Steve Alyett‘s LINT is a biography of one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood figures in modern science fiction. Easily on par with Philip K. Dick in brilliance and influence, Jeff Lint scrambled through SF and indeed his existence in a tornado of alternating “blasts of merit” and “blasts of truth.” He toiled away at otherworldly satire throughout most of the late twentieth century dodging mean and bitter critics and rivals, and maniacal, adoring fans in equal measure.
LINT tells this story as only Aylett can. In turns of phrase and biting wit, Aylett’s account of Lint’s life is critical, but loving (Once making the connection between these two writers, one can’t help but notice Lint’s influence on Aylett). Fellow SF writer Harlan Ellison has often touted the works of author Gerald Kersh, but Kersh’s published works are so rare that one could wonder whether Kersh even existed (a quick web search yields far more material on Lint than Kersh). Aylett saved all of his touting for this book, and his extensive research illuminates Lint’s undulating rumble through fleeting romances, high-profile acquaintances, low-profile acquaintances, fist fights, hallucinatory citrus experiences, near deaths, false deaths, actual deaths, bellies, brushes with Hollywood, and a headlong hellhole of a career of balancing words on the page. I was surprised to read that the title on my well-worn copy of Jelly Result was a product of Lint’s replacing all instances of the word “belly” in a previous story with “jelly.” He also had “death result,” “exhaustion result,” and so on. Many more of his fascinating processes are discussed throughout the book.
I don’t think I’m flirting with McCoy too much by saying that LINT is one of the funniest, enlightening, and overall best books I’ve read this year. Someone should exact Lint’s ultimate revenge on Hollywood and make this book into a movie.
[Part of the arduous goat diatribe from issue six of Jeff Lint’s The Caterer comic.]
I marshal the middle between Mathers and McLuhan.