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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Please welcome to the world … Zak Ferguson The System Compendium (Sweat Drenched Press)

 

‘As a person with a diagnosis of Autism, Zak strived to create a book that gives the reader the closest thing to an autistic experience, as possible, a roller-coaster ride that Zak experiences on a daily basis, a psychological and mental challenge that has been shaped into a physical form. The reader will feel most things associated with Autism by immersing themselves into Zak’s world and writing.’ — Sweat Drenched Press

‘The messiness of Ferguson’s work is not the result of haphazard assembly, it is a means by which the text can come to life. It exists in this active position. Always evolving at the same rate that your eyes are able to scan the page. As soon to develop one of its numerous micro-narratives as it is to suddenly lose connection and reboot. Partial formations of language are quick to interrupt themselves. There is never time to stop. To think. There is always some-thing ahead to draw your eyes. To lure you into this accelerated motion until you are unable to halt your momentum. Commercial breaks / interludes become disruptions in the flow of writing. The coordinates of a momentary departure. …

‘Cut-up techniques are most often used to appropriate the language / imagery of one source and to transplant it into a new context. But rarely do we see this kind of internal cut-up, in which segments of the book itself are removed–cut-out. As if finding the scene of the crime / evidence of what has happened before / the source. Where that text was removed from. These disruptions also function as a potential portal. Point A in the line from The System Compendium to another object / book / work. Whether by Ferguson or another artist. The assembly process again shifts into the spotlight.

‘Often reading The System Compendium feels like sitting in front of an old HAM radio, trying to catch one of the many transmissions bouncing around. A web of disembodied voices arise from the darkness. Each trying to progress their own narrative thread before quickly being overwhelmed by another incoming signal. Tune into the signal. Listen to each voice. Ferguson’s prose is oratory. It feels like the projection of utterance, as if the entire novel was dictated before writing down. Each page has the desire to speak. With lips and throat and larynx growing out from behind as horrific modules. The book is a thing of desire and aspiration.’ — Mike Corrao, from ON THE HYPER METATEXTUALITY OF SHIT-TECHNOLOGIES

 

Praise for Zak Ferguson’s work

“Zak Ferguson’s writing is like letting an electric virus invade your central nervous system. Nothing is left intact. You are left wiped out and ready to reboot. It’s wonderful.” – Seb Doubinsky (Author of Missing Signal and THE INVISIBLE)

The System Compendium is far and away the most ambitious thing I can remember reading for some time, and certainly one of the most ambitious contemporary books I’ve read in a number of years. Maximalist to the hilt and as expressive as a gob of milky spit in the face of a court-ordered psychiatrist, this is a book to live within and with, an author to keep close.” – Grant Maierhofer (Author of PERIPATET, GAG, CLOG)

“Not often does new fiction come to this world so fully formed and peculiar in its execution. Zak Ferguson’s work confuses me on the deepest levels- and I would not have it any other way- as it twists a thread of visceral narrative layers only to break it and start anew. Ferguson dredges the most specific and proscribed shapes and images to page, stilting and rendered through oblique and haunting vantage, riddled through to the baser aspects of the conscious and condensing as something more. Writers like this are born to it, when one might suspect a heritage- Bataille, Lautréamont, Bulgakov, or Burroughs- but also with a surprisingly delicate touch. Manic images somehow increasingly specific, like intimate sea-divers setting off a light-pulse from within a leviathan, merging with genres like science fiction or metaphysics and rant. It is writing that burns itself”. – Jared Pappas Kelley (Author of SOLVENT FORM)

 

Excerpt

 

Purchase

@ Sweat Drenched Press
@ Amazon UK
@ Amazon US
@ Amazon Japan
@ Amazon France
@ Amazon Australia
@ Amazon Germany

 

 

The book is heavily influenced by a variety of authors, writers, directors, bands, and overall artists.
Mainstream, indie, populist, non-populist.

William S. Burroughs, Dennis Cooper, Nicola Barker, M. Kitchell, Mike Corrao, Grant Maierhofer, John Cooper Clarke, Sean Penn, Philip K Dick, Dave McKean, Stephen King (cliched I know), Kathy Acker, Peter James (of whom has been with me, at the very start of my writing, a real friend and support, since I was 11 years old – he has been there, guided me, supported me, encouraged and educated me for nearly 16 years) David Lynch, Ben Wheatley, Werner Herzog, Peter Strickland, Irvine Welsh, Neal Asher, Sam Raimi, David Cronenberg, Fritz Lang, Martin Amis, J.G Ballard, Will Self, Ben Elton, Terry Pratchett, Paul Stewart, Chris Riddell, Neil Gaiman (lesser so now), Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Palahniuk, Gary J. Shipley, Alan Moore, Tom Hardy, Michael Fassbinder, John Waters, Shane Jesse Christmass, Clive Barker, Sion Sono, The Prodigy, Young Fathers, Gorrilaz, Lana del Ray, Tom Waits, The Doors, The Clash, Halsey, Lady Gaga, Picasso, Bacon, George Michael, Nicolas Winding-Refn, Terrence Mallick, David Firth, Sailor Stephens, Carlos Davila, Jean Cocteau, Lars Von Trier, Matthew Vaughn, Shane Meadows, Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman (older scores/his Hellboy 2 score is a personal favourite) Guillermo Del Toro, Andy Muschietti, Rian Johnson, Alfred Hitchcock, Richard Fleischer, Paul Shrader, Adam Wingard, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese – and many, many more that I can’t recall off the top of my head.

