Item description for The Million-Year Centipede by Eckhard Gerdes...
Wakelin, frontman of seminal rock group The Hinge, once wrote a poem so prophetic that to ignore its wisdom is to doom yourself to drown in blood. After realizing the power of his words he faked his own death. Now one obsessed fan is tracking Wakelin down...can he be found before it's too late?
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.44" Weight: 0.66 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 2007
Publisher Raw Dog Screaming Press
ISBN 1933293349 ISBN13 9781933293349
Availability 0 units.
More About Eckhard Gerdes
Eckhard Gerdes is an American-born novelist & editor, author of several novels including HUGH MOORE (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2010). He earned his MFA in creative writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He lives with his wife, filmmaker Persis Gerdes, and their three sons, Sterling, Ludwig, and Ulysses.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Million-Year Centipede?
A Revelation Nov 7, 2007
I just saw Mr. Gerdes do a short reading of his new novel tonight at Lake Forest College, then promptly read the entire thing in a single sitting. At first, I was unimpressed. But I read deeper into the fragmented prose, somewhere between Hemingway and Burroughs, and found it to be incredibly mind-bending. A story which is strong, even poignant, but sick and twisted enough to satisfy any postmodernist fiction fan. This may well be a kind of underground masterpiece. Incredible job, Eckhard.
The Million Year Centipede Jun 17, 2007
In Eckhard Gerdes' latest novel, the rock `n' roll lifestyle of the sixties meets apocalyptic prophecy, setting the stage for a darkly funny, stylistically innovative work of fiction. The story begins when Wakelin, the frontman of rock band The Hinge, writes a poem, not knowing at the time just how prophetic his words will turn out to be. Anticipating the giant centipede god that comes to collect the true rock `n' roll fans at the end of the novel, Wakelin's poem forms a striking and imaginative counterpart to the modern doomsayers and fundamentalists that have become so prominent in American culture. Built of fragments of memory, drawings, text, and songs, the novel raises more questions about hero-worship, the apocalypse, and rock music than it provides answers, forming an altogether postmodern parody of American culture.
Although the novel is written in the third person, Gerdes' ability to write in different narrative voices for different characters, which range from that of a giant centipede to a crazed fan and even an aging rocker, impresses with its stylistic range. One example of this novelist's aptitude for creating these distinctive narrative voices can be found in Chapter Eight, where Gerdes writes: "The innocent does not yet bother to unpack his one bag and its scanty contents of clothing, music, and a couple of books [...] He dreams of meeting Wakelin and following him to the truth. He is fearful of failure, needing a way to work it out should his dream fall through" (41-42). Gerdes' use of declarative sentences, repetition, and abstractions like "truth" and "failure" creates a tone just as fanatical as the Hinge fan who attempts to track Wakelin down. The use of formal diction and the lack of contractions in this passage also contribute to this obsessive tone, which matches the character being described perfectly. This passage contrasts sharply with other parts of the book, such as the passages that depict Wakelin, which resemble rock lyrics in their dramatic metaphors and repetitions. For example, Gerdes writes: "He travels - alone in his ship he traverses the remaining space until he enters the void of pure darkness. All is still" (33). Metaphors like "the void of pure darkness" and "Sea of Death" set a tone similar to a sixties rock song, along with more conventionally poetic phrases like "All is still" and "the path which has beckoned him to follow." Carefully matching form and content, Gerdes' The Million Year Centipede is a stylistically diverse and well-written read.
Gerdes' use of typography also helps accomplish this stylistic range. Appearing in some of the passages that narrate the rocker's inner deliberations, the author uses typography to convey the scattered thought processes of this person. For example, Gerdes writes: "I have today/ today/ only/ today./ Quiet Alone/ (at peace)/ I awaken/ wake up/ alone alone" (11). An innovative approach to stream-of-consciousness writing, Gerdes allows the reader to experience the musician's disjointed train of thought by creating a visual field in which words and images are discontinuous and fragmented. Words and phrases often resurface in this visual field, but Gerdes still gives no definitive answers to the questions he raises, allowing the reader to form his or her own connections and conclusions.
This stylistic maneuvering compliments the subject matter of the book in unexpected ways, often adding a dark or ironic twist to the material. Gerdes writes, for example: QUESTION: WHAT IS ALL YOU NEED? WAKELIN: SANITY; LOVE. QUESTION: WHICH? WAKELIN: THEY ARE SYNONYMOUS. QUESTION: WHAT IS ALL YOU BLEED? WAKELIN: ALL I LOVE" (35). This question and answer section, which also resembles rock lyrics in both its format and the use of exact end rhyme, has darker connotations than most songs on the radio. Evoking Wakelin's own instability and the apocalyptic imagery that is prominent in the novel, this resemblance to song lyrics becomes both ironic and chilling.
The Million Year Centipede is a delightfully modern, wonderfully original read. Two thumbs up!
This was the book that started it all! Mar 6, 2007
Hi, fellow book lovers! This is one of my favorite novels that I've written. If you like Jim Morrison and the Doors; if you like dark prophecy, lizard kings and centipedes, creepy things crawling through the subconscious mind, 1960s counter-culture (and its modern echoes); if you like twisted tales designed to bend your mind, I think you might like this. It was the first novel I ever completed, back in 1977-78, and it is released to coincide with my 30th anniversary as a novelist. I only ever sent it to one publisher back then, City Lights, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti replied, "A fascinating piece of fantasy work. Unfortunately it really is beyond us." That response confused me so much that I never sent the novel out again until John Lawson, the editor of Raw Dog Screaming Press, and I began talking about it one day and he expressed an interest in it. Now here it is. I hope the book creeps you out. If it does, I have succeeded. Thanks, Eckhard