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The Medusa Frequency Paperback – 7 Oct 2002
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'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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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.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
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 -- email@example.com
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.