Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dons the rubber suit

Paul Collins in Slate:

Creaky as his apparatus now looks, [Wycliffe] Hill was onto something: Other plot wizards followed, including Plotto, the insanely complex 1928 creation of pulp novelist William Wallace Cook. (His pseudonymous memoir isn't titled The Fiction Factory for nothing: Cook once bashed out 54 "nickel novels" in a single year.) Rare and comically user-unfriendly, Plotto required its own accompanying instruction booklet—which, invariably lost or disintegrated in the intervening eight decades, leaves modern discoverers of the unaccompanied volume bewildered. Plotto resembles a thesaurus filled with cryptic codings and narrative fragments:


(b) (1083) (1287)

A has invented a life preserver for the use of shipwrecked persons * A, in order to prove the value of the life preserver he has invented, dons the rubber suit, inflates it and secretly, by night, drops overboard from a steamer on the high seas ** (1414b) (1419b)


(1027) (1418a; 1433b)

A sells his shadow for an inexhaustible purse (1354a) (1357)

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

View My Stats