Seven prose pieces written using 'BrekDown', a text analysis and text generation program written in Turbo Pascal for IBM-compatible personal computers, devised in 1985 by the San Francisco programmer Neil J. Rubenking. 'Brekdown' can also blend the styles of two or more texts, and reconstruct a text with the characteristics of this blended style.
'The stories . . . I got "Brekdown" to mix text samples by two different writers in a kind of conceptual blender, and produce a new text with the characteristics of both. I produced seven stories, about ten pages each. The drafts that Brekdown gave me needed a lot of reworking. The story "Howling Twins" was heavily reworked from a draft originating in a blend of two text samples, one from Allen Ginsberg's notorious poem "Howl", and one from a chapter of "The Bobbsey Twins on a Bicycle Trip." The piece titled "Lonely Chaps" began as a sample from Radclyffe Hall's febrile novel of pre-war middle-class lesbian passion, "The Well of Loneliness", blended with "Biggles Defies the Swastika."
Source: Interview with John Kinsella, August 1999, John Kinsella website, www.johnkinsella.org (sighted 14/10/2002)
Big-hearted, moving and richly rewarding, That Deadman Dance is set in the first decades of the 19th century in the area around what is now Albany, Western Australia. In playful, musical prose, the book explores the early contact between the Aboriginal Noongar people and the first European settlers.
'The novel's hero is a young Noongar man named Bobby Wabalanginy. Clever, resourceful and eager to please, Bobby befriends the new arrivals, joining them hunting whales, tilling the land, exploring the hinterland and establishing the fledgling colony. He is even welcomed into a prosperous local white family where he falls for the daughter, Christine, a beautiful young woman who sees no harm in a liaison with a native.
'But slowly - by design and by accident - things begin to change. Not everyone is happy with how the colony is developing. Stock mysteriously start to disappear; crops are destroyed; there are "accidents" and injuries on both sides. As the Europeans impose ever stricter rules and regulations in order to keep the peace, Bobby's Elders decide they must respond in kind. A friend to everyone, Bobby is forced to take sides: he must choose between the old world and the new, his ancestors and his new friends. Inexorably, he is drawn into a series of events that will forever change not just the colony but the future of Australia...' (From the publisher's website.)
"The Arrival is a migrant story told as a series of wordless images that might seem to come from a long forgotten time. A man leaves his wife and child in an impoverished town, seeking better prospects in an unknown country on the other side of a vast ocean. He eventually finds himself in a bewildering city of foreign customs, peculiar animals, curious floating objects and indecipherable languages. With nothing more than a suitcase and a handful of currency, the immigrant must find a place to live, food to eat and some kind of gainful employment. He is helped along the way by sympathetic strangers, each carrying their own unspoken history: stories of struggle and survival in a world of incomprehensible violence, upheaval and hope." (Source: Shaun Tan website)
The Complete Maus
A Visit from the Goon Squad
This unit involves the detailed study of at least one creative text from the respective media under review—print, cinema, television and computers. The texts are usually contemporary and the texts used are designed to help students understand how a medium works. The unit examines at least one television show such as Glee or True Blood, one feature film, for instance, Inception or Black Swan, and one contemporary novel. The medium of computing is studied through a text that can only 'happen' in the medium of computing, such as Interactive Fiction (IF).