Bradley J Milton; Kindle Edition
Published May 25th 2011 by Executive Creations
“What Jackson Pollock did for painting fifty years ago, Bradley J. Milton has today done for the novel.” — text from early review of Huckleberry Milton
Having made the international news in 2010 after publication of a new “politically correct” version of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, in which the infamous and controversial “n-word” in Twain’s classic novel had been replaced with something less offensive to today’s sensibilities, now we get the full monty: business executive, former Deadhead and ’80s technologist Bradley J. Milton has gone far beyond a simple one-word search-and-replace.
Using his neo-retro technology, a Windows PC and a dollop of hardcore psychedlia, he brings us an entertaining work so original, new, and entirely American that it shocks with its power — pushing the bounds of the novel with a message so unique, pressing and ultimately controversial that it may be the Finnegans Wake of our century.
It’s well into the second decade of the 21st century, where Osama bin Laden is dead and universal health care is coming for all — yet it’s also Evening in America, where the nation is faced with an unsolveable fiscal crisis at a time when, to the young generations, Woodstock is not even a memory … nor is Howard Cosell, Telly Savalas, CHiPs — or the original Charlie’s Angels, for that matter.
Enter the post-pomo meta-character Huckleberry Milton as he leaves the safety of his Twitter account and cramped office cubicle and goes off on a cross-country mindquest to bring this country together, melding the forgotten pop culture of decades past with the goings-on of now, reviving the counter-culture of the Sixties, and doing it with an amalgam of DIY technology: ’80s IBM PC software, 21st century future-tech, and plenty of hardcore psychedelia.
Can a robotic Jerry Garcia revive the Grateful Dead, playing ad-hoc (and continuous) concerts at local shopping malls, schoolyards and Subway restaurants, jump-starting a sinking economy and leading the way to a new, highly profitable American Dream?
Huck Milton — himself a product of Burroughsian cutup technique, AI experiments, gratuitous Notepad cut-and-paste operations, and something much deeper — shows the darkness, the fiery colors, the depth and originality of the idiot-savant mind of Bradley J. Milton.
A failed concert at Altamont over 40 years ago where the Hell’s Angels rough up the crowd quickly fades into Ed Wood graveyard backdrops, classic Hammer film horror scenes, Platonic dialogues between Laverne and Shirley — shots ring out in the cold air on the campus of Kent State, just beyond some grassy knoll — meanwhile back at the office, the new DOS 3.1 diskettes have arrived, and someone is dialing out on a modem with PROCOMM … a mysterious figure is attempting to be the next Jim Morrison, preaching to the dot-commer kids at Height-Ashbury … meanwhile on Twitter, delayed Morse code messages arrive from a capsized Love Boat (circa 1978), and tens of thousands of followers and members of the new ‘Generation SHOP’ are urging Yoko Ono to lead the new economic revolution.
Fans of Hunter S. Thompson’s drug-addled gonzo psychedelia, William S. Burroughs’ tripped-out routines, William T. Vollman’s deep weirdness, and anyone who appreciates the rare, odd humor of a mind that can blend five decades of pop culture into a musical lyric lullaby is going to love what this “business executive” (and former Deadhead) has conjured up: an American joyride that rockets through time, space, and several uncharted dimensions, bringing us to a crystalline happy Somewhere that we never thought we had access to.
– Goodreads on Huckleberry Milton
“Fans of Hunter S. Thompson’s drug-addled gonzo psychedelia […]” – and therein lies the problem. The only reference of Hunter S. Thompson’s work I’ve ever allowed to rest inside my head was the movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. A really smart, and really strange friend of mine pestered me about watching the thing with him for 20 hours before I finally gave in. When I did, I regretted my weakness. Deeply. Never argue with men that have green eyes, it’s the Devil’s work, you will always lose. Well I seem to
Anyways, the movie left a clear impression upon me: an awkwardly beautiful jumble that made me feel like jumping out of a window, repeatedly. I will not deny it has its charm, something of an intoxicating nature that seduces you and keeps you prisoner, like watching a train wreck happening. You know it will be bad, and there’ll be sorrow and much regret involved, but you won’t be able to stop in time to avoid it.
You may feel the movie didn’t do the spirit of Hunter S. Thompson‘s writing justice, but you will not catch me reading anything of his to make amends. No devilish enchanted green eyes in the world would be able to convince me, to talk or charm me into it. There isn’t enough charm and green eyes in the world to convince me.
But let’s get back to this book. I won’t sugarcoat or dance around it, and here it is: it gave me the exact same feeling as watching Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. therefore, for Thompson fans, I’m sure this would be a treat.
I’m of too much a different time to even begin to enjoy exploring this odd and frightening realm. I’m of the age when communication needs to be clear, and polished, and effective; it’s a missile you launch, after much strategic planning, and it has a clearly determined target; my European culture encourages dallying in exercises of the polished, metaphoric wording, but under the unwavering benevolence of order, even without much sense, and methodical layering of symbolism. Give ma Kafka, give me Boris Vian, and I will enjoy them, though considerably less then I did some years ago. I live in a much too Kafka-like place of the world to enjoy the encore of the senseless never-ending conundrum of events. I like gutsy, I like original, I even like peculiar. But I need clarity and order to enjoy anything, I need rational or emotional balance, I need sense.
This style, this is not my cup of tea, no matter how hard I try. And I tried, really really hard. This is my first DNF book submitted for review, and I feel guilty about it.
But I just can’t do it.