Book Review

The Perfect Halloween Treat for Ghosts and Goblins and Gumshoes

Nothing Ever DiesGot G.U.M.?

What’s up with the NeverEnding Zombie Apocalypse in Hollywood? Why is China perpetrating celluloid genocide upon the Japanese (1 Billion + since 2013)? And why should one ever want to venture into The Vale of Shadows? Anybody who has the Sixth Sense will be able to figure out some possibilities to these vexing nether regions of the psychosphere. But for the rest of us, we’ll need Goggles of Umbral Moonshine.

You can’t buy these Goggles at any store. They must be found or constructed. Which is why I highly recommend Nguyen’s insightful critique of the ethics and aesthetics of war stories, Nothing Ever Dies. Though focusing on the War in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia (1955-1975), his ideas also apply to more recent American wars in the 1980s to 2010s. And soon perhaps, the 2020s.

After reading Nothing Ever Dies, I would even go so far as to say that all fiction written since 9/11 could be read as a war story. Yes, even that gothic tale about desperate house husbands coping with boredom and getting lost at Bed, Bath and Beyond is now, in my book, a war story. Between Nguyen’s ideas and Edward Said’s notion of a “contrapuntal reading“, some of the vanilla realism patched up and cranked out of MFA cadaver labs today radiates darkly with hidden symmetries.

Equip yourself with G.U.M. Optics and you’ll never see Zombie or War Porn the old fashioned way again.

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