Monday, April 19, 2010

Kristina Born's ONE HOUR OF TELEVISION is my new favorite book.

I picked up One Hour of Television at the HTMLGIANT table at AWP in Denver and tore through it once I got home. It's terrifying, and goddamn, Kristina Born can write. I think the book's scariness is derived from the fact that it is not magical. Sure, there are things happening in it that defy reality, but magic is outlawed. Concrete entities do zany shit. An unmanned aircraft changes dinner. Giggling school girls wire bombs. Julia Roberts does Erin Brockovich-y things while we watch someone watching Julia Roberts doing Erin Brockovich-y things.

Born stitches sentences together in exciting and frantic ways. This creates a perilous place for the reader, a very tenuous platform where you engage with the text at your own risk. This platform could come crashing down at any moment, though, and it frequently does.

Here's one of my favorite passages:

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency develops unmanned aerial vehicles for use by the military. In fact I am, right now, a UAV in your home. Pyu. Watch it, lady. I am sliding terrible things into your potatoes. If I don't alter the face of square meals who will. If I don't alter your face. See if, just for fun, you can maintain a perfect unchanging expression when you explode. You asked for this: to serve me and for me to serve you. Let's do our jobs in silence. I have never been steered or manned in any way.
You can order the book here ( and I highly recommend that you do.

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