As a native of the Emerald Isle, I’ll be the first to admit that the phrase ‘Irish technological know-how fiction’ appears like an oxymoron. Yet, inside the mid-20th-century, an seemingly unassuming Private Secretary in the Irish Department of Local Government and Public Health set approximately secretly bridging the gap between these two worlds in some of the maximum imaginitive, idea-upsetting, and downright hilarious writing ever to emerge from Ireland, and some of the strangest writing approximately bicycles ever committed to print.

Meet ‘Flann O’Brien’: inspiration for the best deconstructionist, science-fiction, comedy recreation no-one’s made yet.


Brian O’Nolan (‘Flann O’Brien’), cited Dublin diversion.
Brian Ó Nualláin [Brian O’Nolan] – alias ‘Flann O’Brien’, alias ‘Myles na gCopaleen’ [Myles of the little horses], alias ‘Brother Barnabas’, alias ‘Count O’Blather’, alias ‘George Knowall’, alias ‘Lir O’Connor’, alias ‘Velvet Texture’ (my personal preferred) –

changed into born in 1911 to an Irish-talking family in Strabane, County Tyrone, in what’s now Northern Ireland. Educated at University College, Dublin, where he became a distinguished (and provocative) member of the highbrow scene, he wrote prolifically in each Irish and English, evolving a shape of put up-current meta-fiction in which gangsters and cowboys rub shoulders with Irish mythic heroes, accurate novels have now not one beginning, but 3, and characters upward thrust up to put their writer on trial for the many indignities to which he has subjected them.

These early experiments finally crystalised in O’Nolan’s first remarkable anti-novel, At Swim-Two-Birds (1939), a genre-bending deconstruction of Irish literary records and a raucous satire of the Dublin literary scene which won praise from Graham Greene, whose glowing reader’s record helped to get the radical posted, Dylan Thomas, who defined it as ‘just the e book to give your sister – if she’s a noisy, grimy, boozy girl’, and O’Nolan’s hero, James Joyce, who detected in O’Nolan’s writing the ‘authentic comic spirit’.


A visibly worse-for-put on O’Nolan (centre) leans on Anthony Cronin (centre-left) for aid while celebrating the primary ‘Bloomsday’ (the anniversary of the day on which Joyce’s Ulysses takes place) on Sandymount Strand in 1954.
Undeterred by way of the negative income and lukewarm important reception which greeted At Swim-Two-Birds, O’Nolan set about writing what’s extensively regarded as his masterpiece, The Third Policeman. Composed inside the ultimate months of 1939 and the early months of 1940, the unconventional tells… A tale this is frankly impossible to summarise in a succinct or great manner, let alone one which does justice to its darkly hilarious tone, surreal imagination, and unique combination of philosophical profundity and profound silliness. So, in place of trying to offer a complete account of the ‘plot’ of The Third Policeman, I will without a doubt offer a listing of a number of the matters it functions:

An worldwide mystery order of one-legged guys.

  • A TARDIS-like police station that looks to be each two-dimensional and 3-dimensional on the identical time, and not using a perceptible ‘sides’, and a ‘back’ and ‘front’ that can be visible simultaneously.
  • A room inside this police station whose cracked ceiling accommodates a map which suggests ‘the route to eternity’.
  • A 2d, deeper ‘eternity’ contained within the ‘eternity’ to which this map leads, in which era is at a complete stand-still and any object may be conjured into life in any quantity, however from which regardless of can ever be eliminated.
  • A truth-warping substance known as ‘Omnium’ which simultaneously behaves like a wave and a particle and constitutes ‘the critical inherent interior essence that is hidden inside the root of the kernel of the whole lot’.
  • A policeman who can flatten mild into sound the use of a mangle, and who has synthetic a sequence of ornate packing containers, every concealing a smaller version of itself, stretching on past the boundaries of human notion to apparent infinity.
  • Numerous footnotes from a important study of the life and works of a fictional truth seeker and inventor known as De Selby, who proposed that all people need to be clad in ‘tent-fits’ so that it will obviate the want for apparel and housing, asserted that every one journeys were without a doubt ‘hallucinations’ resulting from the inability of the human thoughts to understand the tens of millions of man or woman isolated moments which contain enjoy, and believed that the night become an accretion of ‘black air’ born of volcanic eruptions and commercial pollution.
  • Multiple erotic encounters between human beings and bicycles.
  • Multiple greater-judicial executions, along with the putting of a bicycle (although, no longer due to its sexual history).
  • Culminating in a struggle among a blind-folded police officer driving an insanity-inducing, Omnium-coated bicycle and an military of 1-legged guys on a undertaking to rescue the narrator from the gallows, the novel blends thoughts and tropes from technology, philosophy, excessive subculture, and famous fiction to hilarious and hallucinatory impact.


The cover of the first edition of The Third Policeman (1967)
Most famously, Sergeant Pluck – the primary of the unconventional’s titular policemen – outlines a model of ‘Atomic Theory’ wherein the repeated collisions among a bicycle’s seat and the posterior of the person using it are shown to bring about a transfer of atoms among them that slowly renders the bicycle more ‘human’ and the rider extra ‘bicycle’:

By alex

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