Sewing Shut My Eyes is a tour-de-force avant-pop anti-spectacle—nine darkly satiric out-takes of America tubing. Visions of mid-air synchronicities, robotic cockroaches, cyborg poets and one monstrous HDTV, all rendered in a hypo-manic style of electrified clauses and full-throttle patter. Here's Mona Sausalito, self-proclaimed "fricking gorgeous" bad-little-girl for Escort à la Mode and, on the side, Neogoth lyricist in the band of her boyfriend Mosh ("His real name is Marvin Goldstein"). Mona wants to be a poet. "I write about human sacrifices, cannibalism, vampires, and stuff. Mosh loves my work. He says we're all going to be famous some day. Only right now we're not, which bites, cuz I've been writing for like almost ten months. These things take time, I guess."
Olsen hallucinates a turned-on, channel-surfing nation where pain has become home theater and given enough channels, watching would beat sex. A nameless agent of the ultimate phantom bureaucracy holds his Yeltsin-70 at the ready and recalls O.J. on trial, supermodels and styrofoam landscapes, America screening fast and addictive. In the title story, Kerwin Penumbro wakes on his birthday to the ultimate tv, the renowned Mitsubishi Stealth, and at a point thirty-three thousand feet above the triangulation of Iron Lightning, Faith, and Thunder Butte, SD, Itty Snibb, supremely confident dwarf and prosperous entrepreneur, prepares to meet God.
These are fictions for minds lit with cathode-ray tubes, hands pixilated with static, for bodies that have become switching stations for the Society of the Spectacle.
The only thing left to do is start sewing shut our eyes.
"Edgy, angular, these intricate narrative-pictorials fizz in that most anxiety-saturated space for high art, where the word and image meet easily and breezily on the bubbling rim of genre ... Olsen and Olsen are to the current stream of American alternative art what Olsen and Johnson were to the vaudeville circuit of the thirties and forties: Hell's still a-popping in these techno-parables, filled with surprising insights and articulations."—Samuel R. Delany
"An exhilarating, high octane performance ... consistently inventive—at once frenzied and furious and tender." —Carole Maso
"A very casual reader would read this collection and think that it's just sort of wildly inventive fiction having all sorts of zany fun with form and phonics. But what it is to me so powerfully is an extremely subtle, complex, and rigorous investigation into a set of related themes hovering around TV and death. Sewing Shut My Eyes is constantly exploring, with great rigor, wit, brilliance, and invention, how this folding screen actually folds. Andi Olsen's visuals ... take the coverlet off and assault the reader with the dream nation's reptile brain." —David Shields
"In Sewing Shut My Eyes Lance Olsen creates his neocontemporary worlds of cybernetic consciousness to disturbing and hilarious effect. With customary high-voltage inventiveness (both verbal and narrative) the fictions in this collection are as edgy and outrageous as previous works such as Tonguing the Zeitgeist that have earned Olsen his avant-pop reputation....Sewing Shut My Eyes adds to Lance Olsen's deeply knowing, ever-startling oeuvre."
—Review of Contemporary Fiction
"[Lance Olsen] exhibits a joyfully subversive Marx-Brothers mentality, spinning off deadly jokes and puns faster than Robin Williams can change voices. This is fiction that cuts you open and then patches your wounds with synthetic skin that's shinier and more adaptive than your original epidermis." —Asimov's
I'm a, like, poet. Mona. Mona Sausalito. I write lyrics for my boyfriend's band, Plato's Deathmetal Tumors. Plato's Deathmetal Tumors kicks butt. It's one of the best Neogoth bands in Seattle. My boyfriend's name is Mosh. Mosh shaved his head and tattooed it with rad circuitry patterns. He plays wicked cool lead and sings like Steve Tyler on amphetamines. Only that's not his real name. His real name is Marvin Goldstein. But so. Like I say, I'm a poet. I write about human sacrifices, cannibalism, vampires, and stuff. Mosh loves my work. He says we're all going to be famous some day. Only right now we're not, which bites, cuz I've been writing for like almost ten months. These things take time, I guess. Except we need some, like, cash to get by from week to week. Which is why Mosh one day says take the part-time job at Escort à la Mode. Why not? I say. Which I guess kind of brings me to my story.
Sewing Shut My Eyes
Sewing Shut My Eyes