The natives are restless… or… Something Wiki This Way Comes.

Many years ago, so many in fact that I just became depressed trying to figure out how many it was, I went to a Lollapalooza concert in Saratoga Springs. There were, of course, multiple stages and kiosks and pseudo-hippies trying to convince themselves that this was like Woodstock, only better, and that the 60s were, like, coming back, man. What always stuck out for me though, was the a large metal structure, a sort of giant skelatol cube shape that had pots and pans and garbage can lids tied to it. There were collanders, hub caps and giant springs. There were baking sheets, pipes and kitchen sinks. All of these metal objects were tied to this metal skeleton that rose probably 12 feet in the air and was at least that wide on all four sides. And around it, surrounding it, beating on it, were dozens of people. Someone handed out drum-sticks and this group of strangers beat the living daylights out of these metal pieces, these broken parts of cars, kitchen and the underbellies of homes. Instinct drove the swinging of the sticks and what came out had a rhythm, slowly moving, shifting, constantly evolving. For a moment someone with a heavier hand would control the sound, his beat making others adjust to him, but only for a few seconds.
Bam-bam-bum, bam-bam-bum, bam-bah-beh, beh-beh-bu-bu, beh-beh-bu-bu…
It went on and on. It didn’t stay in any place for too long, and it was a machine-like frenzy, a tribalesque mash of needing to be a part of it, of wanting to belong, without thought, without judging. Some lead, others follow, then lead, then follow. It never stopped, the entire time I was there which was roughly twelve hours. Sometimes people drifted away, the sound shrank, but wouldn’t die. At one point I walked by and saw barely 10 people working at the now horribly mis-shapen pieces of scrap. It was being pounded into the ground, I thought. When they clean up, they won’t even need to take that, it will be buried. Later, after the sun was gone and little light shone in the trees where the metal had been placed I could hear the hollering and crashing of dozens, again, working the metal.
Was it music? I don’t know. It was hypnotic. It was strangely attractive. But in the end, it was uncontrolled, and an exercise is release more than a controlled artistic statement.
Penguin, it seems to me, is doing the same thing here: A wiki-novel. It’s unreadable, or easily readable, if you simply want to jump in wherever. I suggest reading it backward, that way you can start with the last line (currently last line, as I type this) which is (was, will be) “The nuclear bomb exploded, ending all life on Earth.” When Penguin cleans up and moves on, I don’t think they’ll take this “novel” with them. It will be buried.

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