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Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier by Mark Frost (Books 2018, 5)

I watched the new series of Twin Peaks in January, but haven’t got round to writing about it yet. In part, maybe, because I knew I wanted to read this. In part, because I want to watch it all again.

The series was amazing: an incredible, beautiful, challenging piece of art. But, as always with Twin Peaks,1 there was the question at the back of my mind: is he using surrealism to raise real questions, to investigate mysteries, to raise our consciousness? Or is it just weirdness for weirdness’s sake?2

In the end I lean towards the former. Maybe the whole thing is like a zen koan: if a portal opens in Ghostwood Forest and no-one is there to see it, what will come through?

Anyway, addressing the book at hand, what we have is quite a short volume which is presented as being a report from FBI Special Agent Tamara Preston to Deputy Director Gordon Cole (played by Lynch himself in the show, of course). Its ostensible purpose is for her to summarise what she and the Bureau have learned from the events that the recent series covered, and some other offscreen investigations. It follows on from, and comments on, last year’s Secret History of Twin Peaks.

Much of it repeats what was in the series, but it does add detail and help to clarify some things. For example it’s probably not a spoiler to confirm that the girl in the 1950s in the glorious nightmare of episode 8 was, indeed, Sarah Palmer, as Warren Ellis has speculated. (It was in his newsletter, which doesn’t seem to have a public archive.)

But it also follows up on what happened to most of the characters from the the original series that we didn’t hear about in the new one, giving us much-needed closure. Or at least convincing us that the creators didn’t totally forget about Donna, for example. Along the way it does what the new series failed to do, in that it answers the question raised at the end of the original series: “How’s Annie?”

It’s worth reading, but it doesn’t remove the need for me to watch the whole new series again.


  1. And maybe with all of David Lynch’s work. 

  2. “Everybody’s wild at heart and weird on top.” 

Sourdough by Robin Sloan (Books 2018, 4)

Strange one this. I think I learned about it from Warren Ellis, via his newsletter (which is well worth reading, by the way).

A woman takes a programming job in San Francisco. Chance leads her to gain possession of a sourdough starter culture with unusual properties. She learns to bake bread, and some other things happen.

It was OK. Quite fun. And if we’re comparing novels set in San Francisco tech culture, it was better than, say, Transmission, by Hari Kunzru which I’ve read and didn’t enjoy, but didn’t blog about; much, much, much better than The Circle; but probably not as good as All the Birds in Sky.

Oh, well done, Orbit. I salute not just the publication, but the use of weapons language:

We’re thrilled that the Estate has given us permission to publish the collection, and that owing to special circumstances Ken MacLeod has agreed to join the team working on it.

You can’t leave it there, Star Trek! I mean, you totally can; it’s a great place to leave it. But when’s season 2? 🖖

I’m on an Edinburgh-London train that seemingly has no power sockets (here in coach H, next to the café, at least). What?!? What decade are we in?

Luckily, phone, iPad, headphones, and Kindle all have enough charge for the journey. And I have the season finale of Star Trek: Discovery downloaded. Off we go, then. 🖖

A year ago today I was on a train to Edinburgh. It was snowing at Peterborough.

Today I am also on a train to Edinburgh. No snow, but it’s so crowded that I can’t get to the buffet car. Well, I could, but I’d have to push my way past so many people that I can’t face it. This is why you should buy your sandwiches before you get aboard.

Why is it so crowded, though? Is there something going on that I don’t know about? Or is it something to do with the fact that Virgin run the franchise now?

I’m reminded by last year’s post (though really by Facebook: that’s one thing it’s good at) that Feb 7 is recognised by some as International Clash Day. Doesn’t feel like a year, etc. 🎵 #internationalclashday