I first read "The Dalkey Archive" twenty years ago, while a graduate student at Trinity College in Dublin. It struck me then, as it strikes me now upon re-reading it, as one of the most peculiarly funny books I've ever read. It combines elements of original lunacy and weird science with the resonating touchstones of a uniquely Irish comic sensibility. The story is driven by the madcap schemes of a character named De Selby, who describes himself as "a theologist and a physicist, sciences which embrace many others such as eschatology and astrognosy." De Selby invents a substance which removes all oxygen from the atmosphere (a substance he calls "DMP", the acronym for the Dublin Metropolitan Police) and then discovers that a deoxygenated atmosphere cancels the serial nature of time. The plot moves on from there, with Mick Shaughnessy, a "lowly civil servant", engaging the local constable to help him save the world from De Selby's scheme to deoxygentate the world's atmosphere. In the course of things, "The Dalkey Archive" contains two of the funniest chapters ever written (Chapters 4 and 9): one in which De Selby, Mick Shaughnessy and a drinking companion named Hackett, clad in aqualungs, talk to Saint Augustine (his "Dublin accent was unmistakable") about arcane theological doctrines and the Church Fathers in an underwater cave; the other in which Sergeant Fottrell, the constable, explains to Mick his "Mollycule Theory", the theory that people's personalities become mixed up with those of bicycles through the pounding of man and machine while pedaling down bumpy Irish country roads ("a process of prolonged carnal intercussion"). Along the way, Mick discovers that James Joyce is alive, well and bartending in the small coastal town of Skerries. Need I say more? "The Dalkey Archive" is a work of startling wit and originality, one of my comic favorites!