The most important thing, behind me, and my works is AUTISM. That is the drive behind everything that I do creatively, whether to stem the madness or to access it and combine with it.

Here is some music that kept me company and semi-sane during the writing process – over a course of 5 years and contributed to the shape, messiness, madness, essence of The System Compendium.

Both of David Lynch’s album releases – Crazy Clown Time / The Big Dream.

The Prodigy is one of my bands in existence, and their music brings out the best and worst of me as a writer. I either end up writing the most messy, incoherent pieces of shit ever – or I end up writing the best shittiest piece of writing ever.

So here is selection that guided me into that white noise buzzing/vibing zone. Also, I love the music videos the Prodigy get. An eclectic selection of rough, experimentation and full-on grunge.

And others including

The Arctic Monkeys

Young Fathers

Wolf Alice

Iggy Pop

Lana Del Rey

High Contrast

Halsey

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. The singular and fascinating writer (and publisher and occasional visitor to DC’s) Zak Ferguson has a new book just out that has been many years in the works, and he wondered if it might be an occasion to roll out the blog’s red carpet, and I heartily agreed, so today we usher in ‘The System Compendium’ via samples of its glories and backstage peeks. Please give it and its evidence your close attention, and center it in your radar if you feel so inclined. Thanks! ** Shane Christmass, Hi. I have heard it, and I remember it being pretty swell. I’ve been wanting to cue it up, and your link is a wish granted, thanks, man. ** Misanthrope, Hey, G. I see. ** _Black_Acrylic, And the film pretty much lives up its title’s hype. Fist pump for Scotland today. ** Tosh Berman, You know, I don’t know if they’ve been translated. Odd. Maybe not? I feel like I would have noticed if they had been  in my post making forage. I can fairly safely say that Paris is Paris in all its wondrousness again. And today France drops the masks outdoors mandate, so even more so. ** Dominik, Hi!!! Yeah, I feel pretty myself again. I have a long walk to a scheduled destination ahead of me this morning, so I’ll find out for sure. We got a great storm last night, so I’m hoping it’ll be easier outside. Ha ha, hot dog. Of course now I’m going go spend hours looking at kinetic sand cutting video compilations because that’s just the sort of thing a nerd like me gets sparkly eyed about. Thank you, D. and love! Love making every human being on earth simultaneously put a cigarette in their mouths and try to light it unsuccessfully with a broken lighter while making a frowny face, G. ** David Ehrenstein, I haven’t seen an official obit, but Midgett’s close friends Raymond Foye and Penny Arcade mentioned it on Facebook and linked to some great interviews with him if you’re friends with them on there. ** Steve Erickson, Yeah, Criterion announced that box set the very day after I made the post, which was excellent timing. Yes, I would say ‘The Sporting Club’ is an excellent McGuane, but I think the next two — ‘Bushwacked Piano’ and ‘Ninety-Two in the Shade’ are even better. Curious to read your Ozon review — and hear your song. I’ve heard nothing very good about the Ozon. Everyone, Steve reviews Francis Ozon’s new film and drops a new song while he’s at it. ** Jeff J, Hi, Jeff. The very latest Peebles’ are a sort of slight return to form, but they’re not up there with the early films. Thanks a lot for that link! I am very interested, of course. A very hearty welcome back to your brain. Mine is finally emerging from its 2nd vax attack too. Brain wave party! I haven’t gotten to the Wang Bing show yet. It’s an exhibition of projections, videos, images, ephemera,  and short things. The actual films are getting a Cinematheque retrospective that starts soon. The only films I’ve seen very lately that I’ve liked a lot are Artavazd Pelechian’s NATURE and Tori Kudo’s ARCHIVE. I’m seeing the Sparks doc this weekend. Bon day, bud! ** Right. Please give Zak Ferguson’s book your local everything today. See you tomorrow.

14 Comments

  1. Damn Zak, I’m so proud of you with this finally being released out into the world in its ultimate compendium form. Now it’s time to sit back and notice the statistical rise in insomnia, irritability, anxiety, migraines and headaches, nausea, heart palpitations, hot flashes with sweating or chills, tremors, and dizziness among the general population… or wait, those are the symptoms of moon sickness… which are apparently a thing according to the internet? Love you much sir, and DC even more for serving as your doula on this blessed day.

