Category Archives: Novels

My Favorite Psychiatrists! (Excluding My Big Brother)

Dr. Jonathan Crane / The Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) from Batman Begins (2005). Created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane in World's Finest #3 (1941, DC Comics)

Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) from The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Created by Thomas Harris in the novel Red Dragon (1981).

Dr. Philip K. Decker (David Cronenberg) from Nightbreed (1990). Created by Clive Barker in the novel Cabal (1988).


(P.S. I started reading Cabal last night, which is what brought this on. Nightbreed was one of my favorite movies for many years after it came out. I really ought to watch it again some time…)

“The Pre-Persons” (1973) by Philip K. Dick

A hilarious passage by possibly my favorite SF author:

“Let’s have an abortion!” Cynthia declared excitedly as she entered the house with an armload of synthogroceries. “Wouldn’t that be neat? Doesn’t that turn you on?”

Her husband Ian Best said dryly, “But first you have to get pregnant. So make an appointment with Dr. Guido—that should cost me only fifty or sixty dollars—and have your I.U.D. removed.”

“I think it’s slipping down anyhow. Maybe, if—” Her pert dark shag-haired head tossed in glee. “It probably hasn’t worked properly since last year. So I could be pregnant now.”

Ian said caustically. “You could put an ad in the Free Press; ‘Man wanted to fish out I.U.D. with coathanger.’ ”

“But you see,” Cynthia said, following him as he made his way to the master closet to hang up his status-tie and class-coat, “it’s the in thing now, to have an abortion. Look, what do we have? A kid. We have Walter. Every time someone comes over to visit and sees him, I know they’re wondering. ‘Where did you screw up?’ It’s embarrassing.” She added, “And the kind of abortions they give now, for women in early stages—it only costs one hundred dollars… the price of ten gallons of gas! And you can talk about it with practically everybody who drops by for hours.”

Ian turned to face her and said in a level voice. “Do you get to keep the embryo? Bring it home in a bottle or sprayed with special luminous paint so it glows in the dark like a night light?”

“In any color you want!”

“The embryo?”

“No, the bottle. And the color of the fluid. It’s in a preservative solution, so really it’s a lifetime acquisition. It even has a written guarantee, I think.”

Ian folded his arms to keep himself calm: alpha state condition. “Do you know that there are people who would want to have a child? Even an ordinary dumb one? That go to the County Facility week after week looking for a little newborn baby? These ideas—there’s been this world panic about overpopulation. Nine trillion humans stacked like kindling in every block of every city. Okay, if that were going on—” He gestured. “But what we have now is not enough children. Or don’t you watch TV or read the Times?”

“It’s a drag,” Cynthia said. “For instance, today Walter came into the house freaked out because the abortion truck cruised by. It’s a drag taking care of him. You have it easy; you’re at work. But me–”

“You know what I’d like to do to the Gestapo abortion wagon? Have two ex-drinking buddies of mine armed with BARs, one on each side of the road. And when the wagon passes by—”

“It’s a ventilated air-conditioned truck, not a wagon.”

He glared at her and then went to the bar in the kitchen to fix himself a drink. Scotch will do, he decided. Scotch and milk, a good before- “dinner” drink.

You can read the whole short story here:


“It’s thee down theer…”

My favorite passage from Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928) by D.H. Lawrence, which I finished reading today:

‘Th’art good cunt, though, aren’t ter? Best bit o’ cunt left on earth. When ter likes! When tha’rt willin’!’

‘What is cunt?’ she said.

‘An’ doesn’t ter know? Cunt! It’s thee down theer; an’ what I get when I’m i’side thee, and what tha gets when I’m i’side thee; it’s a’ as it is, all on’t.’

‘All on’t,’ she teased. ‘Cunt! It’s like fuck then.’

‘Nay nay! Fuck’s only what you do. Animals fuck. But cunt’s a lot more than that. It’s thee, dost see: an’ tha’rt a lot besides an animal, aren’t ter? — even ter fuck? Cunt! Eh, that’s the beauty o’ thee, lass!’

This is followed soon after by an extended discussion on class Darwinism and alienation of labor in socialist terms.


Albert Camus’s THE OUTSIDER

Just finished reading The Outsider (1942) today, the most existentialist / absurdist / nihilist book I have ever read. Here is my favorite page for sheer hilarity, related by the protagonist in jail:

Between my mattress and my bed-plank, I’d actually found an old scrap of newspaper which had gone all yellow and transparent and was almost stuck to the material. It was a small news story. The beginning was missing, but it must have taken place in Czechoslovakia. A man had left some Czech village to go and make his fortune. Twenty-five years later he’d come back rich, with a wife and child. His mother and sister were running a hotel in his native village. In order to surprise them, he’d left his wife and child at another hotel and he’d gone to see his mother who hadn’t recognized him when he’d walked in. Just for fun, he decided to book a room. He’d shown them his money. During the night, his mother and his sister had clubbed him to death with a hammer to steal his money, and then thrown his body into the river. The next morning, the wife had come along and without realizing revealed the man’s identity. The mother had hanged herself. The sister had thrown herself down a well. I must have read this story thousands of times. On one hand, it was improbable. On the other, it was quite natural. Anyway, I decided that the traveller had deserved it really and that you should never play around.



And now, for the Missionaria Protectiva…

… Mister Paul Atreides!!!

John Schoenherr (The Illustrated Dune) - his only Paul?

Moebius (Jodorowsky's aborted film: circa 1974-1976. HR Giger was also recruited to do design work for the movie. Salvador Dali and Orson Welles were recruited to star.)

Kyle MacLachlan (David Lynch's 1984 movie version.)

Bill Sienkiewicz (Marvel Comics, 1984. Based on MacLachlan.)

Action figure (LJN, 1984. Based on MacLachlan. Not shown: Dune napkins, tablecloth, bed spread, lunch box, pajamas, etc, etc.)

I am?! (Dune video game: Cryo Interactive / Virgin Interactive, 1992. Based on MacLachlan. 8 years after failed movie. Insane.)

Mark Zug (Dune CCG: Last Unicorn Games / Five Rings Publishing, 1997. Based on Kyle MacLachlan. THIRTEEN years after failed movie. Insane.)

Ryoichi Ikegami (Japanese poster for the 1984 Lynch film. Damn, I love this one!)


Emo Paul (Frank Herbert's Dune video game: Cryo Interactive, 2001.)

Alec Newman (John Harrison's Sci Fi Channel TV miniseries version, 2000.)

Paul Pope (2009. The Winner.)