Loose Ends: a literary supercut of 137 last lines from sci-fi books by Tom Comitta

I’ve featured Tom Comitta on Cultrface before with his airport novella and his tongue-in-cheek rework of Martin Scorsese’s Marvel essay. Back in September last year, he wrote a literary supercut called Loose Ends that pieced together the last lines from 137 sci-fi and fantasy books.

In true Comitta style, he makes sense out of fragments of media that were never intended to be seen in that way. I’d love to see this in a published book with different fonts for each line.

Here’s a quick excerpt:

Miles grinned sleepily, puddled down in his uniform. “Welcome to the beginning,” he said quietly. “We have a long way to go.”

“But I can’t speak Swedish,” I said.

“You’ll learn,” he said. “You’ll learn, you’ll learn.”

He threw on some more brush and watched the dark smoke spiral up under the sun, a warm and now comforting sun. “Let’s sail till we come to the edge.”

“Not until we can deliver our secret to our respective worlds. And acquire an intact ship.”

“Let’s go talk to Folimum and see what he says.” He turned back to his Master. He was ready to go.

“I think that could be arranged,” I said. I turned away from the bridge and Diane offered me her arm. I hesitated a moment, then took her arm.

Miles smiled. “Let the blind man show the way.”

He did.

You can read the full thing on Wired and there’s also an annotated version with the names of each book for each line.

(Featured image: original image via Flickr)

Tom Comitta pens tongue-in-cheek rework of Martin Scorsese's Marvel essay

A shelf of books

Tom Comitta’s Airport Novella was a whimsical jab at trashy airport books. But for his recent essay, I Said Mainstream Novels Aren’t Literature. Let Me Explain., Comitta took on one of the greatest film directors in history.

Martin Scorsese wrote an essay for the New York Times entitled I Said Marvel Movies Aren’t Cinema. Let Me Explain. where he reminded readers that cinema was “an art form” and superhero movies took no risk to create. The piece was polarising, to say the least.

Comitta told me after reading the Marvel essay, he noticed parallels with the fiction world and decided to copy and adapt it with all the film references replaced with literature subtext. But during the copy and paste process, Comitta spotted all the online ad text that came with it. And he left it in.

“This piece is tongue-in-cheek in some ways, but it highlights a problem that I find pervasive in the publishing world: that less-mainstream forms and voices are largely ignored in the face of a risk-averse, highly consolidated and corporatized publishing industry.”

Tom Comitta

This kind of writing resonates with me as a sample-based music producer. It also highlights the current era of cookie-cutter entertainment, full of reboots, remakes, and formulaic art. Scorsese would likely agree with that. But I wouldn’t put comic book movies in that bracket.

Superhero stories are more than fantastical tales of people in skintight costumes saving the world. They come from myths and legends. Captain America was a “consciously political creation” according to co-creator Joe Simon. Some scholars claim that the Superman story contains Judeo-Christian themes. Batman was inspired by pulp fiction and other sleuths like Dick Tracy and Zorro.

Tom Comitta’s stance, of course, lies in the world of publishing and the mainstream engorging with money and space while riskier, more obscure forms of literature get left behind.

Airport Novella - A Comedic Book by Tom Comitta

airport novella

Walking through departures feels like taking steps through a wardrobe into Narnia. You can buy things tax-free and as far as you’re concerned, you’re already on holiday the moment you’re at the gate. At the overpriced newsagents, they sell cheap holiday books. A few hundred pages of drivel containing gaping plot holes, excessive use of adjectives, and poorly constructed characters. But people buy them anyway because who needs a difficult read for a week on a sunny beach? These ideas formed the basis of Tom Comitta’s Airport Novella.

The 48-page book contains four chapters, each one dedicated to a particular gesture: “nodding, shrugging, odd looks, and gasps”. What does that entail? Download a free copy or purchase one to find out (but physical copies are shipped to the US only).