At times William Gay, at times Carlton Mellick III, but always, I’d say, he dodges what would traditionally be called Bizarro fiction by way of empathy for his characters. He’s Bizarro with heart…so, magical realist, I suppose. He’d fit in more with Amy Bender and Gabriel García Márquez than with Carlton Mellick III or even Bradley Sands, but is strong enough in the world of any to be welcomed by them.
Wallwork isn’t afraid to take a strange, even repulsive concept, and build a touching story around it. A story of a man shitting out his own nerves? Sounds ridiculous, but Wallwork makes it work. A sexual sideshow couple famous of inserting increasingly large objects into the woman’s vagina? Yep, but it gets even weirder, yet Wallwork knows how to approach situations like these with heart....more
This stories of Fuckload of Shorts by Jedidiah Ayres, which includes the stories that inspired the short film Fuckload of Scotch Tape, are the best k
This stories of Fuckload of Shorts by Jedidiah Ayres, which includes the stories that inspired the short film Fuckload of Scotch Tape, are the best kind of short stories. Each one takes an idea that, realistically should make for a horrible, shock-driven story, and instead delivers amazing noir fiction with beautifully rendered characters. Ejaculating a dead man? Yep. Selling corpses to a dog foot plant? Yep. In the hands of a lesser writer, these ideas would amount to nothing more than throwaway snuff fiction. But in the hands of Jedidiah Ayres, these ideas are simply climaxes of and catalysts for truly compelling stories.
This video book review examines one of those scenarios in-depth: how exactly, logistically speaking, can one ejaculate a dead man? Yes, there is a whiteboard and drawings included....more
The Orphan Master’s Son is a remarkable book. I’ve been a fan of Adam Johnson’s work since his story cClick the image below to watch the video review
The Orphan Master’s Son is a remarkable book. I’ve been a fan of Adam Johnson’s work since his story collection Emporium (which I credit as being a primary impetus to my own fiction writing), and though both books are stellar, they are so in such different ways. It’s hard to believe that the man who wrote Emporium is the same guy who wrote The Orphan Master’s Son. Perhaps the two personalities are a Jun Do/Commander Ga thing (reference to the book).
In this video review you’ll suffer through my overt praise as well as my amazing Photoshop skills. Who knew Adam Johnson could so easily become Kim Jong Il?...more
Immobility is about an amnesiac man named Horkai, and in typical amnesic style Horkai begins this noveClick the image below to watch the video review
Immobility is about an amnesiac man named Horkai, and in typical amnesic style Horkai begins this novel having no idea who he is, where he is, or who those around him are. So, he must trust the word of those around him, namely a man named Rasmus. Rasmus tells Horkai that he has been brought out of a cryogenic state after 30 or so years and must go on a mission to retrieve something for Rasmus. So, Horkai does.
Now the first half of the novel plays around with Horkai's alternating discovery of and hesitation to accept his surrounds. It's a typical blank memory novel for a while. But then, the novel quickly becomes so much more. It becomes, what I interpret, as a commentary on organized religion, specifically the aggressive, and perhaps selfish, nature of religions missionaries.
See, during Horkai's journey, he finds people who seem very willing, eager even, to help him. They seem trustworthy. And each time, the reader is lulled into a sense of trust. We want to believe these people are truly out to help Horkai. But they never are.
Evenson's own struggles with organized religion are documented online, so I won't go into them here, but this book feels to me like perhaps his most personal. And this includes The Open Curtain which very much plays with the conventions of Mormonism, and until Immobility, I would have called his most religion-conscious book. And what's interesting is that Immobility does this without overtly calling attention to itself as an exploration of religion.
So even if you don't like long form detestation of religion--all two of you out there, right, because I know you guys like to party heathen style--even if you don't like this kind of book, don't discount it. There's a lot more to love here. For instance, the story takes place in an alternate history setting, post-apocalyptic, similar to Cormac McCarthy's The Road. The main character, Horkai, has no legs and must be carried by two people who are referred to as mules, and who refer to Horkai as a burden. Mix in a bit of The Matrix, some sci-fi elements, and sprinkle a bit of pestled viagra, which must be in there because I was rock hard while reading this....more
The Soul Consortium not only spans multiple universes but also manages to bring to life the spaces between the universes. This is by far the most expaThe Soul Consortium not only spans multiple universes but also manages to bring to life the spaces between the universes. This is by far the most expansive book, in terms of setting and chronology, I’ve ever read. The Soul Consortium redefines epic as a literary form....more