Monday, July 8, 2013

Douglas Lain's "Think the Impossible" Tour

Today, I have a message from author Douglas Lain, author of the novel Billy Moon. Douglas currently has a Kickstarter project running and is seeking help reaching his goal. I'll now turn you over to him and let him tell you about his project.


I am aiming to hit the road with a novel and an idea. The story in my novel Billy Moon takes place in Paris during the student/worker strikes of May, 1968. In my book I place an adult Christopher Robin Milne behind the barricades and, among other things, work out just what went wrong when the youth attempted to create a new society by creating "poetry in the streets."

The cyberpunk author Rudy Rucker blurbed Billy Moon this way: “Doug Lain's Billy Moon is postmodern SF, powering past mere science and into a cubist world of strange. It's a mash-up of Phil Dick, Francoise Sagan, and Winnie the Pooh, with a jaded Christopher Robin at the heart of the 1968 Paris student revolution. Billy Moon is moving and profound, with a radically evanescent style. Just the thing for our new century.”

So that's the book I'm taking on the road. To communicate the idea in the book, an idea that could power me to write many other books, is a bit trickier. It's especially difficult because the one word I'd use to label my idea is this: "impossible." That is, I want to reconsider the impossible, and to point out that what is considered impossible is always necessary for the possible. You can't have something that is possible without something that is impossible tagging along.

Consider this:

In a recent episode of the American police procedural Castle, Detective Beckett traveled from New York to Washington, D.C. for a job interview at the Attorney General’s office. In a previous episode, she’d attracted the attention of a special investigator for the Attorney General by solving a particularly difficult murder. In the finale, this attention bears fruit as she is offered a chance to solve crimes on the national stage.

“If all you think you are is just a homicide detective then we can cut this short now,” the man in the expensive suit tells her.

This plot premise was impossible. Why? Because it was inconceivable that Beckett was going to take the job. To do so would end the program that made her pursuit of the job possible. And so, in this episode, one had to believe in something impossible in order for something possible to occur. That is, in order for Beckett to make the decision to stay, in order for an hour's worth of formula mystery to work itself out, we had to first believe in something impossible, namely that she might leave.

That's how the impossible usually works. One believes in the impossible without realizing the impossibility of what one believes, but there is another option. This is the option the students and workers aimed at in May of 1968. They aimed to seize the impossible. Their slogan was "Demand the Impossible." That is, if Beckett had been part of May 1968 she would've taken the job with the Attorney General.

Just how to do this, what the implications of seizing the impossible, or acting on the impossible, might be in practice, is what I’m taking on the road.


With the “Think the Impossible” Tour, Douglas Lain is aiming at promoting both his new novel and the idea of “the impossible” or of contradiction. Taking his philosophy podcast Diet Soap and his novel Billy Moon on the road, he’ll be interviewing Andrew Kliman from the Marxist Humanist Initiative, Margaret Kimberley from the Black Agenda Report, McKenzie Wark author of the Hacker Manifesto, Daniel Coffeen, sophist and pop philosopher, and a few others about what, for structural reasons, can’t usually be discussed in a capitalist society. Support his tour via Kickstarter.

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