Being in the military I tend to a travel a lot, to the point where airports are my third home. On the way back from LA (specifically #AWP16) I settledBeing in the military I tend to a travel a lot, to the point where airports are my third home. On the way back from LA (specifically #AWP16) I settled into the exit row and cracked open King Space Void by bizarro newcomer Anthony Trevino.
Dane Shipps works inside the guts of a giant planet eating entity known as King Space Void. He never questions his existence or the floating God he worships until a couple of pods make a crash landing into his workspace. He meet a dangerous woman who makes him question his existence and he joins her to meet King Space Void, collect some answers, and ultimately destroy his God to save the universe.
This is one of those books that makes you question blind faith, becoming a cog in a corrupt corporation, and becoming “woke” in general. Trevino does it in subtle way and doesn’t bang you over the head with social commentary. His prose is crisp and the novella doesn’t overstay its welcome.
King Space Void is a fun slice of Kirbyesque bizarro sci-fi and a solid debut from Anthony Trevino. I’m excited to see what else Trevino has to offer in the future....more
I first heard about XXX Shamus when it was taken off Amazon multiple times for being too graphic. I thought it was ridiculous, but had to see what theI first heard about XXX Shamus when it was taken off Amazon multiple times for being too graphic. I thought it was ridiculous, but had to see what the big deal was. Being part of the first wave of books released by Broken River Books, I knew it had to be good based off some of their other releases.
Hopper Garland is a bitter private investigator. He’s good at finding missing girls, but things rarely work out for him. And to make things worse, almost every woman he meets, melts in his presence and drops their panties. This seems great and all, but Hopper never says no and some of these one night stands (sometimes bar-flings) turn into massive wrecks he never wanted in the first place.
I like to think of myself as a hardened reader and big hardcore horror fan. I thought nothing in this book would affect me, but I underestimated the sleaze. It’s as Hammond ups the ante every other chapter until something hits you from left field.
XXX Shamus is a grimy, hyper-sexual crime fiction novel that’ll have you burning through the pages. I really hope Red Hammond whips up another a Hopper Garland book or at least another crime fiction novel....more
Most of the time I see a movie trailer for a new slasher flick, part of me gets excited and the other part groans. Let’s be honest, most of the slasheMost of the time I see a movie trailer for a new slasher flick, part of me gets excited and the other part groans. Let’s be honest, most of the slasher territory has been run over to death, but I always believe there’s new land to be discovered. This is where Christoph Paul comes into play with his slim book Slasher Camp for Nerd Dorks, his New Bizarro Author Series debut from Eraserhead Press.
Imagine a future where Slashers are groomed and are free to run the country and kill Finals (normal people) at their will. Enter Jason Voorheesberg, a young Slasher, who is afflicted with Slash Anxiety and struggles to live up to his true potential. He gets sent to a low level slasher summer camp where his mom hopes they will turn him into an ultimate Slasher. Eventually, he befriends a slasher named Candybee Wamack (loosely based off me) and begins to fall head over heels for one of the camp counselors named Rachel.
A series of events lead to inevitable face-off between the Finals camp and the Slashers in training. This is where we really get to see if Jason is up to snuff and you’ll be presently surprised to see how he grows.
Horror fans in general should pick this book up. The last third of the book becomes deadass serious. I’ve read some of Christoph’s previous books which are little heavy on the humor. With Slasher Camp for Nerd Dorks he manages to bring fresh air to the Slasher sub-genre of horror and pulls it off with ease....more
When I was younger, I would use certain words until their meaning lost all impact. One of my favorite words was INTENSE. School was intense, my love lWhen I was younger, I would use certain words until their meaning lost all impact. One of my favorite words was INTENSE. School was intense, my love life was intense, every movie was intense. It was a wonder I made it through my everyday life without being consumed by the intensity of it all.
Reading Gabino Iglesias’ crime fiction novel Zero Saints brought this word to my forefront of my mind. I probably told myself this book was intense about every twenty pages or so and I meant it everytime.
