Ex Machina

Jonathan Ball

Poetry in the sense of it being experimental prose, which makes it a bit more accessible to literary types with a love-hate-relationship for pretension. (Such as myself.) This was Ball's first book, and probably one of his stronger works, even though it is nowhere close to Clockfire.

Ex Machina can be read in both a linear and nonlinear fashion. However, the book itself only presents the linear reading while making vague hints towards the nonlinear. I've since performed two quantitative and qualitative analyses on the nonlinear readings using computerized algorithms. Comparing the two methods synchronously, it is my take that the linear reading of Ex Machina is fully superior to any possible nonlinear reading the text can offer under its own ruleset. The reason for this is simple enough: under the linear format, Ex Machina is more aware of and better able to communicate its own themes.

It is perhaps a sadness, then, how Ex Machina's linear themes presuppose the existence of the nonlinear, only for that same nonlinear to be largely unable to reciprocate in kind. “The impo(r)t(a/e)nce of interchangeable parts.”

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