Based loosely on the style, format and narrative content of James Joyce’s ULYSSES, LEO, a new first novel by Smoke Williams, is a work of young adult fiction. It aims to take the grand ambition of Joyce and make it available for today’s generation that lives and breathes on the internet. Intsead of being set in Dublin, LEO is an American story, but one that takes place mostly on the internet. Actually, the verbosity, the grandiose performances of poetic language and the puerile humor of Joyce now must be seen as relatively mundane when compared to the lewd pastiche of words and images we find everyday in our internet feeds. The constant stream of information is overwhelming, just in the way that Joyce’s Dublin seems hyperactive with ads, chatter and gossip. Here below is a part of Smoke Williams’s adpation of Joyce’s famous Lestrygonians episode (remember the one that takes place in the pub with all the rude mechanicals yelling opinionated tirades about this and that); Williams shifts the scene to a reddit forum where the same style of nonsense-disguised-as-deeply-held-opinion and vice-versa abounds.
EPISODE 5: BIG BABY BOYS ON THE INTERNET
Leo hops on the commuter bus, brandishes his cell phone for the driver (showing that yes, as always, he paid his fare well in advance of boarding), and affixes his cheeks to the plastic cushions. He squeezes in next to an old lady who seems to be on her way back from a grocery excursion as evidenced by the copious saltines, sweets and bovine milk products she is carrying on her person. Wow what a haul. Leo unsheaths his knock-off apple iphone device from his pocket and taps lightly on the screen a number of times.
r/movies. New releases forum. Batman franchise. New edition of star wars, despecialized. Megan Fox or Scarlett Johansson. Where do you rent movies?
The air on the bus just got a bit more sweaty as a group of men all dressed in soiled soccer kits paid their fare and slid down the aisle in Leo’s direction. When did I exercise last? Oh, Mol, you’re always telling me I need to try new things. Dumb sports. Wonder what she’s doing now. Leo gazes down at the illuminated screen at his lap, avoiding eye contact with these new men onboard. The forum on the two bombshell actresses looks promising.
Megan Fox is not an actress. Yeah but she is so sexy. OK fair. Why doesn’t she just do a movie where there are no clothes involved?
Leo shuts the thing off, and taps his foot. How many more stops till I am returned. Mol might be back too, but that wouldn’t be good. She thinks I only went out for a quick bite. The time is now 5:00. Make up excuse. Tell her nothing. She has not told me anything, so only fair. And looking at her instagram revealed exactly what I was thinking. Leo was starting to perspire. The old lady next to him started to notice the sweat dripping off his shirt, and she shifted the plump bags of provisions slightly away. Oh let’s just get there already.