Cardboard Universe, The: A Guide to the World of Phoebus K. by Christopher Miller

By Christopher Miller

Genius or fraud? Hack or Hemingway? The lifestyles and paintings of overweight, obsessive, logorrheic pulp novelist Phoebus okay. Dank have lengthy enflamed sour controversy—and various drunken rants usually culminating in vomiting, unconsciousness, or either. during this uproarious novel, Christopher Miller pulls again the curtain on unforgettable critics—fawning pupil William Boswell (the world's best 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 life and all-too-extensive oeuvre.

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Extra resources for Cardboard Universe, The: A Guide to the World of Phoebus K. Dank (P.S.)

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He liked her diet pills so much that he got a doctor to give him his very own bottle, and though they couldn’t stop his steady transformation into the lumbering blob that he finally became, he soon discov­ ered that the pills enabled him to write his shoddy fiction faster. I’d go so far as to say that amphetamines were to blame for one of the forms the shoddiness assumed: the insanely cantilevered, pathologically tangential plots of his novels. Not only doesn’t the laser gun described on the first page, above the holo-hearth, go off in the course of the book, but its hapless owner, his wife, his mid-life crisis, and his job repairing spaceships—all are forgotten forever as soon as their hopped-up creator embarks on a subplot which promptly gives way to another, so that in the course of an average potboiler (or toaster-oven warmer, to give a better sense of Dank’s attainments as a chef), a whole nest of parentheses open, never to be closed.

In July 2000, he returned from a disastrous week in Hollywood, and that proved to be his last trip out of Hemlock. In April 2002, he was knocked down by a speeding moped and resolved never again to cross the street—in other words, never to leave the block he happened to live on. In the summer of 2005, after being attacked first by a stray dog, then by a rival author, he vowed never again to leave the safety of his house. But more about all that, no doubt, in other entries. In 1999, Dank spent a lot to have a little swimming pool installed in his basement, a so-called endless pool.

He seemed to like them all—to like it whenever reality reached him by way of his nostrils. He liked works of art that smelled. In general he liked works of art that stirred the humbler senses and not just the eye and ear. Jaded by attention, by efforts to impress them, the eye and ear, like proud coquettes, are hard to please; but the other senses, so seldom asked to dance, respond with touching eagerness, grateful to be acknowledged at all. Dank had first conceived Aromarama as a picture book, a “scratch-and-sniff” volume with clip-art illustrations.

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