In the new Sci-Fi and horror anthology, “The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities,” you are sure to find many strange and wondrous tales by well known authors based on the fictional, deceased Dr. Lambshead’s collection of oddities. But perhaps the strangest of the batch is Alan Moore’s contribution, a metaphorical look at his massive novel in progress, “Jerusalem,” as a dangerous, empty construction site.
Making a considerable contribution to the already unsettling ambience [sic] is the anomalous (and even dangerous) approach to architecture that is evident in the unfinished work: the lowest floor, responsible for bearing the immense load of the weightier passages and chambers overhead, seems to be built entirely of distressed red brick and grey slate roofing tiles with much of it already derelict or in a state of imminent collapse. Resting on this, the massive second tier would seem to be constructed mostly out of wood and has been brightly decorated with painted motifs that would appear to be suited to a nursery or school environment, contrasted with the bleak and even brutal social realism that’s suggested by the weathered brickwork and decrepit terraces immediately below.
Obviously Alan Moore can and will do whatever he wants, but this seems like an odd strategy for promoting oneself. To be fair though, the book sounds like a monstrous challenge.
In a recent interview, Moore explained that “Jerusalem,” which is already 500,000 words long, is about a half a square mile section of his hometown Northampton, England. The book will incorporate literary characters and authors who have made appearances in Northampton in chapters that mimic the style and language of their books. So, for example, Samuel Beckett apparently visited Northampton to play cricket and visited the local churches and this incident will be written about in the style of a Beckett play.
Moore mentions in “Cabinet of Curiosities” that there has been a delay due to “unanticipated setbacks that are unrelated to the project” and that it should be completed in 2013. There are also several pages of descriptions of objects found in “Jerusalem” which are appropriately intriguing for a book that aims to disprove the existence of death. Without giving too much away, they hint at scenes with undertakers, angels and orgies.
If you’re a Moore fan and would like to have some clues about his “Jerusalem” novel, I highly suggesting picking up “The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities”. The book is a follow up to the award winning 2003 book, “The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases” and is full of playful charm. Be warned though, Moore’s chapter will leave you wanting much, much more. Whether that desire will be enough to get you through the 750,000 word novel when Jerusalem is finally released is anyone’s guess.