, the novel seeks out the roots of creativity with none of the solemnity that phrase implies' -- New Statesman

About the Author

Russell Hoban is the author of many extraordinary novels including TURTLE DIARY, THE LION OF BOAZ-JACHIN AND JACHIN-BOAZ, KLEINZEIT, PILGERMANN, ANGELICA'S GROTTO and AMARYLLIS NIGHT AND DAY, all available from Bloomsbury. He has also written some classic books for children including THE MOUSE AND HIS CHILD and THE FRANCES books. He lives in London.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Oct 1998
Format: Paperback
Buy it now! It's short, amazing fun and contains some jaw-dropping scenes. For many that have bother to read all of Russell Hoban's adult books (not just Riddley Walker), this is the best (they are, however, all good). A seemingly inocuous tale of a comic-book writers creative block and pursuit by the disembodied head of Orpheus has the subtle power to haunt you into re-reading it and discovering new depths to its reality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paul Bowes TOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 July 2012
Format: Paperback
'The Medusa Frequency', published in 1987, is one of Russell Hoban's almost unclassifiable fictions for adults. It might be described as a serious comedy; a comic fantasia on the sources of art and the relationships between men and women, drawing on elements of legend and fable but set in a computerised late-'80s London; combining a realistic narrative about a writer stuck in the world of commercial work with a surrealistic adventure in search of a lost woman and artistic inspiration.

Hoban combines these disparate elements with a sure and light touch, recognising the potential silliness of some of the material - the head of Orpheus manifesting in the form of a rotten cabbage or a football, the farcical discovery of a woman's multiple lovers - and drawing out the humorous potential. The result is an entertaining farrago that makes some serious points. Hoban is one of the most interesting writers of his period, and deserves to be known as more than just the author of his most famous book, 'Riddley Walker'. This would be a good start for anybody looking to explore.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a most interesting little book. It is lots of fun with much quirkiness and irony but there is more going on. There may be some culturally specific references that, over time, may gather some obscurity but on the whole, this will stand the test of time. The story hinges around what happens to a creative person when their creativity dries up? Crazy things might happen but is he mad or just desperate?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Hoban is back! 29 Nov 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Since first reading Hoban's Riddley Walker almost twenty years ago, I have searched for other books that spoke as well to the cynical, questing artistic soul at the end of the twentieth century. They have been few, and rare, and mostly out of print in America. I approached this work with trepidation, fearing that it could not match the charm and spirit of this author's seminal masterpiece. I was wrong. From the first NNVSNU TSRUNGH, The Medusa Frequency establishes a new paradox of myth and machine, leading its reader, and its hero, through a humorous quest for true love, true work, and the meaning of life. The hero, Herman Orff, is a novelist without profit who writes classic comics for a living. After a late-night conversation from his computer monitor puts him in touch with a primordial reality, the comfortable fabric of his reality begins to unravel. His visit to a musician of his acquaintance leads him into another electronic encounter, with subsequent and unpredictable visits from the drowned head of Orpheus. His job writing comic books is terminated when the editor decides to "go glossy," trading the comic series for an x-rated magazine of classical Greek themes. Throughout, Herman is enticed by curiosity about the fate of his lost love, Luise, although he eagerly pursues the the prospect of a new love in one Melanie Falsepercy, whose legs speak to his soul. Vermeer's Head of a Young Girl and Eurydice of the Orpheus legend also compete for Herman's attention--and understanding. Herman's quest and the resolution of his contemporary dilemma remain quixotic--and strangely satisfying. As one might expect, Hoban's love of words and language give richness to this tale and extend its influence to the subliminal pleasures of certain sounds and rhythms. While this work does not surpass Riddley Walker, with its masterful re-creation of the English language, it brings a delightful, and humorous new perspective to life in our times.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Hoban keeps getting better and better! 28 Mar 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Although Russell Hoban will always be listed as 'author of Mouse and his Child, Turtle Diary and Riddley Walker', books like Medusa Frequency (and Pilgermann as well) give evidence that Hoban is not merely an author with a few great books up his sleeve but one who continues to hammer out a treatice on the heart of human experience, and it is one which becomes more precise with each outing. Though only half the size of Riddley Walker, The Medusa Frequency examines universal/archetypal themes through dark humor and mythological allegory. Because Hoban is a real master of language, not stopping with where the meaning of words cut off, but moving beyond them, he seemingly accomplishes more then Jung does over thousands of pages. It feels weird to be comparing fiction to authors like D.T. Suzuki, but the quote in regards to the latter: "he combined the innocence of a child with the holiness of a saint." could easily be applied to Hoban; easily one of the best authors still writing.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Intensely moving. This is very beautiful. 20 Dec 2007
By Jamie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A friend recommended Riddley Walker, but I couldn't find it so I picked this book off the shelf instead. I had no idea what to expect, the first few pages of a book are always a little hard for me to invest in, but I tell you I'm so, so happy that I didn't walk away.

