David Moser's relentlessly self-referential story "This Is the Title of This Story, Which Is Also Found Several Times in the Story Itself" begins simply enough with the fairly ordinary sentence "This is the first sentence of this story."

But by the fourth paragraph, a harbinger of what is to come: "Introduces, in this paragraph, the device of sentence fragments. A sentence fragment. Another. Good device. Will be used more later."

True enough. "Incest. The unspeakable taboo. The universal prohibition. Incest. And notice the sentence fragments? Good literary device. Will be used more later."

A later passage from the same increasingly disconnected tale: "Bizarre. A sentence fragment. Another fragment. Twelve years old. This is a sentence that. Fragmented. And strangling his mother. Sorry, sorry. Bizarre. This. More fragments. This is it. Fragments. The title of this story, which. Blond. Sorry, sorry. Fragment after fragment. Harder. This is a sentence that. Fragments. Damn good device."

Still further down: "The purpose. Of this paragraph. Is to apologize. For its gratuitous use. Of. Sentence fragments. Sorry. "

And then: "Or this sentence fragment? Or three words? Two words? One?"

Getting near the end: "By the throat. Harder. Harder, harder."

Lastly: "This is."

Read. The whole thing. Worthwhile. NSFW, technically.


Michael Everson said...

I wonder if I will love this, or hate it a lot...

Arthaey Angosii said...

I remember first reading this back in high school and loving it. My other friends didn't quite get it, though. I'm glad to see someone else enjoying it out there. :)

opoudjis said...

I loved it in high school, I think I'd hate it now. Self-reference was cute enough in isolation, but in contemporary culture it's become a mainstream surrogate for content, and I'm over it. "Pop Will Eat Itself", as the band name goes.

Then again, I do now dislike Hofstadter (who publicised the story) since Ton Beau de Marot—though I think it's me that changed, not Hofstadter.

John Cowan said...

opoudjis: While I was reading TBdM, I decided to write DRH a letter with my comments and objections. Then the letter mutated into an open letter; then (fortunately before I wrote any of it) I realized that it would be a book about half the size of TBdM itself. So I gave up.

But hey, I still like his stuff.