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Plus, by Joseph McElroy
Plus, by Joseph McElroy
A brain orbiting the earth in a capsule, its human body gone, its onetime body. A novel written from the point of view of the brain told in the 3rd person close up — too close for comfort. A brain that has been surgically divorced and lifted out of that body that had been terminally ill, we will learn — an engineer who had been suffering from radiation and had agreed to be used in a solar experiment — though he is perhaps of hardly more than passing concern in a tale whose growing is here and now under light which is alive in a capsule with green growing things . A solar energy experiment that changes unexpectedly.
A brain hooked up to instruments and nutrients in a space capsule, monitoring its physiological self, transmitting information along the Concentration Loop to scientists on Earth, whom it knows only by sound as the Good Voice, the Acrid Voice. Groping for words, memory, links, a grasp of what is happening to it, the brain, this stunned thing, begins to go beyond its assigned functions. It becomes more than IMP, a NASA acronym for Interplanetary Monitoring Platform. It is ImpPlus. Awakening, always awake, growing, we learn, not only as it relearns words and itself, fragments of memories from its terrestrial life and other data rich and fascinating, but growing a strange new body. When it develops an autonomous intellect and affective life and cuts itself off from ground control in the unraveling drama of this growth, what can be its fate in collaboration with the sun and still more than the sun?
"Nobody else writes or can write like McElroy.” —The Seattle Times
"Like the best of Schubert, Beethoven, or Haydn . . . a work that aims to make process signify more than it can say.” —Harry Mathews, The Review of Contemporary Fiction
“Brilliant . . . very moving . . . McElroy’s achievement may help us home from the apocalypse.” —The New York Times Book Review
ABOUT JOSEPH McELROY
Joseph McElroy is the author of nine novels, including A Smuggler’s Bible, Hind’s Kidnap,A Pastoral on Familiar Airs, Ancient History: A Paraphase, Lookout Cartridge, Plus,Women and Men, The Letter Left to Me, Actress in the House, and Cannonball. He has taught at Columbia, Temple, Queens College of the City University of New York, and New York University, among other universities. He currently lives in New York City.