Documentary fragment re the building of

… although the author later claimed that he was unaware of its existence at the time of his writing.  What we do know is that he was aware of similar products, writing to a friend some time earlier:  “We had one once but then it broke.  All kinds of strange things happened during its last days, it acted very oddly, impulsively.  And we could tell it was falling apart but we did nothing to fix it – it somehow made us act strangely too, and we watched its demise with a perverse kind of inactive fascination.”  Executors later found post-it notes in his desk which appeared to be designs for a new version, which is consistent with various scholars’ theories that the idea had taken over – annexed was the word used in one journal – his imagination at that point.  It is unclear whether he was re-designing it for use in some future work of fiction, or whether he had given up on writing and was hoping to actually manufacture the item.  In a broadsheet interview six months after his funeral, the author’s widow noted that, “he was not a practical man, but he did seem fascinated by the idea of producing something with his hands and I think that were it not for his… if it were not for that, then perhaps he would have got around to trying to make it.  But then he was always coming up with ideas and getting halfway through, you never knew.”  Some scholars have, on studying his drawings, seen the design as a metaphor for the novel, referencing the complex internal workings in opposition to the blankly anonymous exterior of the machine.  This has been extrapolated further and suggested that it was also designed to reflect his own nature – noting that there was, of course, a short period of time preceding his death in which the author himself seemed to have been inverted, the evidence for this being reports of his behaviour at a number of public events where, to paraphrase the author, he, ‘acted very oddly, impulsively.’  The newspaper reports of these appearances make for interesting reading, startlingly cold accounts of the man’s apparent descent into madness which do not seem to show any kind of…

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