Snuff Memories: Book Review

Snuff Memories is made up of multiple vignettes that read more like a prose poem than a work of narrative fiction. Like a sort of cut-up Cronenberg each segment is filled body horror and twisted imagery which at times portray an interesting portrait of a grim apocalyptic world.
Scattered throughout the text are some beautifully nightmarish aphorisms: “The universe is composed of windowless monads each locked away and screaming.”
However, Snuff Memories quickly goes from vivid nightmare to hazy dream. The experimental writing style of David Roden makes the vast majority of the book incomprehensible and sometimes rambling or repetitive.
The book has some kind of underlining philosophy which is lost on me. Perhaps that’s because I’m unfamiliar with the authors prior philosophical writings and the field of Post-humanism or maybe because of just how unclear the book is.

The American Astronaut (2001): Film Review

The American Astronaut – as obscure as it is unique. This film has been largely forgotten about and mentioned only on rare occasions in the deepest darkest corners of cinephile forums. Unfortunately the film is not available on any streaming platforms and the DVD is long out of print – pushing it further into the depths of obscurity. The American Astronaut is a musical Space-Western with the aesthetic of a 1950s B-Movie only bleaker.
The story is set in an alternative timeline in which space travel was pioneered by independent roughneck types rather than sophisticated scientists and noble Astronauts.
Here we don’t have any nice Star-Trek style space ships with flashy lights and glowing control panels – we have clapped out amateur space craft that looked like they are held together with tape and made in some ones garage out of whatever junk he could find. It’s a strange aesthetic that belongs in a genre that never came to be. A revision of Retrofuturism similar to now Steam Punk revised Retrofuturism – only this is gritty rather than goofy.
The film was written and directed by Cory McAbee who also plays the lead character Samuel Curtis (and whose band The Billy Nayer Show performed the soundtrack). Curtis is an independent Astronaut drifting from place to place, making deliveries wherever he needs to in order to make some cash. After delivering a cat to a client in a dive bar based on an asteroid – Curtis bumps into his old friend – the renowned fresh fruit smuggler – The Blueberry Pirate (Joshua Taylor) who involves him in a number of shady deals on numerous planets leading to one big score. The only problem being that Curtis is being followed by his old enemy – the murderous Professor Hess.
Despite its absurd story and musical numbers the film is played completely straight – no over the top or comic acting – these parts are played more seriously than those of a Shakespeare play. This crossed with the aesthetic contributes to the films uniqueness and strange feel.
I really enjoyed this one. I think it’s a shame this ones so overlooked. It’s a shame it’s so deeply buried when it has the potential to be a cult classic. The American Astronaut is something I’ll go around recommending to people knowing they may very well never see it.

Facing a landscape annihilated by the light, to remain serene supposes a temper I do not have. The sun is my purveyor of black thoughts; and summer the season when I have always reconsidered my relations with this world and with myself, to the greatest prejudice of both.
Emil Cioran