Violent, Confrontational, and Fascinating, July 11, 2010
By Ray Dittmeier (Louisville, KY) - See all my reviews (REAL NAME)
This review is from: BELLY:...moreViolent, Confrontational, and Fascinating, July 11, 2010
By Ray Dittmeier (Louisville, KY) - See all my reviews (REAL NAME)
This review is from: BELLY: A Brutal Bible Tale (Kindle Edition)
"Brutal Bible Tales" is a fascinating book. It's violent, confrontational, and might even be uncomfortable in places, depending on your sensibilities. Rage takes a selection prominent Biblical figures and and puts them in a contemporary world full of drug dealers, gangsters, pimps, prostitutes, perverts, and even vampires. But this is not just a facile, updated retelling of old stories, nor is it shock value simply for the sake of shock.
Rage uses the Biblical material as a starting point to tell his own stories. This book is well-thought-out, told in a distinctive and confident style that keeps the reader turning pages. If you want to complain that some of the sex and violence is gratuitous, I won't--I can't--argue the point. I'm not sure I'd want to say that "gratuitousness is the point" is ever a valid defense, but then again, I would insist that in a book like this it's better to go too far than not to go far enough.
The book gives us a new context for looking at this source material (if I may call it such), like a cynical Sunday school teacher telling the kids, "This is what these stories are really about." And maybe it is, if you can approach the book with no expectations and just let it be what it is--tales of greed, ambition, betrayal, cruelty--and ultimately, salvation. As I said earlier, this is not shock value simply for the sake of shock. But if it shocks you, maybe you needed to be shocked.
find the soft spot ..., January 24, 2011 By Reverend Steven Rage "The Grim Reverend Steve... (In your darkest of thoughts ...) - See all my reviewsThi...morefind the soft spot ..., January 24, 2011 By Reverend Steven Rage "The Grim Reverend Steve... (In your darkest of thoughts ...) - See all my reviewsThis review is from: Soft White Underbelly (Paperback) In Ray Holland's newest, come meet the likes of Mr. Transparent, Death, Industrial Waste, Johnny the Human Extension Cord, Les Ismore, Pandora Spocks,Norman Sisyphus, Sandy Beech, and all the other's as they make their weird and wild way through an America as filtered through the writer's seizures and imaginings. Like his other works, Holland has a keen eye for making funny out of lemons.
In Holland's America: "It's nice. It's relaxing. It's a little slice of heaven on Earth. However, the world is really run by the Illuminati. All the heads of state, the people we think are the leaders of the major world powers, have no idea of this. They're pawns, just like us, and they're hypnotized. Everything that happens in geopolitical politics is designed to control the masses, and it's been thatway since the end of the Second World War."
"Holy smoke," Industrial Waste says.
The Reverend would have to agree.
Check out: The Hookie-Pookie Man Goliath The Hermit Open Stage (less)
Within the loose confines of a well-written bed-time tale for grown folks, Ray Holland spreads the satire in nice even strokes. The characters are ful...moreWithin the loose confines of a well-written bed-time tale for grown folks, Ray Holland spreads the satire in nice even strokes. The characters are full and rich (the Mayor is hilarious in his idiocracy) the daughter is, how shall we say, a 'free spirit' and finally the hermit himself. The solitary soul is going through great lengths to achieve all one hundred eighty-something stages of enlightenment. The free lovin' Mayor's daughter takes a shine, all the while evil PR firms hired by evil politicos stir the pot. The accusations run wild and the fun really begins.
Ray Holland has penned a delightful tale of satiric wit, written in a manner that is very close to and, in fact, directly engages the reader. Very interesting.
Check out his other titles: The Hookie-Pookie Man Goliath Open Stage (less)
King Scratch is classic Krall, although it feels like an earlier work revisited. All the far-out and funkified fetish refreshments are on glorious dis...moreKing Scratch is classic Krall, although it feels like an earlier work revisited. All the far-out and funkified fetish refreshments are on glorious display. Also failed Hollywood starlets, the sex-crazed and squid are featured here. Hallucinations that are more real than the reality the characters are slip-sliding through. Characters chasing characters who are chased by those seeming to lend a hand (Fred's my fave).
