The Howling Fantods

David Foster Wallace News and Resources Since March 97

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iPhone FaceTime and DFW

I'm not a champion of Apple (I don't own any), but I do read about their new products with interest because more often than not it means that a piece of general technology I'm interested in will be more affordable in the near future. Thus, the iPad is exciting to me not because I want one, but because it will (hopefully) lead to cheaper ebook readers - I'm after one that supports lots of different, and open, formats - and a touch screen tablet device on which I can install whatever O/S I'd like.
The recent iPhone 4 announcement also included the announcement of FaceTime, a wifi only video chat application. I'd be surprised if DFW fans didn't make the connection to the wonderful videophone section in Infinite Jest (which still haunts me every single time I use video chat with friends and relatives online) straight away.
Even though I'm sure you've all read by now (it spread throughout the web very quickly) Jason Kottke wrote a great piece over at (with quotes from Infinite Jest) about the whole deal. 
Velocity's Brian Caulfield presents an alternate view, he thinks FaceTime will never die.
Last Updated on Saturday, 12 June 2010 07:18

Kenyon Commencement Original Audio

Thanks to all the readers who emailed in the last day or so to let me know that the original audio from David Foster Wallace's Kenyon commencement speech (published as This is Water) is now available for purchase at - you can listen to a preview too. (Also available on itunes and other audiobook retailers)
(Note: if you search for this from within and then follow the link to audible you'll get an amazon discount - I don't benefit from this as per the usual amazon links - just letting you know how you can get it cheaper!)
Last Updated on Saturday, 12 June 2010 09:00

The Rumpus Lipsky Review

Don't miss the lengthy article/review over at The Rumpus by Tye Pemberton, The Living Dead, about David Lipsky's Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace:
Let’s be honest. What we’re talking about here is a person’s right to manipulate how others see them, something Wallace apparently struggled with every day of his life, if his writing and interviews are any indication. It’s an inalienable right, but one that depends entirely on our ability to outwit our audience—and so it’s a right that one inevitably loses in death. Death is nothing if not the ultimate loss of control.
If it’s condescending for us to appoint ourselves the stewards of a dead man’s memory, it’s also kind of superstitious. It suggests that we believe the author can see us from his cloud somewhere, that he can disapprove of all the hideous things we’re attaching to his memory. Concerns about posthumously released work should center around the living—not the dead.
And so rather than ask whether Wallace would have approved, a more important question we might ask, especially as more of his work comes to light, is: “Is this good for us?”

Part 9 of John Billy

Youtube user inspiremindset has posted Chaximist Munneling with a reading of the final section of John Billy from Girl With Curious Hair.
There are a couple of little changes/differences. Improvisation?
[via Wallace-l]

DFW's Best of Prose Poem Review

Chris Forster has a nice little article on his site, When David Foster Wallace Reviewed My Professor, about DFW's Rain Taxi Review from 2001 of The Best of the Prose Poem: An International Journal [via and the Uncollected DFW page].
Chris writes:
But what made reading this review a little uncomfortable was that I feel like I know The Prose Poem: An International Journal pretty well. When I was a student at Providence College, I sat in Peter Johnson’s office literally surrounded by it; copies from the printers were around his entire office in the basement of Philips Memorial Library. As editor and author of the volume, Johnson becomes the object of much of the review’s critique.

Fate, Time, and Language: An Essay on Free Will

I first mentioned this last year, and now the publication date for David Foster Wallace's philosphy thesis (along with supporting materials) is closing in, December 17th 2010. Unfortunately, the cover of the book reveals that the marketing people at CUP are all over this - the thesis is NOT an easy read - you're going to have to put in some work for this one.
That said, I am looking forward to all of the supporting matter because it was very clear when Maureen and I corresponded about this that DFW's thesis is something VERY special.  I find it fascinating that DFW was talented in the field of philosophy as well as fiction and non-fiction.
As much as this literally looks (That cover... really?) like a cash-in type publication, (Blake Butler over at HTMLGIANT had a bit of a rant about it, the comment thread is interesting) it has been in the works for a long time. James Ryerson is on board for the introduction and you can read about the thesis in his article for the New York Times, Consider the Philosopher.
You can pre-order Fate, Time, and Language: An Essay on Free Will at Amazon now.

Moby Dick Group Read

Totally forgot to post about this in the lead up to the birth of our daughter... Daryl L. L. Houston is co-ordinating a group read of Moby Dick over at Infinite Zombies. It's a tight schedule (and you're already behind if this is the first time you have heard about this) but worth it for the efforts and post quality of the team over there. 
Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 June 2010 20:02

The Howling Fantods