Sunday, 16 September 2012

Books: Tom Holt

The story so far: Kevin Briggs has been turned into a chicken as part of a series of apparently random events involving a dry cleaners' shop, conveyancing lawyers, second-rate musicians, his neighbour's fridge and a pencil-sharpener. He finds himself talking to a hen, after having successfully confused and thus avoided fighting another cockerel.

The hen came a little closer and lowered her voice. "You know what a joke is," she said. "You know because you're..."
Instinctively he knew he didn't want to hear. He threw his head back and crowed until he thought his lungs would burst. But the hen just stood there.
"All right," she said, "try this. Which came first the chicken or the..."
He turned to run as though all the foxes in the world were crowding in on him. Then he stopped. "Egg, he said. "The chicken of the egg."
Slowly the hen nodded. "And the answer is?"
The word came from deep inside him somewhere, a place he didn't know existed. "Neither," he said.
"What did come first?"
"Transdimensional phase shift location," he replied, and the words squeezed out of him like (say) a square egg. "Setting up a differential feedback loop which in turn triggers a fundamental temporal paradox sequence, giving rise to what we subjectively term reality." (Holt, 2011, page 139)

Holt T., Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Sausages, 2011, One Reluctant Lemming Company Ltd., Orbit, Little, Brown Book Group, London.

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