How to Handle a Psycho
Don’t be so cruel as to enclose him or her in a small space. Leave that to the barbarians.
Plan A: You take him to a vast empty space, let him run completely free for several weeks, then follow and begin imitating whatever he does. In this way you gradually get his attention. Up to now he hadn’t a clue that anyone else existed, there was only a hostile chaos out to smash him if he didn’t smash it first.
You should know you’re dealing with a badly injured being in full amnesia. You treat him with calm kindness. Steady as she goes. No court-like hysteria, no foolish judging or religious mania. Soon, begin to have him imitate you. All this will be a revelation to him. The process is expensive.
Room and board alone costs a bundle, so your other option is to shoot him; a psycho must be taken out of human society. If you kill him he will of course come back but often they come back sane. If not, go back to Plan A. But on no account return him to your court system— their punishment will insure that he murders again and again for eons, unchanged.
This week, a review From Timeout, the arts & cultural magazine of London. First written in 1986, newly rediscovered.
Jody Scott knows that science fiction reaches the parts other fiction cannot reach. Like Philip K. Dick, she uses science fiction to question the meaning of reality and the nature of humanity- but saying that doesn't even hint at what a wild, original and outrageously funny writer she is.
The narrator of 'I, Vampire' is Sterling O'Blivion, a 700-year-old vampire working in a Chicago dance studio when alien anthropologist Benaroya , wearing a Virginia Woolf body, enlists her aid in a plan to cure humanity of its mass psychosis. Symptoms of this psychosis include wars, inflation, unemployment, boring novels and insurance: "If a species has "insurance" it is patently doomed. Only a toylike, salivating, pent-up bunch of gruntlings could have conceived of such a sociopathic type of gambling."
Fortunately for us, the willingness of just one person to stand up and say "Hey, wait a minute. Why are we acting like psychotics?" may be enough to set off a "self-propagating chain reaction of sanity."
'I, Vampire' is not only great good fun, it's better for you than Vitamin C, garlic or aerobic dancing. Read it: the reality you change may be your own.
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I first read Tim and Pete by James Robert Baker shortly after it was first published in 1992. I liked it very much then and I like it perhaps more now on second reading.
I was inspired to reread it because I am rereading all of Jody's novels as I scan them to safeguard from any possible loss (we had a wildfire evacuation here last September and it was scary to think that the bulk of her writing could have been lost forever), and prep manuscripts for upcoming publication. One of Jody's novels reminded me of Tim and Pete, and in another amusing coincidence, the servo-robots in her soon-to-be published SF satire Devil May Care are Nancy Reagans (see below).
Like much good satirical writing, Tim and Pete is fueled by a righteous anger at the hatred and discrimination experienced by gay men in the aftermath of AIDS, and skewers the hypocrisies of American society in a riproaring 24 hour odyssey through LA's gay underbelly.
'Not all fags are nelly pacifists' warn the PWA anarchists intent on blowing up Ronald and Nancy Reagan. They're damn mad and they aren't gonna take it anymore!
But lest you think this is a heavy read, it most decidedly is not! Tim and Pete are likable well-drawn protagonists, Baker is a superb writer, and the novel is funny as hell! Provided you dig black humor of course.
Through the art and music scene of the day; through swanky Santa Monica and the riot-ravaged South Central; hidden backroads off Mulholland Drive and memory-haunted crumbling bath houses, Tim And Pete is an iconoclast's tour-guide love letter to the city and the times that I happily let seduce me. I recommend you do the same.
Once upon a time Jody got an inquiry from a fellow writing a study of the word 'motherfucker.' Here is her take on the enfranchising of "feeling insulted" as an equivalent of actually being harmed.
Dear Jody Scott,
I'm writing one about the history of the word motherfucker. I see that in your 1951 novel you used the euphemism "motherjumper." Do you recall how you arrived at that word, and what you encountered after its publication?
Well: publishers are understandably paranoid about what the public will and won't accept, because they get letters all the time from angry people who won't buy their product and back in 1951 you absolutely could not say "motherfucker," so "jumper" seemed an acceptable replacement.
However, anyone who gets upset at a mere word is quite ill and needs help, especially when screaming and shrieking about how "insulted" they've been.
Could anything be crazier? Imagine being "insulted" by a mere WORD!
I feel that there should be educational centers where such a person can go to get destimulated. I know of one such method; they call it "Bullbaiting" (term copyrighted).
Imagine that you are terribly upset by the word--let's say--"Lollipop." You go in, pay your fifty bucks, have a seat and are immediately besieged by several people whispering and shouting "Lollipop!" at you.
Soon enough, no matter how "insulted" and "upset" you once were (insisting "But 'lollipop' demeans my entire race and species and I'll never get over being upset and anyone who uses such a terrible word is insensitive and should be fired if not executed" etc.)-- no matter how restimulated you formerly were, you can now go out laughing and feeling happy as hell, as if the weight of the world were lifted from your shoulders and life is looking rosy once again-- all because of a mere word.
Just think: there are people who can torture with grim-faced relish but who get horribly upset at the little word "torture," as if words can hurt you. They can't.
Words don't condemn confused humans to a life of hell on a small, toxically contaminated planet; people condemn people to a life of hell on a small, toxic etc. etc. etc.
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