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Old 11th August 2005, 04:01 PM   #1
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Strangest Book of Fiction You've Ever Read?

I was watching the (wonderful) British TV series, "As Time Goes By". In one episode, Lionel, an author, is bored, so his agent Alistair gets him something to do: to adapt Thunder and the Moon, by the major Romanian author, Eugeniev Antonsecu, into a play.

We get to know a bit about the book. The opening sentences are Giorgi the shepard proclaiming: "I am alone with my sheep. But my sheep are not alone with me."

By the middle of the book, Ion (Giorgi's relative) is put in an asylum for burning barns, his wife barricades herself and threathens to starve herself to death unless he is released, and Giorgi's sheep start behaving strangely.

In the end they all end up in an asylum, except for Giorgi, who turns into a sheep: the last sentence in the book is, "We sheep are not alone."

I think we've all read books like that, only in real life. Anybody?
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Old 11th August 2005, 04:44 PM   #2
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Okay, I'll bite.

I only read this book once and it was for a course in college about thirty years ago. However, it has remained my touchstone for a totally incomprehensible book: The Confessions of Zeno by Italo Svevo. Now it could be that I would read it again now, and say, "Oh, I get it!" but I seriously doubt it. The only thing I really remember is the main character continually obsessing about other people's "little behinds."
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Old 11th August 2005, 05:08 PM   #3
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Sos the Rope, by Piers Anthony:

http://www.iblist.com/book5638.htm

Quote:
In a future America, the Crazies live unseen in metal caves, providing goods and weapons free to the nomadic Tribes. Each tribesman has a 3-letter name and practices one of the six weapons: sword, staff, sticks, daggers, club or morning star. Battles in the Circle decide all arguments. In Sos the Rope, first of the Battle Circle trilogy, a man loses his name and right to weapons, leading him ultimately to seek out the riddle of the Crazies' mountain.
I read it back when I was sixteen... that was like twenty years ago and I still remember it. It was THAT freaky.

I remember the part where the one warrior guy gets his hand chopped off in a battle, so he replaces it with a glockenspiel... yes, a glockenspiel... for a hand.
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Old 11th August 2005, 05:29 PM   #4
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Being a big Sci-Fi fan....I'd heard for years that Samuel DeLaney's Dhalgren was considered a genre classic, but had never read it.
Finally found a used paperback in a bookstore for 50 cents, and picked it up.

When I got done, I said to myself, "what the hell was that about?"

Had much the same opinion of Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep. Read it the first time many years ago, and it left me shaking my head. Re-read it after BladeRunner came out, hoping with age and experience I would divine it's message.
Alas, it was just as obscure the second time through.
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Old 11th August 2005, 06:29 PM   #5
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Either Joyce's 'Ulysses' or 'Finnegans Wake'. Sheesh, 'Ulysses' gave me the biggest headache....
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Old 12th August 2005, 07:14 AM   #6
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The Bible. Some of the stories are really unbelievable.
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Old 12th August 2005, 10:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bikewer
Being a big Sci-Fi fan....I'd heard for years that Samuel DeLaney's Dhalgren was considered a genre classic, but had never read it.
Finally found a used paperback in a bookstore for 50 cents, and picked it up.

When I got done, I said to myself, "what the hell was that about?"

I read "Dhalgren" while I was in college (20+ years ago) and, while I agree with your WTF assessment, there are passages and images from that book that are still very vivid to me today. No, I wouldn't say I liked it, but it stuck with me, which is more than I can say for about 90% of the sci-fi stuff I've read over the years.
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Old 12th August 2005, 08:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bikewer
Had much the same opinion of Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep. Read it the first time many years ago, and it left me shaking my head. Re-read it after BladeRunner came out, hoping with age and experience I would divine it's message.
Alas, it was just as obscure the second time through.
That seems odd to me, because I find DADOES fairly straightforward.