I'm amazing that such an incredible writer has not gotten more attention. This book is beautiful, infused with mythology, and so incredibly poignant. I haven't read Riddley Walker, but even if The Medusa Frequency doesn't meet those standards-- it definitely breaks the lukewarm standards of books of thousands of lukewarm books that are in print right now.

It feels like the universe, existential human worries, and the most beautiful love all coming together.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Hoban rocks! 15 Dec 2011
By John Gough - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Why is Russell Hoban not better known as a remarkable adult experimental novelist, and cultural thinker?

In The Medusa Frequency, the protagonist receives messages on his Apple computer from the Kraken, who, naturally for a creature of Scandinavian myth (a sea monster, as alluded to in John Wyndham's sci-fi classic "The Kraken Wakes"), begins to tell a mythic story about a cryptic "hero".
This is eventually turned into an adult superhero comic, printed on the back panels of cereal packets - art as down-to-earth as marmalade and bran!
Hoban has no illusions about the dubious significance of high art within a world dominated by popular low culture.

FAR, FAR DOWN IN THE DEEPEST DEPTHS OF THE HURGO MURMUS LIVES NNVSNU THE TSRUNGH ...
ALONE IN THE BLACKNESS, THINKING, THINKING IN THE BLACKNESS OF THE ULTIMATE DEEP ...
THINKING VIOLENTLY ... OF GOING AFTER WHOEVER PULLED THE GREAT SNYUKH ...
THE BLUG OF NEXO VOLLMA ... NEXO VOLLMA IS THE BLUGHOLE OF THE UNIVERSE ...
THE DEEPLY BAD ONES DID IT ...
THEY WANTED TO HEAR THE BIG WHOOSH ...
THE BLUGHOLE IS WHERE THE MOTHERCODE IS TRANSMITTED FROM AND THE TRANSMISSION MUSTN'T STOP ...
IN THE BLACKNESS NNVSNU THE TSRUNGH TRANSMITS THE MOTHERCODE;
SPINNING HIS MIND LIKE A PRAYER WHEEL HE REVOLVES CONTINUALLY THE NUMINOSITIES AND NEXIALITIES THAT COMMUNICATE THE UNIVERSE TO ITSELF ...
WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HERE IS A SPACE-TIME SINGULARITY WHICH IS IN FACT A NEURON OF THE COSMIC MIND TO WHICH THIS UNIVERSE HAS OCCURRED
(pp 130 - 132 - capitalised in the original).

Fictitious children in a Hoban CHILDREN'S story invent a character called Bembel Rudzuk (who reappears as a major character in Hoban's adult historical novel "Pilgerman") and an edible earth's core (a great pun in the childrem's book!):
-- the mythical Kraken in the adult story invents a character called NNVSNU THE TSRUNGH and a "blughole" of the universe, "transmitting the mothercode".
Hoban's work, whether for adult or child, is of a piece with his other books, such as the post-holocaust Riddley Walker with its Alice-in-Wonderland distorted language, and Pilgerman, speaking with Death in a Medieval children's crusade, and seeing his own death as a young man, a son, meditating on Vermeer, Bosch and the Fall of Antioch.
Lavinia Bat's winter dream, in which night is "a lantern-globe of sound ... lit with the color of the wind, the rolling of the earth, the starfires of crickets ... [making] a gentle hissing as it turned in space and all its skies turned with it", from which she hears the whispered message, "Pass it on ... the something from the other ... the other dream".
This is the same trance-vision in which Herman Orff, in "The Medusa Frequency" speaks with the head of Orpheus, and reads messages from the Kraken on his computer screen.

Alas, too late for a Nobel: they aren't awarded posthumously!

John Gough -- Deakin University -- jagough49@gmail.com
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