The main character Fernando tries to make a quiet life as an illegal alien in Austin, Texas, but can’t seem to escape the violence of la frontera aka the border between U.S. and Mexico. He sells drugs and works as an enforcer to make ends meet. But after he gets thrown in a trunk and forced to watch his friend’s head get cut off by some heavily tattooed gangsters, everything begins to fall apart.
There’s a good amount of Spanish in here, but Gabino does a great job of conveying the meaning through context. Don’t let a dash of another language scare you away. I promise you it’s worth it and adds to the rich flavor of the narrative.
The supernatural elements running through this book are on point. This is the first time I’ve seen santeria, orishas, voodun and other not so well-known religions find there way into a crime fiction book.
Zero Saints hits you like a freight train and doesn’t let up. It’s full of grit, desperation, and a dark intensity that might swallow you whole if you’re not careful. This is everything I wanted and more in a crime novel. I pray to Santa Muerte that Gabino pens another crime fiction book in a similar vein (the Russian hitman deserves a solo book)....more
There’s always a multitude of books sitting on my to-be-read pile and a lot of these are writers are new to me. One of these figures is Seb Doubinsky.There’s always a multitude of books sitting on my to-be-read pile and a lot of these are writers are new to me. One of these figures is Seb Doubinsky. He posts a lot of free poetry online and is supportive of a lot of writers in general. I finally dug into his novel Song of Synth and didn’t realize how damn good this guy is until now.
Markus Olsen is an ex-hacker who is forced to work for the state’s secret service. He starts taking a potent drug known as Synth. It’s relatively new and induces incredibly vivid hallucinations. Matter of fact, I wish I could get my hands on a baggie full of synth.
Olsen’s past as an anarchist pops back up in the form of a weird credit card that shouldn’t exist. He’s tasked with solving the mystery and let’s just say things become mad interesting. He stops taking Synth, but he still feels the effects and the hallucinations begin to bleed over into his reality. Real trippy ish.
The rest of the book is too good to reveal and I’m not for spoiling a good ride. All of the comparisons I heard about Doubinsky being a modern-day Philip K. Dick are on point. However, Doubinsky has surely carved out his own lane.
Doubinsky’s prose is poetic and crisp. At first I thought it would slow down the pace of the book, but I ripped through the pages and finished it within a couple days.
The Song of Synth is a trippy yet beautiful exploration of what it means to be human in world obsessed with technology, entertainment, and any means of escaping reality. This is one pill you need to pop. ...more
I have to preface this review by admitting I’m big fan of Warren Ellis in just about every way. His comic book work is amazing and innovative. He hasI have to preface this review by admitting I’m big fan of Warren Ellis in just about every way. His comic book work is amazing and innovative. He has hardly disappointed me except for his first novel Crooked Little Vein, but his batting average is pretty damn consistent. He came back ten times as hard with his second novel Gun Machine. I’ve been introduced to his some of his non-fiction work in the past thanks to some excellent essays online and his entertaining newsletter. So it’s no surprise that I really got a kick out of this book and hope I can attend one of his talks in person in the future.
The first talk is fantastic and really draws you into Ellis’ cynical yet hopeful atmosphere. He explains the history of cunning men, futuristic shamen who dare to dig into the future. Shit, Ellis is probably a direct descendent of these cunning men.
Every talk is a little different, but informative. He explains how everything is truly connected in the universe and how every bit of information (places, pop music, science fiction) can be traced back to an identifiable root. The combination of history and folklore really puts some things in perspective.
Towards the second half of the book, he argues about the point of science fiction and its place in literature. Ellis reaches back into history, tears away all the bullshit, and rips the root out to show you the entire timeline of science fiction and employs this same method in many of his talks. .
“The future isn’t seeing the circus approach town from up the road, coming straight towards you. It’s everything. It’s standing on the headlands and seeing an entire weather system, the breadth of the whole horizon, swirling around and inching towards us, cirrus by thunderhead by rainstorm.”