Now, if you want an opaque PKD book, try The Unteleported Man.
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Old 14th August 2005, 03:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Psiload
Sos the Rope, by Piers Anthony:

http://www.iblist.com/book5638.htm



I read it back when I was sixteen... that was like twenty years ago and I still remember it. It was THAT freaky.

I remember the part where the one warrior guy gets his hand chopped off in a battle, so he replaces it with a glockenspiel... yes, a glockenspiel... for a hand.
You have to keep up with the series. Move on to Neq the Sword and Var the Stick. Thats when they get real strange and it all comes together.

At Least Piers Anthony had the good taste to end the series.

His "Orn, OX, Ominivore" and "Tarot" books make the "Battlecircle" stuff look tame

Strangest books.

1. The New York Trilogy, by Paul Auster.
2. House of Leaves, By Mark Z. Danielewski
3. V, by Thomas Pynchon
4. The Illumanati Trilogy, Robert Anton Wilson, Robert Shea

I would include "Infinite Jest" by David Foster Wallace, but I can't seem to ever finish it
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Old 15th August 2005, 03:54 AM   #10
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Det myke landskapet (The soft landscape) - Jon Bing, 1970

SF on acid.
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Old 15th August 2005, 05:53 AM   #11
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Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
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Old 15th August 2005, 06:52 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by thrombus29
I would include "Infinite Jest" by David Foster Wallace, but I can't seem to ever finish it
I may be the only person who has ever actually read "Infinite Jest" from cover to cover (inluding the several hundred pages of footnotes) . . . and absolutely LOVED it. (Note my user ID) Yes, it's totally insane (as is, I strongly suspect, Wallace) but it has a permanent place in my all-time top 5.
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Old 15th August 2005, 03:22 PM   #13
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I eventually gave up on Umberto Eco's "The Island of the Day Before".

I tried. I really, really tried. But...when you have to read every paragraph four times to get the gist, it becomes a little wearing!
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Old 15th August 2005, 03:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by infinite*jest
I may be the only person who has ever actually read "Infinite Jest" from cover to cover (inluding the several hundred pages of footnotes) . . . and absolutely LOVED it. (Note my user ID) Yes, it's totally insane (as is, I strongly suspect, Wallace) but it has a permanent place in my all-time top 5.
That book is my Albatross, I am going to lock myself in a room untill I finish it one day.
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Old 16th August 2005, 06:31 AM   #15
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Originally posted by hgc
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
Loved this one too. Hmmm......seems to be a pattern here. I like the books everyone else hates. Don't know what that says about me . . .

My nominee for "strange" would be Time Enough for Love by Robert Heinlein. A mastubatory fantasy of living forever and screwing your mother. I love Heinlein's early sci-fi work, but he seemed to have lost all restraint in his old age.
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Old 16th August 2005, 08:43 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by infinite*jest
Loved this one too. Hmmm......seems to be a pattern here. I like the books everyone else hates. Don't know what that says about me . . .
Don't get me wrong. I also loved Geek Love. I've never met a person who's read it who didn't love it.
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Old 17th August 2005, 09:34 AM   #17
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Les fourmis by Bernard Werber.
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Old 18th August 2005, 02:01 AM   #18
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The Mothman Prophecies. Found time to read it in grad school. Crazy.
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Old 18th August 2005, 07:40 AM   #19
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The strangest books I've read would probably be the Armageddon series by Robert Rankin (Armageddon: The Musical, They Came And Ate Us - Armageddon II: The B-movie, The Suburban Book of The Dead - Armageddon III: The Remake).

This trilogy includes such things as:

A time-travelling Elvis
Barry the Time Sprout, who lives in Elvis' head
Rex Mundi, husband of
Christine Christ, written out of the Bible as her twin brother
Jesus, had editorial control

plus my favourite Rankin quote - And Elvis said unto Eve, "Put down the apple and back away from the tree".

Highly recommended.