So, to bottom line it for ya: Good Quality Creepy Bizarro Krall, but not my favorite. But hey, fiction from Jordan Krall is like kittykitty and pizza: 'Even if when it's not perfect, it's still pl-pl-pl-plenty good enough to eat'!
Poor, poor put-upon Horatio. Much to his dismay, every despairing soliloquy Puck interprets as a prayer. The hobgoblin answers them, but as he sees fi...morePoor, poor put-upon Horatio. Much to his dismay, every despairing soliloquy Puck interprets as a prayer. The hobgoblin answers them, but as he sees fit, and while weaving in and out of time. Horatio soon finds himself in the right painting, but who is wielding the brush?
Horatio is not in the play he's supposed to be in. Things are getting muddled and they don't seem to be going as written. Horatio is responsible for his college roomate, Hamlet, and that ain't no easy task. The prince is grieving for his dead dad, and on top of that, Hamlet is always completely drug-addled. He sees specters everywhere. Spiders emerge and the prince is convinced he's morphing into a cockroach. Fortunately, Horatio has a contingency plan. But you know full well that many more surprises await both Horatio and you, the reader.
"Surely a man would suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous bullsh**." This is fun stuff. Eric Mays has twisted Shakey and Kafka and turned them into one hell of a badass balloon bug. If any of the classics were as enjoyable as "Naked Metamorphosis", perhaps I would have stayed awake a little more in class. Take that, boring English Lit!
But this book is what high-brow was meant to be. I even felt a little smarter when I finished reading it. Granted, that wasn't much of a stretch.
I can't wait to see what he pulls out of his magic hat next. Wah!!
Kafka's Shakespearean Tragedy!
In Eric Mays' Naked Metamorphosis All the world's a stage...and Franz Kafka wants to direct! The absurdist has got his hot little hands on the Bard's greatest work - Hamlet. Unfortunately, William S. Burroughs wants to direct too! Perhaps, George W. Bush wants a piece of the action as well.
One thing these literary creators haven't taken into consideration, though, are the characters. Horatio, Hamlet's college roommate, has reached the end of his rope trying to determine whether the piece is a tragedy or a comedy. Hamlet has dropped into a world of hallucinogens and drugs, and thinks he may be turning into a cockroach. And after the declaration of a ghost in Elsinore , Claudius has declared a "War on Terrors"!
What's it all about? And why is Puck around? These questions, and many more, will be answered in a bawdy, bizarro tale of Shakespearean proportions - complete with mistaken identity, ghosts, and true love lost. (less)
Imagine you are a typical 13 year old boy, just glancing out of your bedroom window. Just daydreaming, drifting along, watching the neighbor lady with...moreImagine you are a typical 13 year old boy, just glancing out of your bedroom window. Just daydreaming, drifting along, watching the neighbor lady with sugar MILF plums dancing around in your fevered little head, when something in the adjacent yard catches your eye. Something truly strange. A movie being filmed. With animals. By animals. Talking, acting, filming, directing. And just when your young mind begins to register the shock of that crazy scene, the animal production crew notices YOU. Oh, no. Humans can't know that ALL animals can talk. Nature's delicate balance will be thrown completely out of whack. It is the animal world's only real Law and the film crew just broke it.
The boy must be silenced.
Therein lies the heart and guts of this wickedly funny Bizarro novella from newcomer Kevin Shamel. With Dirty Rat, Filthy Pig, Scaredy Cat and many other marvelous animal characters, Shamel paints his imaginary (we hope!) world of liquor guzzling, dope doing, coital fiending, ultra-violent animals that will make you show a wee bit more respect and love to Fido and Fluffy than you might normally give them.
The pacing of the story is superb and the descent into this mad world was just right. My hat's off, once again, to the Bizarro folks at Eraserhead for another gem of a tale (tail?).
Kevin Shamel's "Rotten Little Animals" is more fun to read than a barrel full of drunken monkeys and randier than a lab full of stoned test bunnies.
Now, if you will excuse me. The Reverend had better take his pit bull, Bennie, out for a nice long walk. You know... just in case.
