Publications Writing

Etudes des Gottnarrenmaschinen

Work of experimental fiction published by Broken Dimanche Press.

These three texts manifest the schizoanalytic modelisation of subjectivity described by Félix Guattari in Chaosmosis, between material, energetic, and semiotic fluxes; concrete and abstract machines; virtual universes of value; and finite existential territories.  Together they explode our expectations by dizzying narrative the way John Zorn dizzies the saxophone, the way Marina Abramović dizzies the body, the way Ryan Trecartin dizzies the cinema.  As Anderson puts it, “ Stories are dead, performance is everything.”  And as Gertrude Stein put it, in anticipation of Études des Gottnarrenmaschinen, “He is expressing the time-sense of his contemporaries.” 

— Christopher Higgs, author of The Complete Works of Marvin K. Mooney     

étude |āˈt(y)o͞od|


a short musical composition, typically for one instrument, designed as an exercise to improve the technique or demonstrate the skill of the player.

It’s not often that a collection of writing reaches as far and wide as Shane Anderson’s debut work, Études des Gottnarrenmaschinen. Broken Dimanche Press is extremely excited to be publishing this bold collection which includes three works that explore the boundaries of fiction and poetry. Utilising a plethora of devices – erasures, pseudo application forms, Oulipo constraints, and the limits of the paragraph – this is indeed a virtuoso collection that takes on the problems of (modern) travel, power relations, historical and mental representation. Using humor as a tool to diffuse these heavy-handed themes, Études des Gottnarrenmaschinen takes the musical analogy of the ‘étude’ seriously, considering these to be studies, “lessons,” difficult, all aimed towards a future idea of what fiction could be, pushing up against a static Aristotelian scheme.

In this collection the reader moves from a Rome both ancient and modern to a reconfigured world of global travel, and on to a unique, philosophical examination of translation, rationalism and the possibility of the transcendent. Instead of being envious of the video game as the site of literary potential, Anderson has boldly taken on the form in the first piece of this collection, “Failed Proposals,” and what we get as the result is the closest one can come to having a Playstation story that Barthelme or Perec would be happy to sit down and play.

The second work, an extended version of “The Gospels of Movement,” which first appeared online, in its depiction of St. Patrick as the Slack Dog Snake Driver explores modern forms of travel and the potential for violence, searching and debunking the myth of Ireland’s patron saint, but also in an Andersonian way, reasserting it.

The final work in this collection is the “Cartesian Diver,” an extraordinary undertaking that explodes the idea of what words can and cannot achieve in the world of objects. This piece takes up Descartes and his Meditations on First Philosophy and as French philosopher Quentin Meillassoux has recently suggested, Cartesian rationalism is not as easy to do away with as modern philosophers would have us believe and as such, Anderson takes another, necessary stab at Descartes and leads us to surprising ground, giving way, in the end, to the Cartesian Evil Deceiver: a blueprint for what a speculative realist fiction could read like. In each of these pieces form is used with special care, finding the best tool to explore each of its powerful ideas.