April 1, 2008

Moby Disk 1.1.1

by Nick Montfort · , 2:00 am
(Update: April Foolery!) Starting today, with this post, I’ll be making my new novel, Moby Disk, or the Worm available on Grand Text Auto in draft form. I’m definitely hoping to get your comments, but because of some difficulties with CommentPress, I’ve decided to go with the standard comment mechanism for the blog. Well, truth be told, there is only one long, long paragraph (most of them much longer than this) in each of the sections that I’ll be posting, so using CommentPress would make no sense. While the bit at the very end isn’t completely worked out yet, I do know that the book will have 550 sections. Since I’m posting a day at a time, it should take just over 18 months to post everything. I hope you enjoy reading this sort of fare over the next year and a half – intermixed, of course, with our usual posts.

Call me method. Through a Commodore VIC-20 of recirculation I wet the bed early for a long time. Motherboard died today. A screaming comes across this guy – the guy above the port who was the color of television, tuned. It was a nice and stormy dork. As Feature awoke one morning from disquieting dreams, he found himself transformed into a giant insect. It was a pleasure to burn, even at only 4x speed. Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting the disk to satisfy misses in the L2 cache which also could not be found in RAM. Dr. Seuss says I shud rite down what I think and evrey thing that happins to me from now on. The random access device (for so it will be convenient to speak of it) was expounding a recondite matter to us. Once upon a time the disk was round and you could go on it around and around. It was in those days that I wandered about hungry, encrypted. I would seek – seek unto death with that long agony; and when they at last unmounted me, and I was permitted to park, I felt that my sectors were leaving me. Night of my knife, fur of my lions. Every happy file system is alike. First post. You are about to begin executing Nick Montfort’s new novel, Moby Disk, or the Worm. It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone vibrating three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end saying “forty one.” The station wagons arrived at noon. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. If you’re going to, read this. It was the best of rhymes, it was repetition.

9 Responses to “Moby Disk 1.1.1”

  1. Harry Giles Says:

    An opening of punning, literary play — high (and popular) literature relocated into the sphere of cyberspace. It’s an opneing which works best (and perhaps only?) in cyberspace — which tolerates and encourages the soundbite; which allows the curious reader to quickly hyuper-link their way to the solution to the question “Now what is that opening line from?”; which reflexively recognises the self-awareness of an opening blog post which refigures in the language of cyberspace famous first words. Literature 2.0.

    As cyber-literary play, it’s an opening and an opening only. It’s merit as more than a aphorism, soundbite, once-read long-forgotten blog-post will be determined by what follows. Because it doesn’t tell us anything new (the content of the refiguring is determined by its form; once we’ve got the joke, there’s nothing more to get in only one paragraph), and because it is overarchingly funny, it threatens to be a punchline, which as an opening disastrously closes and forecloses a 550-section, 18-month blog-novel. Laughter traditionally resolves tension, but this laughter creates it: I wait tensely for what is to come. The final question is: Will it be worth it?

  2. scott Says:

    Nick, I’m glad to see that you are finally getting around to some real literary work on this blog. I would correct the typos but I can tell that you are using them for the purposes of literary style. As for the coy references to many of the great works of the the twentieth century and others, all I can say is that I hope you are also composing a sort of schema, a skeleton key if you will, through which we eager critics might begin the process of unraveling the complex tapestry you have only just begun to lay at the feet of our humble blog. Human, technological, and yet also deeply introspective, this novel has already begun to sing a song to my soul. Bon voyage!

  3. nick Says:

    I’m obliged to report that my project of posting Moby Disk has drawn to a premature close. The Melville Society has offered me a grant to stop posting and working on this material, and I’ve accepted their offer. Actually, I’m not sure that “grant” is the right word for it; that suggests a carrot and I was motivated to conclude things by something that must really be characterized as more of a stick. Anyway, I hope there were some of you who enjoyed this one fragment that I was allowed to post, and that everyone had a great April 1.

  4. Harry Giles Says:


  5. terry Says:

    how meta!

  6. Dan Whatley Says:

    Thanks, Nick, for so generously sharing and then taking away! So far, I count: Melville, Proust, Pynchon, Wm Gibson, Kafka, Faulkner, T.Geisel, Nabokov, Tolstoy, DeLillo, and Dickens. Who else counts others?

  7. William Patrick Wend Says:

    I see Calvino too. This is a great idea; I look forward to more!

  8. Chris Says:

    Who else counts others?

    Melville, Joyce, Camus, Pynchon, Bulwer-Lytton, Kafka, ?, ?, Keyes, ?, Stein, ?, Nabokov, Tolstoy, ?, ?, ?, ?, Orwell, ?, Dickens.

    I had to look up who wrote “Flowers for Algernon”, though. One or two of the others looks familiar, but I can’t place them off the top of my head. Do I pass the English GRE?

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