  2. Hi!!

    Zak, if you happen to read this, the excerpt is brilliant! So is your taste in music. A million thanks! Can’t wait to read “The System Compendium”! And Dennis, thank you so much for introducing me (us) to Zak’s book!

    How did your long walk go? I worked out for the first time since my shot, and I finally feel like a perfectly functioning person again.

    Kinetic sand videos are hypnotic. I don’t know why it’s so very satisfying to watch/listen to them (I should read about this), but it is. Ah, what a nice sight that would be! Seriously, though, I really love this image. Thank you! Love only dating men who look like Tom of Finland illustrations, Od.

  3. Big congrats to Zak! Kudos, sir.

    Dennis, I’m off today. We have a new federal holiday in honor of Juneteenth. Got signed into law late yesterday afternoon, and then the Treasury Secretary emailed us that we’re off today. Juneteenth is June 19, so we get today off because the 19th is a Saturday.

    At worst, I’ve got a pretty chill day to work on things.

    Still working on my novel from years ago that I didn’t complete. I’m 45 pages through the 188 already in existence. Man, I totally don’t hate it at all. It is what I wanted it to be and what I think it should be. So far. A few minor edits so far, with more to come. When I’m finished, I’ll write the rest of it. I’m hoping to be finished by the end of the year.

    Once finished, that’ll be four full novels I’ve written in my life. I can’t complain too much about not having “done anything.”

    And then I’ll be onto my next thing, a satire more in the style of what people who know how I write are more accustomed to.

    Anyway, longer-than-expected weekend. Hope yours is well.

    Oh! And my mom and I got subpeonas to testify against David’s friend who is accused of shooting at those people. Ugh. The lady who dropped them off said it’s because we talked to the cops. Obviously, they’re just trying to establish a timeline and where he was that night. I don’t want to be part of this, hahaha. It’s so stupid. My mom doesn’t remember shit. Ugh.

  4. Zak, this looks terrific! I don’t see a goodreads entry for your book, just made one.

    Nice thoughtful review of the new Ozon, Steve. I’m reading similar opinions from friends (one warned of the Rod Stewart song, sigh). Will probably give it a miss.

    I’ve been getting a head start on movies for Halloween. Caveat is pretty cliche-driven. But Anything For Jackson is definitely worth checking out:
    https://letterboxd.com/film/anything-for-jackson/

    Bill

  5. @ Zak, congratulations on your publication with such a highly esteemed press. I love the extracts featured here today.

    England v Scotland finished 0-0 but it was a decent game with a dynamic performance by the Scots. They were fabulous throughout! Still need a victory in the final game against Croatia on Tuesday and I believe it can be done.

    • Thank you, also thank you for such a nice comment about SDP, a lot of work has gone into making it what it is, mostly in thanks to my partner Laura.

  6. Very cool stuff ack!
    I am a major Non-Fan of Penny Arcade. I await an officialobit with great sadness.

    Ozon is talented but exceedingly glib I’ve met him (he’s indescrbably babe-a-licious) and it’s clear (to meaat least)he could make better films if he wanted to. “Time to Leave” is his best

    Latest FaBlog: Flashback From a “Has-Been””

    And to oneand all a Happy Juneteenth!

  7. Congrats on the book publication, Zak! The use of all these different typefaces and playing around with text on the page reminds me of the conspiracy theory flyers that littered big cities before social media became a home for all that stuff.

    I hope to make it to Lincoln Center for the French documentary THE MONOPOLY OF VIOLENCE tomorrow evening.

    Gay City News published two of my pieces today, the “kink at Pride” op-ed (https://www.gaycitynews.com/dominating-and-humiliating-pride-into-respectability/) and a review of the documentary AGAINST THE CURRENT: https://www.gaycitynews.com/transgender-kayaker-against-the-current/

    New Yves Tumor & Tyler the Creator singles this week, with Tyler’s full album out next Friday! Have you seen the 1984 Prince-meets-hair metal performances from Tumor’s brief 2020 tour which are up on YouTube?

  8. Hey Dennis,

    This book and Autism being its driving force reminds me of this one internet figure named Ulillillia(real name Nick Smith) and his old blog and the books he wrote. They aren’t very similar but the idea of them both being portals into someone with a non-normative mental state linked them in my mind. Ulillillia’s books were written to emulate an RPG and are hyper detailed and mathematical in the descriptions with charts and figures to help show what Ulillillia was trying to say. The dialogue is even written in a script format to simulate a video game conversation. The YouTube channel Atrocity Guide did a good video on him and his weirdness if you’re interested.

    Besides this book, which I’m putting in my TBR and will hopefully remember to buy, are there any other hyper experimental books do you recommend that uses similar cut up and disjointed forms of prose to tell the narrative? I’m not familiar with many that use it throughout the book other than a few like House of Leaves and I’d like to become more familiar with those kinds of techniques.

  9. Thanks Bill, I just checked it out, the cover isn’t correct, but, cheers for the effort.

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