By Christopher Miller
Genius or fraud? Hack or Hemingway? The existence and paintings of overweight, obsessive, logorrheic pulp novelist Phoebus ok. Dank have lengthy enflamed sour controversy—and quite a few drunken rants usually culminating in vomiting, unconsciousness, or either. during this uproarious novel, Christopher Miller pulls again the curtain on unforgettable critics—fawning student William Boswell (the world's top Dankian) and his mortal enemy, the murderously snarky Owen Hirt. No stone is left unturned—and no gooey mess unstepped in—in this crucial examine of Dank's all-too-brief lifestyles and all-too-extensive oeuvre.
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Additional resources for Cardboard Universe, The: A Guide to the World of Phoebus K. Dank (P.S.)
No one who keeps reading after a sentence like this has any right to complain about the ordeal that follows: If there was one thing Adam hated, a top astronaut and winner of the prestigious Armstrong Award, that they only awarded every decade, it was when Sheba, his spaceship, started mak ing funny noises that drove him up the wall—literally, for there is no gravity in Space. As Mencken said of Warren G. ” And that’s after copyediting. At one point the piece was even worse. Dank wrote it, originally, in the future tense, reasoning that since it was set in the future, the story should be worded like a prophecy—albeit an unusually elaborate and longwinded one—and not a chronicle: “Adam Able, Astronaut” • 25 Adam will enter the flight deck just as Quisix-9 is in the pro cess of shape-shifting into the form of Lt.
ABCDEF GHIJKL MNOPQR STUVWX YZ “Bacterial Rights”: Many of Dank’s stories would be better if they were shorter—the shorter the better. Often their very titles ex haust whatever interest their premises hold. “Bacterial Rights” is a perfect example: Dwell on that title for ten or fifteen seconds and it’s safe to say you just thought up a better story than the one with which Dank, unencumbered by any real knowledge of biology or sociology, eked out the title to the length of something salable (though only, be it said, to a magazine called Twat).
He liked to say that his entire oeuvre was just a way to thank his lucky star—the one he happened to find himself in orbit around— for enabling intelligent life. In our Oakland days (see DOG HOUSE), Dank affected to pronounce his name the German way, so that it rhymed with “wonk” and not with “crank,” but he failed to per suade the rest of us to follow suit. ” (OH) Automobiles: By the time I moved to Hemlock, Dank was no longer permitted to drive, and possibly one reason he let me live with him for free was that he needed a chauffeur.