notes

>1. In 98.6, Ron Sukenick's character Ron engages in his own struggle to rework the English language: "To celebrate the near completion of their house Ron makes up a song. The song he makes up on this occasion is part of his plot to destroy the English language. The song goes like this. Bjorsqi poppamomma/ Wocky wocky/ Plastic jam/ Iron blintzes/ Fill the inches/ Sooky buby nishtgedeit" (75). Bjorsq is perhaps his favorite "new" word.

>2. This would be the Deleuze-Guattarian understanding of the unconscious. The unconscious to which Deleuze and Guattari turn is not a Freudian unconscious, a deep space in the whole being where repressed thoughts and images reside. Nor is it merely the ambiguous space that Lacan theorized to be existing between the dual poles of the Imaginary and the Symbolic. Rather, the unconscious is everything: all energy and unformed matter and the indeterminacies of the becoming of formed matter. It is the virtual not yet organized into actual beings, the movement that organized, actual beings make in de-organizing and re-organizing. It is everything "that is left behind in a contraction of selection or sensation that moves from one level of organization to another...It is continually changing as all of those levels are superposed and actualized to different degrees as the body jumps from one more or less indeterminate threshold state to the next" (Massumi 83). Since energy, unformed and formed matter are never "completed," since they are always in a state of flux and becoming, the "only things the unconscious is not are present perception and reflection (personalized redundancy)" (Massumi 83). This unconscious is all free-floating energy, consisting of the non-rational, the unthought, and movement towards it is a Deleuze-Guattarian mapping (writing). However, the unconscious is a limit-stage, always on an ever-receding horizon; it can not be reached or represented, only approached.

>3. The people that I take "him" to represent would be all those Americans facing difficult life-choices in the immediately post-revolutionary times of the 1970's. "He" would also seem to explicitly refer to Sukenick, or at least Sukenick's manifestations of "himself" in his fictions. "He" arrives into the book on a boat piloted by the character named Sailor, who guides "R" (a manifestation of Roland Sycamore, who is a manifestation of Out's character Ronald Sukenick, who is the author-entered-into the text) seaward, out of Sukenick's previous novel.

>4. The section on the Hell's Angels, for instance, is lifted from Tom Wolfe's Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

>5. Soon after "The Children of Frankenstein" section begins, Dave becomes Goose - "It has to do with this new feeling of risk he has in trusting Feather and Al so much. It's like he's sticking his neck out but the more it sticks out the further he flies" (83). Al becomes Tom. As moments of flux precipitate changes within the territory of The Children of Frankenstein, The Children begin to literally re-imagine who they are; as their "self" identities open and alter within the commune their names change. It is a molecularity - a process of signification that both retains and does-away-with names altogether. Sukenick says in "The Death of the Novel," "We improvise our lives as we improvise our art," and this, in many ways, becomes a genuine possibility for The Children of Frankenstein; as they grow increasingly more "free" from Frankenstein, they are able to experiment with the possibility of making up their lives with the liberty usually allowed only those whose profession involves making up fictions (42). They begin to engage, effectively, in what amounts to a "Ron-like" construction of new selves, alter-egos with alter-lives: Ron's tendency is to "invent stories about his own life, alter-careers led by alter-egos" (80). As the dynamics of relationships change, so do their names. Feather, Goose, Tom. Eventually, Tom becomes Branch. Goose becomes Bud. Feather becomes Blossom. Ron becomes Cloud. Evelyn becomes Eucalyptus. Paul becomes Wind. Dark-haired Joan becomes Valley. Helen becomes Dawn. George becomes Lance. Ralph remains Ralph. (Not surprisingly, since the fluid quality of their civilization is represented to them in many ways by "Nature," The Children of Frankenstein take on "natural" names.) As Ron says about the settlement, "we all invent it as we live it. And in very real ways it begins to invent us in return" (98).

>6. One reason that surfictions have been called critical fictions, or critifictions, is because they consistently and actively engage complicated philosophical topics: the critical in critical fictions. Since their tendency is to engage these topics through performance, or dramatization, rather than analysis, they are also, of course fictions. Given Sukenick's and Federman's interest in the nontraditional, irrational, and illogical, performance is oftentimes the only route through which to gain access to their subjects; it gives them a way to present the anti-representational - to write around rational, analytical thought. I have tried to do the same here (in small degree) by enacting the kind of formal, typographical multiplicity that ends 98.6.

>7. Federman's surfiction, Cornis-Pope writes, "creates a disorder in the traditional socialization of reality, disentangling the discourse of the individual subject from 'official discourse'" (183).