Awwwwwwww, now. You hate to see that. Another brilliant idea totally trips the hurdle when it comes to lying down on the page. Is it so hard, brilliant idea? To just…dammit…just lie there? On the page? Where I can read you?*
Ok, so apparently the human head remains conscious for ninety seconds after decapitation (so sayeth Dr Dassy D’estaing, c. 1883) and apparently one can speak at the rate of 160 words per minute when in a heightened state of emotion (par example, post-decapitation). To wit, had a decapitated head lungs, it could say 240 words before it…died. Severance is a series of if-these-heads-could-talks.
I know! That shit is crazy, right? Crazy like a fox! Except waaaaaaaaaaaay less awesome than I wanted. I wanted Marie Antoinette’s head’s thoughts post-guillotine. What was John the Baptist’s head thinking when it was brought to Herod on a platter? Inquiring minds, people.
Instead, what I got was a series of rather repetitively ‘poetic’ stream-of-consciousness Wikipedia entries. I mean, if I get the premise straight, the idea is that the head is thinking these words after it is choppy-chopped, but most snippets were sum-ups of the character’s life, and ended with some sort of ‘Here comes the blade’ pronouncement. As though the thoughts were thought before. Am I making sense? And hey, maybe one’s life does flash before one’s eyes, but all popular fiddle-faddle to this effect seems to indicate that it does so – again – before death. In two or three stories, Butler hit the tone just right, and I was all, YES! This is what a head would be thinking after the brain-body divorce! But for the most part, the REALLY REALLY AWESOME PREMISE was butchered.
And then, we all know how I feel about hyper-sentimental imagery. We get it. You emote. Except maybe Medusa emoting shouldn’t sound so suspiciously like Anne Boleyn emoting, or like Nicole Brown Simpson (!) emoting.
Almost worth reading for the few stories that hit it bang on, only 247 pages (only 62 of actual print) and therefore a poor choice for a long bus ride.
*I’m not a total douche (maybe not true, but irrelevant) and I get that writing is hard and that Butler has done something I have yet to do, namely, write a book. But, come on. The man had a great idea, and he left it outside in the rain where it got all rusty and broken!!