Notes from New Sodom

... rantings, ravings and ramblings of strange fiction writer, THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Images Of Vellum And Ink

A Book Of Darkness

A Book Of Patches

- A book of hours, I said. Or a book of names. Nobody knows.

- Bullshit, said Joey. You’re making it up.

- Shut up, said Jack. I'm listening to this.

He slid the G’n’T across the table to me, handed Joey his Guinness and sat down in his own seat with his Ouzo, sniffed it with a wrinkle-nosed grin.

- Go on, he said.

A Book Of Fragments

A Book Of Gravings

- The Book Of All Hours, my father had said. Your grandfather went looking for it, but he never found it. He couldn’t find it; it’s a myth, a pipe-dream. It doesn’t exist.

A Book Of Names

A Book Of Angels

The Book of All Hours, the Benedictines called it, in the Middle Ages, believing it to be the Deus’s own version of some grand duke’s book of hours – those hour-by-hour and day-by-day, week-by-week and month-by-month tomes of ceremony and meditation...

A Book Of Secrets

A Book Of Cant

... inked by monks in lamplight, drawn in brilliant colours on vellum, pale but rich in tone, not bleached pure white but yellowed, brown, the colour of skin, of earth, of wood, old bone, of things that were all once alive.

A Book Of Surfaces

A Book Of Maps

Princes and kings would commission these books and they’d take years of hunched backs and cramped hands and fading eyesight to produce by hand.

A Book Of Images

A Book Of Reflections

It was said by the Benedictines that God himself commissioned such a tome from the one angel allowed to step beyond the veil and see his face and listen to his words, and write them down.

A Book Of Theories

A Book Of Changes

There was a Jewish scholar, Isaac ben Joshua, in Moorish Spain who said that the Book drove everyone who saw it crazy.

A Book Of Scraps

A Book Of Light

He referenced an Islamic source, a story saying that all but one solitary page were blank, and on that page there was only a single simple sentence, an equation which captured the very essence of existence.

A Book Of Shapes

A Book Of Sigils

This, he said, was why all those who’d ever looked upon the book had gone insane, unable to comprehend, unable to accept, the meaning of life laid out in a few words of mathematical purity.

A Book Of Signs

A Book Of Stories

A Book Of Languages

After what happened to Thomas, I remember thinking that I knew what that sentence was.

A Book Of Silences

The Book Of All Hours

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Blogger Hal Duncan said...

Chaotic Heart: Apologies for accidentally deleting your comment while I was chopping and changing this post.

6:36 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, okay, I'm reading Vellum, piece by piece, step by step and I love it. Don't care who you are, write more. Love, pk

6:20 am  
Blogger Hal Duncan said...

Hey, cool, PK! Hope it keeps together for ye through to the end.


12:28 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best book i've read in a long time. Amazing to see that someone can put into words and find pattern to the archetypes of our constantly changing thoughts and images of the mind and imagingation. Or is it just my crazy mind that you've illustrated so well in this book. ;) Brilliant!

10:37 pm  
Blogger Hal Duncan said...

Thanks, anon! I was hoping it wasn't just my own crazy mind I was illustrating. :)

Anyhoo, it's fuckin great when someone else clicks into it enough to say so. So cheers!

4:36 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Picked up an english copy of Vellum in a German mall in a Turkish ghetto in Berlin, Germany. Can't put it down. First book in a long time that I really have to READ, not fly through. More, more, more, please.

8:17 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've started reading Vellum, and I find your word interesting. Not to mention the many parallels that seem to pop up while reading.

5:58 am  
Blogger seraphim_fallen said...

Honestly, I picked up your book because I liked the cover. I am a quick reader and this was the first book in a long time I actually had to slow down and pay attention as I read. I have since read Ink as well and I just wanted to plead with you to write more. Please?

1:54 pm  
Blogger Hal Duncan said...

Don't worry. The next big meaty novel is on its way. And in the meantime there's always "Escape from Hell!".

1:18 am  
Anonymous Christian said...

