A Boot Stomping a Human Face Forever — Actual title 10 A BOOT STOMPING 20 A HUMAN FACE 30 GOTO 10. A non-winning entry in 2009's 3-Day Novel contest, picked up by Australian publisher Legume Man Books and released in April 2010. Jess Gulbranson second trope-conscious novel.
The name comes from the computer programming language BASIC, in which it originally required each line to start with a number. The term "GOTO 10" will go back to the line starting with the number 10, which, since there is no way to break out of the loop, would continue forever. The title is a reference to a quote from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Short and sweet, the story concerns a music-fixated young man's discovery of a bizarre gift/curse, and his involvement with the parties that would like to exploit it. Buy it here.
This book provides examples of:
- Alien Geometries: The cold thing's presence alone causes the rules of physics to go awry locally.
- Faster-Than-Light Travel: The cold thing is explained as being able to send information and parts of itself over vast distances instantaneously by changing physics.
- Formulaic Magic: 1 divided by 0. Not just a good idea, it's the law.
- Historical Domain Character: Several, or at least their ghosts: Ian Curtis, Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley, and John von Neumann
- Psychic Nosebleed: Using necromancy in a way that defies logic results in psychic diarrhea.
- What Measure Is a Mook?: "The only reason I'm alive is because you're not a murderer. Unless you count the driver and all those guards..."
The "HeLa, HeLa" short provides examples of:
- Villain Protagonist: The point of the entire anthology, and the narrator, despite her Freudian Excuse, seems to have no redeeming qualities at all, apart from scientific skill.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Dropped on the first page:Narrator: ...became a non-issue when I went back east on a scholarship when I was fifteen. By the time I finished school and murdered my father, I didn't have much reason to go home...
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Implied with Huysman and MacManus, and Sentinel and Osborn are mentioned as well.
- Crapsack World: Despite the narrator's exaggerated misanthropy, this certainly seems to be the case.