Nearly forgot "Barefoot In The Head" by Brian Aldiss.
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Old 18th August 2005, 12:42 PM   #20
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i guess it all depends on what you mean by 'strange' and what you mean by 'fiction.'


but, as far as fiction, 'ulysses' by joyce was a bit strange to me.

and for science fiction (and what do you mean by that?) i guess i would have to chose 'animal farm' by orwell. something about talking animals i've always felt was a little off....
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Old 19th August 2005, 02:21 PM   #21
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SteveW wrote:
Quote:
The Bible. Some of the stories are really unbelievable
Funny!!

Stangest Book? I'd say anything by Ray Bradbury.
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Old 19th August 2005, 07:19 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by bighairygoat
The strangest books I've read would probably be the Armageddon series by Robert Rankin (Armageddon: The Musical, They Came And Ate Us - Armageddon II: The B-movie, The Suburban Book of The Dead - Armageddon III: The Remake).

This trilogy includes such things as:

A time-travelling Elvis
Barry the Time Sprout, who lives in Elvis' head
Rex Mundi, husband of
Christine Christ, written out of the Bible as her twin brother
Jesus, had editorial control

plus my favourite Rankin quote - And Elvis said unto Eve, "Put down the apple and back away from the tree".

Highly recommended.

Second that recommendation!
Rankin is truly nuts and very entertaining!
Try out "The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies Of The Apocalypse" for even more absurd fiction.
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Old 20th August 2005, 01:39 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by thrombus29
3. V, by Thomas Pynchon
I've tried a couple of his, and failed both times, a long time ago. Very weird, for someone who once thought they were weirdness-tolerant. I mean, I was a William Burroughs fan for a while there, but Pynchon lost me completely.

Weird stories, weird style.
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Old 20th August 2005, 05:17 PM   #24
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"Going After Cacciato" by Tim O'Brien

It's a great book that starts off in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. I highly recommend it.
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Old 21st August 2005, 06:09 AM   #25
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I just remembered this one:

The Playtpus of Doom (and other nihilists). Very odd, with references to Sherlock Holmes, and "the race of godlike men". among other things.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...glance&s=books
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Old 21st August 2005, 07:18 PM   #26
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No Vonnegut? The only thing I have read of his is Breakfast of Champions and it certainly is at the top of the list. Kafka would be up there as well.
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Old 14th September 2005, 04:23 AM   #27
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Great Apes by Will Self

Man goes to sleep one night, wakes up in the morning, everyone else in the world is a chimpanzee and he soon realizes that he is too.

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Old 14th September 2005, 04:39 AM   #28
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A living soul, P.C. Jersild.

The narrator is a brain in a tank. He (or she) has eyes and ears, and that's about it.
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Old 14th September 2005, 05:01 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by balrog666
Second that recommendation!
Rankin is truly nuts and very entertaining!
Try out "The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies Of The Apocalypse" for even more absurd fiction.
I third that recommendation!

Rankin is an acquired taste, probably better not to have acquired.

I'll see your chocolate bunnies and raise you a "Sprouts of wrath" and a "Sex, drugs and sausage rolls".
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Old 14th September 2005, 08:05 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dylab
Kafka would be up there as well.
Kafka's short story The Insect. That did it for me.

Harrison's short stories (Things That Never Happen) have a number of short stories that are just plain odd.

Athon
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Old 14th September 2005, 10:35 AM   #31
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The Door by E.B. White.

Had to write an essay on it in my high school composition class. It haunts me still.
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Old 14th September 2005, 12:47 PM   #32
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A while back when I was living on a commune I read a book which I can't remember the tittle or the author but it was about 'orgone' which is a type of energy which was 'discovered' by Wilhelm Reich. Anyway it was all about how this was the energy released in orgasms and how space ships were collecting the orgone for evil purposes. These spaceships were based in a huge hole in earth at the north pole (involving governmental conspiracy). It was recommending that we make orgone regenerators and practice tantric yoga (sex but no orgasms allowed). Oh wait a minute, you said fiction... this was not a fiction book.
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Old 15th September 2005, 06:12 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally posted by thrombus29
You have to keep up with the series. Move on to Neq the Sword and Var the Stick. Thats when they get real strange and it all comes together.

