by D. Harlan Wilson

ISBN 978-0-9931955-8-7
Paperback, 80pp
Publication date: October 2018
Equus Press: London

Price: € 12.00 (not including postage)


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In the late 1960s, J.G. Ballard levied a fierce critique against the then-new phenomenon of media politics, populating the "condensed novels" of The Atrocity Exhibition with such real-life fictionalised characters as Jacqueline Kennedy, JFK, Marilyn Monroe and, of course, Ronald Reagan (whom his protagonist wanted to fuck). He fashioned an insane main character: a doctor at a mental hospital who himself surrenders to a world of psychosis. Ballard vied for a scandal and managed to cause one.

50 years later, D. Harlan Wilson's Natural Complexions explores the dynamics of contemporary American media pathology and resorts to similar formal strategies. Wilson collects satirical vignettes and docufictions extrapolated from actual news stories, spam emails, advertisements, social networks, and other scraps of disposable infotainment. There's little need for fictionalising here, as in 2018, there's no fiction more fictional than the "real". Through the interactions of over 100 characters, among them movie stars, ex-presidents, televangelists, motivational speakers, con artists, back-alley philosophers, forensics experts and Biblical kings, Wilson's book faithfully renders the absurdist spiritus mundi that galvanizes the cultural landscape. In contemporary America, you don't get to fuck the president, but the president sure as hell gets to fuck you. Wilson's protagonist, a mysterious trickster named Brian Gonka, haunts the pages of the narrative like a machinic ghost. No need to surrender to psychosis here - sanity is no longer an option.