By John Swartzwelder
Certainly one of a chain of comedy/science fiction novels that includes slow-witted detective Frank Burly, via John Swartzwelder, the author of fifty nine episodes of The Simpsons.
(Unfortunately, no plot precis to be had at any place i will be able to locate. I'll write one after I've learn it.)
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Additional info for The Last Detective Alive
In Hall’s words, ‘identiﬁcation is … a construction, a process never completed – always “in process” … conditional, lodged in contingency … it requires discursive work, the binding and marking of symbolic boundaries, the production of “frontier-effects”. It requires what is left outside, its constitutive outside, to consolidate the process’ (2–3). Identities, Hall states, are ‘produced in speciﬁc historical and institutional sites, within speciﬁc discursive formations and practices, by speciﬁc enunciative strategies.
The ﬁrst hurdle this joke places in front of any listener is the name Dawn French. If that has no connotations, and it suggests no kind of pun or other purely verbal play, then the joke dies then and there. You need to know who she is to book your space in this joke’s sinister playground. The joke thus only works for British listeners, or non-British listeners aware that Dawn French is an acclaimed and successful comedian, writer and actress. This is still not enough to make the joke work, since that description would also ﬁt Jennifer Saunders, French’s partner in many projects, but ‘What do you call a dog with a spade up its arse?
Most of the time, needless to say, it oscillates between those poles, and its exact position in that spectrum shifts constantly, depending on content, context and the standpoint from which it is viewed. Above all else, comedy is an invitation to belong. In Hall’s framework, the security, reassurance and stability promised by belonging are deceptive: you may place yourself (or be placed) in a group or body or culture or subculture or class or gender or ethnicity or nation or minority or fellowship or identity through a declaration or an assignation of belonging, but that placing will always remain temporary, contingent, ﬂuid and contested.