#ELRBOOKS: Book reviews by Mez Breeze

Originally published on WordPress on the 29th November 2018.

The series #ELRBOOKS continues with Mez Breeze’s top five recommendations. In her first interview for the ELR Mez Breeze, talked about her work in the field of new media with a focus on her way of working with different media. With the following review the XR artist and VR/electronic literature developer brings us back to classics like “1984” and “Neuromancer”, but adds some refreshing new titles to our survey.

Good read!

a. A House of Leaves

Having been a massive Mise en abyme fan since reading Orwell’s 1984 at the tender age of 13 [or was it 14?], A House of Leaves scratches that distinct appreciation itch. A book that’s definitely re-readable for its ability to convey distinct dread in a creative and uncompromising form, unfortunately it’s the only creation from the author, Mark Z. Danielewski, that I’ve found palatable.

b. Neuromancer

On encountering William Gibson’s Neuromancer in a discount book bin in the early 1990’s, it soon became a fast favourite in terms of it mixing punkshot poiesis with techno-fetishistic concepts. Read it for the foregrounding value of the now hackneyed “Cyberpunk” label [if nothing else].

c. Writing Machines

Termed a “Media Pamphlet” by MIT press, Writing Machines by N. Katherine Hayles and Anne Burdick is an experiment in merging theory written through a semi- biographical cypher with[in] an experimental book format/layout. Having reviewed the book for Metamute back in 2002, although finding it problematic, […conceptually] it still resonates.

d. #WomenTechLit

Published in 2017, this book seems more than relevant in the era of the #MeToo movement. Edited by María Mencía, #WomenTechLit is part of the “Computing Literature” series distributed by the West Virginia University Press, and is a comprehensive overview of theory and practice from/of key figures [and their contributions] to the Electronic Literature field.

e. Attn: Solitude

Attn: Solitude isn’t a straight poetry book, nor is it a strict collation of cyborgian- emulated chapbook texts. The codework contents in this book do fragmentally fold [+ spit out of/from] poetic conventions. These microtexts do presentation-lap gently [yes: gently, albeit clinically, in some instances] at the cusp of code and poetry. Attn: Solitude employs mezangelle – a type of quasi-cobbled conventionset born from 90s digital fomentation – to form packets of code-laced and culturally inflected output.