Plot Preserve!, February 21, 2010 By Steven Rage "You Morbid Westphal" (Evil Nerd Empire)
What happens to an author's characters when their services a...more Plot Preserve!, February 21, 2010 By Steven Rage "You Morbid Westphal" (Evil Nerd Empire)
What happens to an author's characters when their services are no longer required? Will they accept their increasingly anemic demise? Or will they break out and attempt to be something more?
This is the premise (at least my interpretation) of Bizarro Beef Cake Garrett Cooks's Archelon Ranch.
The story is told from Clyde's POV. Which is interesting being that Clyde is Bernard's brother. Bernard, not Clyde, is the annointed protagonist in this tale. Bernard doesn't appreciate it though. Archelon Ranch is Bernard's destiny, but Clyde's going there too. Whether Garrett Cook (the author and therefore god of this book) likes it or not. Cheeky monkey!
Filled with weird characters such as self-aware headgear, rabid dinos, gilawalruses, a self-absorbed Rev. (may the plot preserve us), randy cannibal Suburbanites and the worst shopping mall you have ever been to.
Archelon Ranch is a crazy weird tale penned by the crazy weird Bizarro pulp-smith Garrett Cook and all he wants is a little Objectivity.
Here's a little taste of the pasta sauce: "There is no future for the drowned, no body for this casket. There are no attendees for this funeral. There are no readers for these poems."
Shoot, son! That's some gorgeous filth right there.
Jeez-O-Petes! I'm telling you, Eraserhead Press has such an uncanny knack for mining new writing talent. In Carnageland author David Barbee showcases...moreJeez-O-Petes! I'm telling you, Eraserhead Press has such an uncanny knack for mining new writing talent. In Carnageland author David Barbee showcases his talent in a tale that kept me turning the pages and chuckling delightfully. BTW, have you ever seen the Reverend chuckle delightfully? It's pretty Mary. Don't tell anyone.
The alien invader, 898, has been assigned to violently soften up Carnageland prior to the full scale invasion. Carnageland is a world who's inhabitants seem to mimic all of our favorite childhood stories. And not just Rapunzle and dwarves and flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz and whatnot, but also Bizarro versions of Peter Pan pirates and even ol' Harry Potter and his pals.
898 has to slice and dice his way through these popular characters and many, many others (the wizches were superb). 898 must rid any and all opposition to the forthcoming invasion. It is 898's first mission and he must succeed. Glory and a nice little promotion are on the line. 898 tackles his task with much vim, vigor and splattered bits and pieces.
My favorite 'character' in Carnageland has got to be 898's weapon of choice: the DOOMSHOOTER! What's so cool about this alien gun is that every foe encountered gets shot with a completely new, weird and wonderfully violent means of dispatch. All kinds of crazy things emerges from the business end of said Doomshooter. I don't want to tell you all the awesome stuff that comes out... that was a big chunk of the fun for the Reverend. I don't want to take that away from you. It would be a sin and awfully hypocritical of me, so...
For a reader as jaded as Rage, this fun Bizarro tale was a breath of fresh air.(less)
It is Mr. Shatner's world and we are just in it. There are more William Shatners in Shatnerquake than you can shake a light saber at. My personal fave...moreIt is Mr. Shatner's world and we are just in it. There are more William Shatners in Shatnerquake than you can shake a light saber at. My personal fave was the Rescue 911 Shatner, telling all who will listen that this is really happening.
For the Real Shatner, the convention was just one of many he has had to endure. All was going just swell until the worshippers of Bruce Campbell decide to set off a 'fiction bomb' with the intention of wiping from the face of the Earth the very existence of Shatner. Instead, the convention is filled to the breaking point with every character Shatner ever played, including himself, himself and even himself. A veritable Shatnerpalooza ensues with convention nerds getting the same dose of violently comic Burk madness as do the Campbellians and the many Shatners themselves.
I was fortunate enough to see the mad hatter in action, doing his one-man Shatnerquake reading/slash/show at the BizarroCon in Portland last year. It was every bit as zany and cool as he is. I laughed my fool head off.
