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Bewildering Stories

The Critics’ Corner

Decoding Floozman, chapter 20.1

by Gary Inbinder

“Fred Looseman points at the stars with his finger. The crowd is making fun of him and playing practical jokes. Kids pour alcohol into the tubes of the spacesuit. Firecrackers crackle on the edge of the mutant jungle.”

I’ve already commented on the significance of this scene, which first appeared a few chapters ago. I’ve come to expect this sort of thing in a story that defies the unities of time, place, and action, and thumbs its nose at anything that resembles traditional narrative structure. It’s another example of François Rabelais’ “Pantagruelism.”

The Ouroboros also appears in “Karat Cake.” It’s is an alchemical symbol of resurrection. The zombified Floozman has been resurrected. He is now the Messiah who will save the world with Fiat money, such as manna, “Pennies from Heaven,” or the Panis Angelicus. The symbolism is consistent with all the Floozman stories, which I’ve read as broad satires of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

“Winaretta” is an unusual name. It might be an allusion to Winaretta Singer, also known as the Princesse de Polignac. The American heiress, a lesbian, married Prince Edmond de Polignac, who was gay. They were famous patrons of the arts, and Proust was part of their social circle. Proust’s character, Baron Charlus, was modeled on the prince.

“Rhône-Poulenc” is one of Floozman’s “magic words,” along with the more familiar Shazam, from the Captain Marvel comic books. Rhône-Poulenc is a prominent French chemical and pharmaceutical company that was involved in a Swedish environmental disaster back in the late 1990’s. Draw your own conclusions.

Copyright © 2016 by Gary Inbinder

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