- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Codex (10 Nov. 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1899598162
- ISBN-13: 978-1899598168
- Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.3 x 1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,262,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Cobralingus Paperback – Illustrated, 10 Nov 2000
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Top Customer Reviews
I have felt that for some time now, Jeff Noon has been wrestling against the success of his first novel, the cybersurreal cult classic, 'Vurt'. For me, he finally reached escape velocity with the excellent 'Needle In The Groove', a book that received a lukewarm reception from many of the 'Vurties' out there, representing as it did, a departure from his trip-fi roots. Needle is however (in my opinion at least) is twice the book 'Vurt' ever was, sealing Noon's place as one of the most talented and adventurous British writers of the past ten years.
'Cobralingus' takes Needle's experimental text/rhythm structure and pushes it to its limits. Noon plucks samples from classic literature, cuts in filters or 'gates' such as 'overload', 'ghost' and 'add virus', processes which strip the text to it's bare bones, or pump it up to (and often beyond) breaking point. Noon mixes in more samples, the periodic table, the shipping forecast, keeping the words and meaning liquid, always extracting, reducing, focusing, distorting, finding new rhythms in the emerging forms, pushing and cutting the text forward, into the next remix. Cobralingus. A brave and intelligent book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is a book that has grown on me over time, and today I'm very glad I kept it around. It's the kind I often return to to read a short section, a single "poem", which leaves me sitting lost in thought for a while.
These are unusual poems that can be seen in their various stages of life, each equally presented as a final piece. Like a computer program or a DJ processing a sample of sound, a text snippet is passed through various filters and processes that re-arrange, sometimes wildly, the content to create various stages of the poems evolution. These are not just the output of some computer randomizer however, the processes are to my mind much more creative and human than could be achieved by software. Some do things like mix up all the words which is fairly easy, but others do things like "Find A Story" from a jumble of words, which obviously involves a lot more decision making and creativity from the author.
Just as in modern music samples, the source material covers a huge range, from serious literature such as Shakespeare, to pedestrain things like "things that happened to Jeff Noon today". The results are always amazing and inspiring, both for the actual content, creativity and beauty in the text, as well as the concepts used for types of manipulation.
This is one of the most creatively inspiring books i own, from someone very interested in poetry, systems processing, modern art, modern music, deconstruction, etc.
After explaining the game's process and offering a key to the rules, what Noon terms "filter gates," the writer serves up 10 example stories, starting with the original, or inlet, text -- and stepping through the process until the resulting outlet text arrives. It's a fascinating, albeit occasionally confusing and mind-bending process, but the end results are wonderful. At the end, Noon divulges his source texts, which range from a 1591 madrigal to a BBC shipping forecast transmitted in 1999.
This is a book for readers, but it is also a book for writers. The text -- and the game -- made me want to write. And should I develop writers block, I now have a new game-like process I can use to get back on the horse and ride.
I have no doubt that he will have a new "Story" book out very soon, but I believe his point with this offering was to show us readers the style behind his extremely picturesque word usage, that has developed throughout his career.
It is clever, witty, and an extremely interesting peice of literature - and in using the word literature, I mean exactly that - this is no pulp sci-fi, this is a work of pure art, and should be viewed as such with open eyes - do so, and you will be amazed. Well done Mr Noon, very well done.