By Christopher Miller
Genius or fraud? Hack or Hemingway? The existence and paintings of overweight, obsessive, logorrheic pulp novelist Phoebus ok. Dank have lengthy enflamed sour controversy—and various drunken rants frequently culminating in vomiting, unconsciousness, or either. during this uproarious novel, Christopher Miller pulls again the curtain on unforgettable critics—fawning student William Boswell (the world's prime Dankian) and his mortal enemy, the murderously snarky Owen Hirt. No stone is left unturned—and no gooey mess unstepped in—in this crucial learn of Dank's all-too-brief life and all-too-extensive oeuvre.
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Extra resources for Cardboard Universe, The: A Guide to the World of Phoebus K. Dank (P.S.)
ABCDEF GHIJKL MNOPQR STUVWX YZ “Bacterial Rights”: Many of Dank’s stories would be better if they were shorter—the shorter the better. Often their very titles ex haust whatever interest their premises hold. “Bacterial Rights” is a perfect example: Dwell on that title for ten or fifteen seconds and it’s safe to say you just thought up a better story than the one with which Dank, unencumbered by any real knowledge of biology or sociology, eked out the title to the length of something salable (though only, be it said, to a magazine called Twat).
Even at eighteen, Dank was a pathological planner. It wasn’t only in his fiction that his eye for inert and un necessary detail was 20/20. For about a week in January 1973, after receiving a stopwatch for Christmas, he attempted, for the hell of it, to micro-plan each day the night before—accounting not 42 • “The Architect” just for every minute, but for every second (“7:45:00-7:45:15— hear alarm clock and wake up; 7:45:15-7:45:18—turn off alarm clock; 7:45:18-7:45:25—yawn and stretch; 7:45:25-7:45:35—get out of bed; 7:45:35-7:46:05—walk down hall to bathroom; 7:46:05 7:47:00—pee; 7:47:00-7:47:02—flush toilet .
All his life he attached a portentous importance to the fact that “Dank” means “thank” in German. He gave the author-figures in his fiction idiotic names like Sol Grate 46 • Automobiles ful, Solar Thanx, and Sunny Thanker (since of course—and this too was supposed to be Significant—Phoebus is the sun god). He liked to say that his entire oeuvre was just a way to thank his lucky star—the one he happened to find himself in orbit around— for enabling intelligent life. In our Oakland days (see DOG HOUSE), Dank affected to pronounce his name the German way, so that it rhymed with “wonk” and not with “crank,” but he failed to per suade the rest of us to follow suit.