About “Killing time”

“Killing time” will consist of individual sentences taken from all books ever titled ‘Killing time’¬†(more precisely, sentences from those books in the set for which permission is not denied). My list currently has 24 25 books with the title ‘KiIlling time’, often mystery and suspense, but also important non-fiction works such as the book by Bruce Jackson¬†about the Arkansas penitentiary (Cummins prison), or the book about the death row case of Mumia Abu-Jamal by Dave Lindorff.

This concept may well sound strange and even frivolous. Why should I take sentences written by others and not use my own?

The answer is that the careful recombination of sentences from many sources according to a set of rules creates a kind of text that cannot possibly be achieved by even the most skilful writer. The character of the resulting text obviously owes something to the idiosyncrasies of expression and style and the varying context of the sources, but its specific tension results from the way sentences from very different sources touch and create an new context, often in a rather elliptical way.

Just to be clear: The point of this book is not to ‘steal’ and re-use any content or plot characteristics of any the books I use. Also, my intention is most certainly not to parody or to pervert any position found in these books. The combination of sentence fragments and sentences results in a completely different story that will bear no resemblance to any of the works used.

Ironically, probably no one would ever notice that I re-use sentences from other works (with minimal changes, such as replacing proper names to reduce the number of characters). But in this 25. book called “Killing time”, I actually want readers to realize that the entire text consists of material written and published by other authors (with all due acknowledgements). I hope, of course, that the resulting book will also be a good (if strange) read on its own.

Leave a Reply