Sunday, May 13, 2012

Pontypool's Secret PULP Origins! (Pulp Fiction Part 4)

I intended to address fans of the tantalizingly written novel, but if you've just seen the movie, that works, too.  Most of us were rendered speechless in 2008 with the release of the movie Pontypool, set in the town of the same name in Canada, wherein a zombie-like virus envelopes a county, spreading through the bacterium of words. However, unbeknownst to some, a novel preceded the movie.

The movie Pontypool took one chapter late in the novel and centered around it and the limited connection with the towns surrounding that were falling rapidly into chaos.  Even more unbeknownst to move fans,( and to me until a friend bestowed upon me the short story written by H.P. Lovecraft's cohort Henry Kuttner in 1943) Mr. Tony Burgess, author of Pontypool, most likely did not have divine inspiration when he came up with his tale of semantic terror.

Enter Mr. Henry Kuttner, pulp terrorist. He deserves a post all his own, so I will not go into detail about him now. However, his story is another story.

Nothing But Gingerbread Left.

In the story, a professor and one of his grad students are having a discussion while the professor's teenage son sits in the background muttering a silly schoolyard sing-song rhyme that gets stuck in their heads.  At the forefront of their minds is the war in Europe and the spread of Hitler's propaganda.  Both scholars, who are German-as-a-second-language speakers, devise a scheme wherein they will use the pattern, rhythm, and particularities of the German language to write a nonsensical verse, say it for a group of German prisoners of war, and analyze the results.

Results, to whit, that are the undoubted origins of Mr. Burgess' Pontypool novel.

The link below provides a skip over to the short story in whole. There are some annoying errors in format, but these are easily ignored, for the most part.  The story is very short, 15 or 20 minute read for us logophiles, 5 or 10 for everyone else. If you have to ask why it takes some of us longer, then praise the lord that you are not damned to read blissful words and phrases three or four times, then call up a friend and read them aloud for as long as the friend will tolerate it.

Opinions? Comparisons? Curses?

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