The Giant's Thumb and The Fish
I was curious if anyone had had a chance to read either of these two rarer novels by Crowley?
If so, how were there compared to his more available works?
Are they worth the attempt to buy and read them or are things like Moonchild and Simon Iff better reads?
I find his fiction is far less talked about than his other works. What are the plots like?
I am curious 🙂 Thanks!
The Giant's Thumb is a rather excellent collection of poems, not a novel. The Fish is unfinished and reads at best like a work in progress.
Both are worth buying and reading. Both are frequently available through Abebooks and eBay.
Owner and Editor
Thanks Paul ^_^v If you had to list your favourites of his nonfiction out of moonchild, the fish, giants thumb, and simon iff, which ones would you place on top as best in your opinion?
The Diary Of A Drug Fiend followed by Moonchild. But they're not "nonfiction"… And, as I mentioned, Giant's Thumb is poetry whereas the others in your list are a novel, a novella and short stories..
Owner and Editor
The enquiry may be addressed to Paul, & he is the best person to ask absolutely, but I cannot resist chiming in my own pennie: Wasn't there also an unfinished work called maybe " Roger Bloxum"? My spelling etc. may be incorrect, but I remember reading it ten years ago when the OTO would sporadicaly put their archives online. I thought that this would have been his best.~~ Aside, I love everything he wrote; the IFF stories are fun.
"Not the Life and Adventures of Sir Roger Bloxam" is a minor masterpiece though not at present published. There are versions online but with a few too many typographical defects. It is a satirical pastiche of Tristam Shandy in the same way that The Fish does a number on H.Rider Haggard and Atlantis leans on Flatland.
In Bloxam the characters are personifications of the author's sex organs and the adventures throw light on Aleister's own antics but without going down the Frank Harris route (drooling over yesterfuck). Crowley wrote of it "unfinished and it is tecnically impossible to finish". This is a bit disingenuous, really he means impossible to finish because the story is not over. The Fish is not finished in the ordinary sense of the word. Bloxham contains some of the most arcane puns and rich allusions in the English language, some of which you will only find on re-re-reading and only then if you are up to speed on AC's life and work. It includes satires on his own propaganda war work for the German cause and is also an essay on the concept of 'notness'.
I second Horemakhet's high opinion of the Simon Iff stories, especially the unpublished ones (but online and, unusually, copyright granted pre-bankruptcy to Pearl Brooksmith); there aren't many detectives who help the culprit out with an alibi.
. . Algernon Blackwood had a similar character to Simon Iff called 'John Silence'. I am just about to read those stories for the first time.~~ I cannot resist mentioning that if anyone out there enjoys this type of work, you should check out 'Uncle Silas' by Le Fanu, & 'The Widow Lerouge' by Gaboriau.
Thank you OK for your post. I was trusting in my memory, & I came close. Tristram Shandy is probably my favourite book; I have read it ten times & never tire of it. It is no wonder that I took to Roger Bloxam like I did. Must read it again!!
thanks everyone for your insights. it helps me out a lot cuz i know nothing or next to nothing about the man's fiction.
thats what i meant to type in my second post, FICTION not nonfiction. i think my first purchase of his fiction shall be moonchild just because it is the most talked about and there is an interesting looking version published soon in hardback with a skeleton on the cover. not fitting based on the title but i wanted a hardback copy. any other people have read The Fish or his fiction let me know 🙂
take care allll
Don't know if it's a hardcover, but it's with a long introduction by Donn Webb, that might be interesting to some.
I really enjoy "Moonchild", it was one of the first few books I read by A.C. I agree with Horemakhet and OK that the Simon Iff stories are excellent. I think they rival "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes" in the mystery/detective genre, although I am fond of the latter as well. Thanks, Horemakhet, for the info on Blackwood's "John Silence" stories. I haven't read those but what I have read by him is excellent!
"The Fish" is definitely worth purchasing, even if it is unfinshed. I do believe that it contains "De Arte Magica" as an appendix.
I'd also recommend the "Carnacki the Ghost Finder" series, by William Hope Hodgson from the early part of the 20th Century: another occult detective, similar to Iff, but one who utilises an electric pentacle! Very entertaining stories.
I think you'll enjoy the John Silence tales too, Horemakhet.
No. It - as published by Tony Naylor's Mandrake Press - includes, as an appendix, The Cephaloedium Working. And a rather good introduction by Lawrence Sutin.
Owner and Editor
Thanks for the clarification, Paul. It's been a while since I looked at this volumes description when it shows up on ebay. This thread has made me more interested in this book, and I may just buy one. I would really love to read the introduction by Lawrence Sutin. Thanks again, Paul. Your knowledge of Crowleyania does not suprise me, but is astounds me sometimes. We couldn't ask for a better Webmaster for this site, IMHO. Keep up the Great Work!
In Bloxam the characters are personifications of the author's sex organs and the adventures throw light on Aleister's own antics...
Sorry for the slight delay in responding to this thread, but I wanted to agree with OK here that "Not the Life and Adventures of Sir Roger Bloxham - A Novelissima" - is indeed a minor masterpiece. In motta's introduction to the Bagh-i-Muattar (Equinox Volume V, no 4) there is an excerpt of this work wherein the characters are identified as follows:
Sir Roger Bloxam - A.C.
Porphyria Poppoea - A.C.'s anus
Hippolytus - Herbert Charles Jerome Pollitt
Signor Coglio the Florentine and brave Don Cojone de Legrona - A.C.'s balls.
Cardinal Mentula - A.C.'s penis
This is classic Crowley IMO. Only he could come up with something like this! This excerpt, along with being totally hilarious, gives a good insight into Crowley's relationship and feelings about Pollitt. He obviously regretted that the relationship ended.