Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Helmet of Horror

I’m not even sure where to begin. I finished The Helmet of Horror a lot faster than I thought I would. It only took two days; I couldn’t put it down. I could have read it in one if I had the time. I’m thinking about it now, even considering re-reading it. There’s so much symbolism and philosophical thought I’m certain I missed. I’m never sure with translations, whether to attribute the readability to the author or translator, but the language was engaging and easy to follow. The concept however, is all Victor Pelevin.

The Helmet of Horror is a modern re-telling of the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. For those that don’t know, Theseus has to find his way out of a labyrinth while being pursued by a Minotaur. He uses a magic ball of string to find his way out and kills the Minotaur. There’s more to the myth that you can find here.

The novel is written entirely in dialogue, but without any of the characters actually speaking to each other. It takes place in an internet style chatroom. I say “internet style” because they actually aren’t on the internet; they can’t access anything with their computers except the chatroom. Their only interaction with anyone is through the computer screen; there are no voices or faces. They can’t share any personal information, not even their names. Each person is assigned a pseudonym, which they can’t change.

ASIDE: You can see what I mean with a preview from Google Books. I just discovered it as I was looking for an image of the front cover to add to this post. I tried a few other books out. It has previews for quite a few. I think I might use this in the future. I vaguely remember some kind of legal thing in the news about Google and publishers. Well, hopefully they’ve solved that problem.

There are mysterious moderators. There is a search for Theseus. Who is Asterisks? There is religion, philosophy and an incomprehensible Helmet of Horror. There is no proof than anyone the characters “speak” with is real.

Victor Pelevin’s The Helmet of Horror is a great addition to the Myth Series. Unlike the last Myth book I read, this one makes me eager to read another.

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