The book is just as fun. Treat yourself to the madcap mayhem as only a Bizarro Brutha like Jeff Burk can do.
Get your Uhura all dolled up in her shortest red uniform dress and set your phasers to stun. Shatnerquake...is...energized! (less)
I have been digging Bizarro fiction for exactly 13 months, 13 days, 13 hours, 13 minutes...and counting. In that time I've gobbled some incredible sto...moreI have been digging Bizarro fiction for exactly 13 months, 13 days, 13 hours, 13 minutes...and counting. In that time I've gobbled some incredible stories. As Katt Williams would say: "But this sheet? This sheet right here?" this is pure Bizarro. More than just a weird concept, Ass Goblins of Auschwitz should be the Poster Child of Bizarro. It is weird characters doing weird things in a weird setting. Kind of like Candyland on near-lethal doses of acid. If you ever wanted to quickly explain to a newbie what Bizarro is, toss them this book.
Auschwitz is made of the body parts of children and is tended to by children. The Ass Goblins run a cruel, tight ship. They forced the children from their beloved home in KidLand and have been their slaves ever since. Life expectancy in the cold death camp is horrid,(snowflakes shaped like swastikas)squalid and dangerous (ass-goblins get mad and go into 'sheet slaughter' SS mode)with toilet toads climbing up their hoo-hahs and licking their insides, make bicycles for the ass goblins out of dead children, etc. etc.
The two sets of twins plan an escape after some gruesome medical experiments were performed on them. Will they make out of Auschwitz or will the exiting return of Adolph thwart their plans? You will have to dive in and swim around in Pierce's incredible and zany imagination to find out.
Check this one out. Cameron put the 'B' in Bizarro and he is just getting started. I dig it the most! (less)
Daniel Togg led a fairly placid life within McDonaldland, working for The Blessed McDonald's Corporation like everyone else that's left in this post-p...moreDaniel Togg led a fairly placid life within McDonaldland, working for The Blessed McDonald's Corporation like everyone else that's left in this post-post apocalyptic world. Togg's doing okay, working his mindless gig, making illegal fire-water out of ketchup packets, until he discovers he is one of the many men-folk who seems to be mutating extra limbs. The females of McDonaldland are gradually turning into wolves, becoming more wolf-like as the women become sexually active. Unfortunately for both groups, the mutations of the men and the sexuality of the women are seen as a threat to the stability and purity of McDonaldland. So, out into the harsh and unforgiving environs of the Wasteland, they go. Besides trying to avoid all of the apartment building sized alpha wolves, the mutated men (outlanders) and the hyper-violent women (wolf warriors) spend their time trying to survive by hitting the McDonald's supply runs and fighting amongst themselves. Until the day comes when all three groups come together for a Wasteland armegeddon and all the wonderfully written bloody visceral violence. Warrior Wolf Women of the Wasteland is CM3's longest book since Satan Burger and arguably one of his best. I enjoyed the hell out of it! CM3 is one of the founding members and current stalwart of the Bizarro genre uprising (uprising sounds much cooler than movement, don't ya think?). CM3 is a very prolific writer with 26 books under his belt in less than a decade, and holds great relevence to the Bizarro genre and scene as a whole. And he is a very gracious, nice guy. Meeting his Royal Chop-ness in person can be quite intimidating. He's a big dude. CM3 seems as if he could and would crush your skull with one of his huge mitts with no more effort than it would be for him to squash an aluminum pop can. He's quiet, too. I don't know how someone that displaces so much air can ninja his way so quietly, but he does. Coupled with his darkly garbed uniform, CM3 would make a more than passable James Bond-type villian. But he's not. CM3 is just a writer. One of the best on the planet. Thank Gods. (less)
In [[ASIN:1439200815 Murderland Part I - H8]] Jeremy is coming to grips with his other life. But being a serial killer is not for everyone, so he hide...moreIn [[ASIN:1439200815 Murderland Part I - H8]] Jeremy is coming to grips with his other life. But being a serial killer is not for everyone, so he hides his 'blood-lust with a purpose' from his long-time girlfriend, Cass. Flash foward to "Life During Wartime" and Jeremy no longer has to fight the good fight all by his lonesome. With a rag-tag motley crue of interesting characters (Cass, General Lud, The Pimp, The Pastor and, of course, the one and only Mr. 400) Jeremy dives head-first into his work as the Lightning of God. After dispatching a popular music group and a 'Bundy' winner, Jeremy and all the gang (learnin' from each other, while we do are thing....na-na-na, gonna have a good time - Hey Hey Hey!) throw the World of Reap into a tailspin with all their shenannigans (three Ns?). Jeremy and Cass have some painful lessons yet to learn as Godless Jack takes issue with their stance and their growing popularity.