If you like Warren Ellis’ work at all, you’ll definitely enjoy Cunning Plans. It’s an informative and oddly entertaining collection of talks and bubbling with a love for the future and all of its possibilities....more
Kanye West-Reanimator is the debut novella by Joshua Chaplinksy who is known as the managing editor of Litreactor.
This slim book centers on Kanye WestKanye West-Reanimator is the debut novella by Joshua Chaplinksy who is known as the managing editor of Litreactor.
This slim book centers on Kanye West’s come up in the music industry and juxtaposes the story of the Reanimator with West’s widely successful music career. We follow West as he struggles to be recognized for both his production skills as well as his rapping. Somewhere along the way, he becomes obsessed with reanimating the dead via his potent music.
The story is told by a Lovecraftian narrator who poses as West’s friend throughout the book and co-conspirator in West’s efforts to re-animate the dead. The prose may be off-putting to those unfamiliar with Lovecraft’s work, but the rhythm should be easy to get used to.
Kanye stans with an open mind should enjoy the hell out of this book. I can see a few people getting a little mad because a few jabs are taken at Kanye. However, it’s done in good taste and it’s obvious the author knows Kanye’s musical path pretty well.
Kanye West Reanimator is quirky yet entertaining biography of Kanye filtered through a Lovecraftian lens. It’s a testament to Chaplinsky’s skills as a writer that he could take two different worlds (hip-hop and Lovecraft) and seamlessly stitch them together into a helluva entertaining book.
Shoutout to Dyer Wilk (art) and Matthew Revert (design) for the dope ass cover....more
Two years ago, I read and reviewed Tiffany Scandal’s debut There is No Happy Ending and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve been waiting to see what she cookeTwo years ago, I read and reviewed Tiffany Scandal’s debut There is No Happy Ending and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve been waiting to see what she cooked up next and she delivered her second book in the form of Jigsaw Youth released by Ladybox Books.
Artists and creative types usually fear the dreaded sophomore slump, but this concept must have never came across Scandal’s mind because this book shows her range and how much she has grown since her last book.
The main thing I noticed is the difference in tone and style. Scandal’s moves away from bizarro and grounds us in the real world from the get go.
The novel focuses on our punk rock lesbian protagonist Ella and is told through short yet impactful vignettes. We follow her on the emotional journey on the road with her band, learning how to navigate tough relationships with lovers and homophobic muthafuckas.
Scandal’s prose is crisp, sharp and poetic at times. The dialogue in the book never feels forced and is smooth and realistic. I felt like I could really relate to this characters and genuinely cared about their lives and welfare. This is a testament to Scandal’s diverse skillset.
I could probably harp on and on about how great this book is. Just know that I read this within two days and a chill ran down my spine after reading the last page.
Jigsaw Youth is a punk rock book through and through. It’s powerful, the characters feel sincere, and when you close the book, you’ll be left wanting more....more
The title novella "The Mask Behind the Face" is worth the admission alone. It's story of a man with Pick's disease whose behaviors, hobbies and personThe title novella "The Mask Behind the Face" is worth the admission alone. It's story of a man with Pick's disease whose behaviors, hobbies and personality traits shifts. This causes a slight rift in his family life and makes the first part of the book tense. He takes up painting (a new hobby) and becomes pretty good at within a short time. Later, he sees the face of God shortly after taking up meditation. However, things take a dark turn and nothing is what it seems. There's a thread of conspiracy running throughout the whole narrative that makes the narrator start to lose it. Young's prose is lyrical and hypnotic and the pacing his excellent. I've tripped a few times in the past off various hallucinogens and he does a great job of describing this elusive dream-like feeling during the meditation sessions. I'm surprised more horror fan don't know about this book. This is novella is a cosmic horror gem and I highly recommend it.
The rest of the collection is composed of solid short stories that evoke a Twilight Zone feel and are worth a read as well. Pick this book up. ...more