"According to Herman Melville’s foremost biographer, Newton Arvin, the 'aborted author' lived on a diet of 'nostalgia for the venerable and the moribund, and mingled with this was some still more special longing for the Biblical, the Hebraic, the Judaean past—the past of the patriarchs and the judges, the prophets and the kings. Few men’s minds have been more richly stored than Melville’s with the imagery of Biblical story, of the Old Testament record especially; it had been woven into the fabric of his imagination from earliest childhood, and he had constantly recurred to it; it was a permanent point of reference for his spirit.' Without question, the scikungfi trilogy constitutes Wilson’s Moby Dick—allusions to everything from the White Whale to the plight of the bearded artist are as rampant as they are dubious and ultimately moot—only instead of the Bible, the traumatic kernel that clearly energizes Wilson and determines the flows of his desires is the science fiction genre, the machinery of which materializes in the trilogy, again and again, through the techno-idiotic sieve of pop culture. Of course, it will be some time before readers are ready to attend to the dynamics of science fiction with the same enthusiasm and interest as the Bible, despite the ongoing science fictionalization of reality, and Wilson expects far too much from readers, who grow increasingly more handicapped, disabled and zombified every day. Melville’s readers were neither prepared for nor willing to engage with his texts at the level of acuity he required—as Arvin writes, his audience failed to 'follow him into the intellectual and imaginative regions that were his true territory.' Certainly Wilson can expect nothing more than this. At best, he might hope to be altogether ignored, forgotten before he is even remembered, and as I understand it, he is doing a good job in this capacity."
Exercises and supplemental reading lists challenge authors to push their work into self-aware and surprising territory.
In addition, Architectures of Possibility features something entirely lacking in most books about creative writing: more than 40 interviews with contemporary innovative authors, editors, and publishers (including Robert Coover, Lydia Davis, Brian Evenson, Shelley Jackson, Ben Marcus, Carole Maso, Scott McCloud, Steve Tomasula, Deb Olin Unferth, Joe Wenderoth, and Lidia Yuknavitch) working in diverse media, providing significant insights into the multifaceted worlds of experimental authors' writing.
Lance Olsen is author of more than 20 books of and about innovative writing, including the novelsCalendar of Regrets, Head in Flames, and Nietzsche’s Kisses. His short stories, essays, poems, and reviews have appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies, such as Conjunctions, Black Warrior Review, Fiction International, Village Voice, BOMB, McSweeney’s, and Best American Non-Required Reading. He serves as chair of FC2’s Board of Directors and teaches experimental narrative theory and practice at the University of Utah.
Collaborator Trevor Dodge is author of the novel Yellow #10 and short-fiction collection Everyone I know Lives on Roads, as well as co-editor of the Northwest Edge anthologies of experimental narrative. He teaches writing, literature, comics, and games studies at Clackamas Community College in Oregon Cityand the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland.