What is Keelerian writing like? Here's a sample from the first few pages of The Riddle of the Traveling Skull (1934), one of Keeler's more popular efforts:For it must be remembered that at the time I knew quite nothing, naturally, concerning Milo Payne, the mysterious Cockney-talking Englishman with the checkered long-beaked Sherlockholmsian cap; nor of the latter's "Barr-Bag" which was as like my own bag as one Milwaukee wienerwurst is like another; nor of Legga, the Human Spider, with her four legs and her six arms; nor of Ichabod Chang, ex-convict, and son of Dong Chang; nor of the elusive poetess, Abigail Sprigge; nor of the Great Simon, with his 2163 pearl buttons; nor of--in short, I then knew quite nothing about anything or anybody involved in the affair of which I had now become a part, unless perchance it were my Nemesis, Sophie Kratzenschneiderwümpel--or Suing Sophie!
If you're not yet convinced that we're light-years away from Agatha Christie, try this exposition of the detection theories of Xenius Jones, hero of Keeler's mad, multimedia opus X. Jones--Of Scotland Yard (1936):So, Jones says, for all practical purposes, in a world of space and "time," the "wrinkles" resulting from the "crime-stress" appear, in reality, as "deviations." Deviations in human conduct: deviations from normal habit, custom, and procedure. In short, he says, in "3-Space-plus-Time," the crime may be likened to an explosion, or concussion, the force of which radiates out in all directions--not just into the future, he cautions--but also into the past!--definitely deviating the paths and conduct not only of the chief actors--but of all those who have intimate contact with them--and who, by that very relationship, are thus displaced in 4 dimensions from the chief actors. The maximum possible "deviation" in a murder is, Jones points out, that of the murdered man--whose course is deviated, for the first time, from living to being dead!
Or, for some quick, surreal gems, how about these chapter titles from The Bottle With the Green Wax Seal (1942):
- The Chromatic Whimsicalness of Avunculi Samuelis
- Synthetic Mexican
- "Eternal Recurrence--'Repetition Eternal'!"
- The Micro-Axially Condensed Typewriter!
Now, do you think your brain can handle a complete Keelerian work? Here's how to find one:
- Ramble House, run by HSKS member Fender Tucker, offers affordable, print-on-demand editions of Keeler's works, including a number of previously unpublished novels.
- McSweeney's has reissued The Riddle of the Traveling Skull.
- We have a few texts available electronically at our e-texts page.
- Interlibrary loan can work wonders.
- Many used book dealers offer Keelers. Find them on Bookfinder.
If you find that you're one of the few, the proud, the Keelerites...
...the Keeler Society will be waiting for you!
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