Actually what he (PsiLoad) mentions happens in Neq the Sword, so he's probably read it. To be fair, the guy gets his hand cut off and replaces it with a sword. After he gives up fighting, he can't remove the sword, so he turns it into a musical instrument. I guess it was lighter than a plowshare.

Coincidentally, I had just unpacked on old box of books, and found my copy. I'm in the middle of rereading it. Man, he (Anthony, not PsiLoad) was sexist.
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Old 16th September 2005, 03:09 PM   #34
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The Illuminati Trilogy. What the hell is going on?

It's a bad drug trip, but in three novels.
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Old 16th September 2005, 11:49 PM   #35
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Umbeto Eco, Focault's(sp?) Pendulum

Strange. Very Strange.
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Old 17th September 2005, 01:31 PM   #36
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It's funny that the last two posters mention the two most important books in my life (from a mental-health point of view)

It was massive amounts of weed and the Illumanati books (along with Cosmic Trigger and other R.A.W. stuff) in high school that turned me into a conspiracy-new age-paranoid.

I picked up Foucault's Pendulum because of how it looked like it fit in with what I was thinking at the time. By the second time I read it I realized that those people always following me around weren't evil Rosicurians, but talent scouts from Hollywood.

I still see the Fnords though.


Quote:
Actually what he (PsiLoad) mentions happens in Neq the Sword, so he's probably read it. To be fair, the guy gets his hand cut off and replaces it with a sword. After he gives up fighting, he can't remove the sword, so he turns it into a musical instrument. I guess it was lighter than a plowshare.
Read Anthony's "Chithon" for some real hot Freudian action.

I got out of him after "Firefly" because he came off as such a apologist for pedophelia it creeped me out.
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Old 17th September 2005, 02:32 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally posted by bjornart
A living soul, P.C. Jersild.

The narrator is a brain in a tank. He (or she) has eyes and ears, and that's about it.
ThereĀ“s a fantasy novel, the title of which I canĀ“t remember, where the narrator is a spirit. You donĀ“t realize it is told in first person until the spirit starts interacting with the rest of the town, about 2/3 into the novel.
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Old 20th September 2005, 06:48 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally posted by athon
Kafka's short story The Insect. That did it for me.
Do you mean "The Metamorphosis"? The one where the guy wakes up and he's a bug? Or is there another Kafka bug-story?

I wrote an essay once analyzing that story in terms of Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross.

Don't shoot me. People do that kind of thing in college. We mostly recover.
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Old 21st September 2005, 06:57 AM   #39
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I'd go with either William Burrough's Naked Lunch, or Michael Moorcock's Behold the Man.

Former I'm sure most people are aware of to some extent - each page has something shocking, terrifying or nauseating on it, and it wouldn't matter if you ripped out all the pages and jumbled them up to read again.

Latter involves a strange bisexual scientist obsessed with religion, who travels back in time to 33AD to look for Jesus; is thought to be a preacher whilst searching for him; sleeps with slutty Mary, watched by her halfwitted son; ends up being crucified as the King of the Jews for going on so much about what he thought Jesus was. Brilliance, sheer weird brilliance.
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Old 21st September 2005, 07:25 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally posted by epepke
Do you mean "The Metamorphosis"? The one where the guy wakes up and he's a bug? Or is there another Kafka bug-story?

I wrote an essay once analyzing that story in terms of Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross.

Don't shoot me. People do that kind of thing in college. We mostly recover.
Yeah, that was it. I read it in Prague...very trippy. I loved its weirdnes though.

Athon
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