Garrett Cook kicks a-hole again with this 2nd of 10 installments. Just as much gruesome fun as the first one. Jump on board. Also, check out [[ASIN:0980593824 Archelon Ranch]] for more crazy Cook-ery!(less)
WELCOME TO HARBORSIDE DISTRICT HOSPITAL... ..where three of a kind have come to live, work and kill. Born whole from the rectum of a dying patient, Mo...moreWELCOME TO HARBORSIDE DISTRICT HOSPITAL... ..where three of a kind have come to live, work and kill. Born whole from the rectum of a dying patient, Morbid silently stalks the hospital's hallways, heinously dispatching the most helpless of patients and in the most painfully repulsive of manners. In the meantime, in order to pay for his family and home that includes his ghost step-father Sammy and his pet aborted fetus Chip, Westphal has to ingest mounds of dangerous narcotics to get through his night shifts. Barely hanging on to his Care Tech gig by his fingernails, the last thing Westphal needs is to be accused of Morbid's evil deeds. You, on the other hand, simply want to find some solace. Terminally ill from a virulent infection, and dependent on Life Support, all You beg for a peaceful and dignified demise. Shirk has other plans for You. The ancient drug-snuffling demon makes You relive all of your deadly and venial sins as he tortures You. Night after night. Until eternal Damnation begins for YOU MORBID WESTPHAL, yet again. http://www.amazon.com/You-Morbid-West...(less)
Reading this magazine, which was bound and presented more like a lit. journal, was pure enjoyment. It had most of my personal faves: Garrett Cook, Jor...moreReading this magazine, which was bound and presented more like a lit. journal, was pure enjoyment. It had most of my personal faves: Garrett Cook, Jordan Krall, Anderson Prunty, Jeremy Shipp - they all have stories in this first issue. Plus reviews on several books, a report on BizarroCon 2008 and a well-done interview with super-cool writer Gina Ranalli. HIGHLY REC'D!!(less)
rating: 5 of 5 stars Steven Rage's "Pilate: A Brutal Bible Tale" - Worth getting your hands dirty for!, January 19, 2009
By J. Aguilera "MLA, Professi...more rating: 5 of 5 stars Steven Rage's "Pilate: A Brutal Bible Tale" - Worth getting your hands dirty for!, January 19, 2009
By J. Aguilera "MLA, Professional reviewer, writ... (Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
Look at your hands. Lines tell tales that without the right exposure live completely disguised within crevices that no amount of washing can remove. We yearn to have them clean - enough. Spend hundreds of dollars on this or that to wash ... them ... clean. But some stains never come out, no matter how much we scrub, steam, or sterilize. And what becomes of the hands that are soaked in generations of sins committed by their owners, perpetual motion of offenses against their fellow man time and time again? Isn't there something that we've all done that we just can't seem to cleanse ourselves from? And what if you were Pilate?
Steven Rage's "Pilate: A Brutal Bible Tale" explores the depths of sin, the way it stains our lives, and graphically illustrates the things we fear most. He forces us to look at true sin, true villainy, and truly offensive images of alternative realities. Sometimes it takes a shock to wake up!
Rage creates a dismal post-industrial future, a look at man defiled and in decline. Evil has arrived and this is NOT our Father's World! Dominion has been taken by those who walk as the damned, demons, Halflings, products of debauched rampages and sins against nature, and then, of course, the vampires. Sex, drugs, and broken souls are the only things of value. Life is more like a disease, and the only salvation is the right amount of Plata to numb the conscience and, if one is lucky, to bring on a cleverly disguised demise. (less)