Arthur S. Halsey, Jr.


Biography and Origins

While there exists no doubt that Arthur S. Halsey, Jr. (ASHjr) is a current, and secretive, writer, there are distinct questions concerning his identity, most notably a general confusion as to his absolute time spectrum. Reports have indicated that ASHjr “attended schooling” in the 1980s and is a member of Generation X, having been born in the early 1970s. This would put him in his late 30s (summer 2010), and the general consensus is that ASHjr is a current author, writing contemporary to now. (In fact, much of his material is concerned with the interaction of the 21st century networked world with that of the recent past, especially various pinpoint moments of the 20th century.)

However, there are other contradictions in the historic account. Arthur S. Halsey was known for developing a “bomb rack and control” in 1933, and his appearances had been briefly documented in both Great Britain and New England at various points in the early 20th century. It has been proposed on at least a few occasions that the real ASHjr, a visionary, had written his entire oeuvre in the past and the work is only surfacing now due to delayed agency release. This proposition does not seem likely. Other speculations indicate that some of these references are actually to ASHjr’s father, or to other persons of no apparent relation. Whatever the case, the secrecy and confusion has only elevated Halsey to cult status as a writer.

Online “disappearances”

Inexplicably, there were occasions when it appeared that Halsey had all but disappeared from the Internet. This phenomenon has not been explained and cannot be caused by brief network outages as the actual references in the links appear to have been cut, but appear later in a future time. The “disappearance” has an uncanny connection to actual situations and themes in his work, as will be shown.

Writing style and work

ASHjr is primarily known for a new fiction style described by readers and critics at times as “extraordinarily fun,” “cinematically vivid,” “extremely strange and frightening” and “thrilling.” This style appears concerned with exploring lost and contemporary ideas of history, the paranormal and the unknown in a literal “fabulist” manner, heavily atmospheric in an often noir mode, and his material (often literary in style while blatantly commercial in character and design) is sometimes described as paranoir, a genre that seems exclusive to him. A characteristic ASHjr piece involves “timebending” and “time splicing” (varous events occuring at two separate moments in time and connected, or two distinct scenes at different times occurring at the same location, or a linear scene whose principles or narrators are operating in regular time but are cutting through time and space at a different speed, or multiple isolated moments — distant in time and space — that are conjoined in the narrative to reveal plot motion and meaning); elevation or reduction to different mental states involving experimental psychology, psychotropic pharmacology and NLP; the use of stylistic and atmospheric elements from vintage commercial genres (film noir, espionage, true crime, western and classical mystery); “lost” legends, secret histories and paranormal tropes; a thematic obsession with the loss or breaking-away from reason; popular scientific models and cultural artifacts as they exist not at the narrative present but from some different time (1910s Egyptology accounts, implications of 1930s cosmic ray theory, long descriptions of rare 1967 acid rock vinyl, unsigned memoirs of 1990 Manchester “acid house” scene, Sony Discman hacks, Palm Pilots, Ray-O-Vac 9v battery flashlights as a handheld “electric torch”) juxtaposed in or on top of other eras; breakdowns of character, “character molding,” and alternate or subconscious views of the same person; “constant themes of disappearance, obscurity, resurgence and bilocation” (Hapsburg 2008); cut-up dialogue or description; philosophical puzzles or logical paradoxes that are what he calls his characters’ “barriers to entry.”

The Agency

Little has been revealed about the “agency” that ASHjr has been associated with; it is unclear if this agency is a writing group, a sponsor or benefactor, or some other type of organization who are working to develop the ideas presented in his fiction. It is known that the agency operates online and consists of a great many writers, possibly in the upper hundreds. It has been speculated that the agency exists or was formed as a counter to the prevailing postmodernism. But the precise origin and even name of the agency is not known; ASHjr fans have at times referred to it as “The Agency.”

Published fiction and excerpts

Information on published material by ASHjr has been difficult to obtain, as apparently much of his early work had been published on small press broadsides and distributed via local channels and have yet to be properly catalogued or collected. However, as of this writing (Aug 2010) there appears to be a new resurgence of his work.

The Dreamreapers,” a new story, has been collected in The Lifted Brow no. 7 (Aug 2010); it chronicles the work of agent Arthur Munfrey and has been noted as part of a larger “story-cycle”; the unnamed “agency” that Munfrey is or has been employed by is thought to be a fictitious parallel of the secret agency that Halsey works for.

Various quotations have been attributed to ASHjr, most notably the early phrase “Become who you hate,” but the original context of this quotation is not known.

Other quotation-graffitis that are known as ASHisms:



For futher reference

In development.

First published on August 12th, 2010 at 11:23 am (EST) and last modified on August 10th, 2011 at 8:43 am (EST).