Only Revolutions


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and twice as complicated

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Throughout the year, some of Mark Z. Danielewski’s biggest fans have been participating in a revolutionary experiment.  Danielewski has taken the footnotes and appendices of House of Leaves about ten steps forward.  Fan submissions to an August 2005 post on Danielewski’s official website mingle with the prose narratives of Hailey and Sam, the two protagonists in the author’s second novel, Only Revolutions.

Danielewski includes historical notes in the margins, and a portion of Sam’s story, as well as a portion of Hailey’s, on each of the 360 pages in his latest work.  The novel gives hints that the narratives, told in Sam and Hailey’s point of view, are actually voiceover to the historical notes, which would show up on the movie screen of your mind.  The book literally has the reader turning the pages, as well as the actual book, as Sam and Hailey embark on a roadtrip throughout two hundred years of history, some of which hasn’t happened yet. 

The book is difficult to take in all at once, as it is masterfully complex.  Each page contains a preset number of words from each narrative.  Cars, animals and plants are scattered throughout each side of the story, many of which were culled from fan submissions and suggestions from friends.  The story is one of love and war.  As millions die in the historical sidebars, Sam and Hailey’s cars are fueled forward on roadways throughout the United States, stopping through familiar locations, and leaving carnage in their path.

At the beginning of the Spring, Danielewski started another part of the experiment.  His official website had become a vast resource of information and discussion about his previous works, and he wanted to make sure that same resource would be available for fans of his new novel.  He invited approximately 60 loyal forum participants to experience the book six months before it went to print.  Advance Reader Editions were sent out to these fans, with the compliments of the author, to allow them to begin their analysis and discussion.

As Summer began, Danielewski again asked his fans for assistance, this time in an open audition for the audio project that would be developed alongside the print version of Only Revolutions.  The first fruits of this part of the experiment can be heard in “Revolutions of Ruin,” an audio track currently playable on Danielewski’s website, as well as on MySpace.  “Revolutions of Ruin” includes 20 voices, most coming from the fan submissions.

Autumn brings us the actual physical book release.  The novel is now available in the United States, and the United Kingdom. Danielewski is set to tour North America, including readings, Q&A and signings at many bookstores.  Follow the tour allong with US on our blog.

Many thanks to MZD and Michiko for their help!


   
Sam Hailey