Monday, April 15, 2013

Micro-Post on So Long, Shakespeare

Brown, Tom. So Long, Shakespeare. N.p.: N.p., 2012.

I'm at the stage of grading where I have to bribe myself with a reward after finishing a certain number of essays. The reward, today, is composing a brief post on something Shakespeare-related.

The author of So Long, Shakespeare kindly sent me a copy, and I finished reading it a little while ago; I enjoyed it.

The novel's plot was interesting—it kept me reading to see what happens next—even though there are several points that are contrived. If you accept those, you're on your way to enjoying the book.

The story is on the science fiction side. You need to accept that the DNA of famous people has been gathered in a kind of DNA library. Then you need to accept that, in this world, it's possible to distill the creativity gene from a given set of DNA, turn in into pill form, and transfer that creativity to the person who swallows the pill. Then you need to accept that a mathematical formula can be developed that will, with an astonishingly high level of accuracy, determine the authorship of a given work.  You also need to imagine a new series of Star Wars films—and the attempt to earn an Academy Award for the last in a new series of six films (none of which has received an Oscar).

If those sound like building blocks for an authorship controversy plot, you're right—but that's where I need to stop my comments to avoid spoilers. I will say that the author plays around in pretty interesting ways with the question, having his characters distill the creativity gene from William Shakespeare, the Earl of Oxford, Francis Bacon, Queen Elizabeth I, Christopher Marlowe, and others.

If you buy into this world, I think you'll enjoy the novel.

Back to the next set of essays!

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2039 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest