Friday, June 22, 2012

"The Space Within"

The doctor grimaced against a swelling headache. "Mr. Ramsey, you say there are seventeen people in this room."

Ramsey flexed against the straitjacket’s restraints. "Eighteen, actually."

"Could they really fit in such a small space?" The doctor indicated the padded walls with shaking hands.

"Pill time would be a circus. All the perphenazine, haloperidol, clozapine. Lotsa side effects --"

A knock interrupted him.

"Come in, nurse," the doctor said. "The two of us are almost done."

"The two of you, Mr. Ramsey?" the nurse echoed, brandishing a paper cup. "In this tiny room? I don’t think so. Now open up."

The Space Within by I Saw Lightning Fall

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Chestertonian Rambler said...


You have changed my potential future. If I ever go well and truly mad, I'm going to hallucinate that I'm a psychiatrist.

Loren Eaton said...

Sir, that is a worthwhile goal ...

Chestertonian Rambler said...

Btw, I'm not sure if I've recommended Jorge Luis Borges to you, or if you've stumbled upon him on your own. If not, you should check him out.

He's the odd master of the metaphysical, metafictional mystery short story. "The Garden of Forking Paths," a delightful spy story, has two souls: one is that of a sort of international noir, the other of a Chestertonian thought-provoking mystery story. "Pier Menard, Author of the Quixote" is both an utterly hilarious spoof of literary criticism and a thoughtful meditation on the impossibility of ever really knowing the past.

But of course you would know him from Vandermeer's City of Saints and Madmen whose opening description of a "Borges bookstore" hints that the entire novel is an elaboration on Borges' labyrinthine style. By the time Vandermeer was being interviewed about his life by a denizen of the world he imagined, I felt as if I'd been sucked in to some side-pathway of Borges brain.

He's also important for those who value both literary and genre fiction. "The Garden of Forking Paths" is required in any decent anthology of world literature--yet its English translation was first published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine.

Loren Eaton said...

I've read a little bit of Borges. The piece I particularly remember was "The Rose of Paracelsus." (Ironically, it turned up in one the Year's Best Fantasy and Horror anthologies.) But I have a hard time with South American magical realists for some reason. I think it's all the dreaminess in their work. Russian authors also give me fits, but that's usually because everyone has at least four names.