Hmmm... I'm probably half a decade late with my comment, but then I've been reading the book for more than half half a decade. And I still haven't finished. It's just that I think it's brilliant to the point of my being incapable of absorbing more than a few pages at a time. And then I need breaks. And then it is as if I'd never stopped reading. Even after a half year break. Rather amazing, really.
So, Thank You, Sir.

10:20 pm  
Blogger Hal Duncan said...

Thank *you*, sir.

And tis never too late for such kind words, far as I'm concerned. :D

6:58 pm  
Blogger Faust said...

*sigh* Re-reading Vellum and Ink again.... I can't even articulate how much I enjoy these I'll end with this *sigh*

10:51 pm  
Blogger Hal Duncan said...

Cheers! :D

10:21 pm  
Anonymous Magnus said...

When I finished Vellum I walked around for two weeks having difficulties deciding wether or not I liked the book. Then it hit and still does sometimes. The little stories connecting to this and that...a memory of Jack... And then Ink. I am very happy and greatly enriched by your writing.
Thank you

10:03 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The book of all hours! wow a story i keep coming back to read vellum and ink six times and ame already thinking about picking it up again...

Sonnets For Orpheus amazing part 6 being my personal fave.


9:05 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you made me believe in the written word agen ive read them twice and still cant get over the journey you have taken me on. these books were the only thing that kept me sane during a vary turbulent time in my life. thank you i also read escape from hell fucking grate

9:06 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just finished 'Ink', which I accidentally picked up from the library before 'Vellum'. Of course I put 'Ink' down after half a page and InterLibraryLoaned 'Vellum'. And then we bought a copy of 'Vellum' so my partner could read it because I was moving too slow/squeeing too much about the library copy. And then my friend bought 'Vellum' based on the two of us ranting/raving about it. And then I bought 'Ink' for the same reasons we bought 'Vellum'. I need to return 'Ink' to the library now, but our copy of 'Vellum' is promised to another friend who is intrigued...

Which is a long way of saying GOOD GODS DAMN sir, what a piece of work! My brain is slightly melted, but it's cooling into such interesting shapes... Also, your blog is fucking legendary. Just got done reading the rant on SF as 'genre' from 2005.

4:00 pm  
Blogger Hal Duncan said...

Cheers, man. Glad you liked it.

6:39 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

And I'm the friend in triadruid's comment up there (I came here not even knowing he'd been here). I just finished Vellum and am on the edge of my seat for the chance to borrow Ink from the Druid. My husband will be the next to read Vellum.

You've really blown my mind. I will probably have to read the books again to pick up the stuff that I missed before I knew what the hell was going on. :)

Thank you for a book that is challenging, interesting, and altogether at the top of my best books read this year list!

12:22 am  
Anonymous Val said...

Wow, I just read Vellum and Ink. Read ? No. Devoured them. Couldn't stop reading, taking time on sleep, on anything except... THE books. I wanted to tell my friends how amazed I was, I just couldn't. Just said "Sooo brilliant. Like nothing else I read. Read it ! You HAVE to !" Thank you for such a magnificent journey through time and space. Thank you for your mind-blowing writing, so colorful, gorgeous and lively ! Springing madly like Jack through ages. So difficult and rewarding to follow your words..
Please forgive my lame english, it's not my mother tongue. Thank you,sir !!!

11:58 am  
Blogger Hal Duncan said...

Again, cheers for the kind words, guys. And I'm so chuffed that you're spreading the word. Awesome! :)

And, Val... you don't have to apologise for your English at all. It's not remotely lame.

5:56 pm  
Blogger Colin Meier said...

Hey Hal. Major Depressive Episode...the meds helped, but more so did Vellum and Ink, and having the two weeks off to reread them (again) was a gift. Still the best strange fiction I've read. Thanks, bud.

3:41 am  
Blogger Hal Duncan said...

Thanks, Colin. My sympathies on the rough patch, for want of a better term and for what that's worth. Glad to know the books maybe at least helped ease things a bit. And cheers for the kind words.

Best wishes,


6:35 pm  

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