They say great things come in threes. Well, maybe they don't say that, but I'll say it for now. This is the third of three great books/series that I'vThey say great things come in threes. Well, maybe they don't say that, but I'll say it for now. This is the third of three great books/series that I've come across that remind me why I love to read sci-fi. (And also raise my expectations on future readings, which eventually get dashed, alas.)
The three books are Pines, Ghost Country (from the Travis Chase series), and Wool. It's an interesting bit of serendipity, having read all of these books so closely together, because they all involve a very similar set-up regarding humanity's future. (And if you like any one of these three books, you should read the others as well. There's an interesting similarity between them, not unlike the dystopian triumvirate 1984, Brave New World, and We.)
The story involves a society that lives underground in a large "silo," with different classes (like the Farmers, Mechanics, and IT people) living at different levels. Food, power, and communication are heavily rationed. And the one great rule is: don't talk of the outside. If you dare to talk about wanting to go outside, then your wish just might be granted by sentencing you to cleaning. Every few months, someone gets sentenced to cleaning: donning a suit and wool pads, going to the outside of the Silo, cleaning off the one window to the outside world, and then walking off into the distance. Herein is Howey's great imagination trap: everyone sentenced to cleaning goes up to the window and cleans it; they then go towards the surrounding hill, and inevitably die before reaching the top. Why doesn't anyone refuse to clean as soon as they get outside? Why can't anyone make it over the hill?
There's a great story in this book, but I won't write anymore, so as not to spoil anything. ...more
TV Snorted My Brain is the latest literary offering from Bradley Sands. For those not familiar with the scene, Sands is the Randolph Mantooth of BizarTV Snorted My Brain is the latest literary offering from Bradley Sands. For those not familiar with the scene, Sands is the Randolph Mantooth of Bizarro Lit. And what could be more Randolph Mantoothy than a retelling of the King Arthur legend, set in the world of TV Land? (Actually, a good bizarro tale involving firemen would probably be pretty Mantoothy too.)
“My mortal enemies are the rules that govern society.”
Our protagonist is Artie Pendragon, a teen wanna-be anarchist--like a slightly mature Tucker Max. He has to put up with a widowed mom, an ex-wrestler uncle, and an annoying younger sister.
“Extra hot mustard is not very anarchist. Extra hot mustard is the tool the overlords use to keep down the proletarians. It is what they threaten us with whenever we speak our mind.”
But upon finding that he (and he alone) can work the Excalibur 3000 to change TV channels, his life begins to change.
“He who worketh this remote control is the true king of all TV Land.”
He and his family end up in TV Land. And he’s king. Isn’t it good to be king?
“Homeless people smell really bad. I believe smelling really bad is the most anarchist scent in the universe. The second most anarchist scent in the universe is Obsession for Men.”
Not with his family, it isn’t. But once in TV Land, he meets up with magical Merlin, pretty Gwen, stylish Lance, and Gawain, one of those observation-based comedians.
“Why do zombies always want to eat people’s brains.? Brains must taste awful. If I were a zombie, I’d yell ‘General Tso’s Chiiicken!’ while I attacked people. That stuff is delicious.”
And what happens? Things get weird. Because that’s what happens in Bizarro. And it’s what happens in a Bradley Sands book. Go on, read it. Because reading Bizarro is totally anarchist! ...more
Another collection of bizarro tales to warp your fragile mind. Let's take a look at the book’s innards.
The Ballad of Billy the Squid - The first lineAnother collection of bizarro tales to warp your fragile mind. Let's take a look at the book’s innards.
The Ballad of Billy the Squid - The first line sets the scene: "Scott Plammer had an octopus for a head." Since we're dealing in bizarro, you know that that line means exactly what it says. What does a man with an octopus for a head do with his life? You guessed it: move to Japan and star in tentacle porn videos. And deal his special brand of vengeance upon evil-doers.
I Think I'm in Love (Or, The Stranger in the Stall) - There's an old song about looking for love in all the wrong places. Now there's a story about looking for (and finding!) love in the bathroom stall. Music by Eddie Money.
A Hand Walks into the Bar - It's amazing how many bizarro noir tales there are out there. This one stars the disembodied hand of Caligula Zigguroth, trying to find its owner.
Princess Di's Mercedes and the Dead Man's ASL Chimp - A whacked-out tale of conspiracy theory, complete with an obsessive Three's Company fan ("Original Formula. Ropers. Norman Fell, motherfucker!") who almost meets his finale at the hands of sign-language ninja chimp ("Oh Jesus Christ. I'm gonna git the fuckin' AIDS from a ninja monkey throwing star!").
The Apple of My iPhone - What happens when a phone gets too attached to its owner? Things get Siri-ous! (See what iDid there?)
Life Cycle - A brilliantly written allegory on the cycle of human society. Freaky, but deep.
The Legend of a Ho Named Walrus Sounds - The story of Walrus Sounds, the outcast girl who would lead Walruskind to the top of the food chain.
Walkin' After Midnight - Want out of this time loop? Bring me the severed heads of the following five people.
Clear Skies Today, God Willing – Look, up in the sky! It’s the latest thing!
The Interstellar Quest for Snack Cakes – In the future, how will humans make their mark on interstellar commerce? By dealing in Ho Hos. The key line in this tale: “Men who dig blue women have what’s called Kirk-Cameron Syndrome.”
365 Yesterdays – Want to save the world? Just say no to hot dogs and hamburgers.
Necrocandy – Do you wish your girlfriend was this sweet?
The Free Monster – “The Free Monster originates from our innermost ancient desires.” And the price is just right!
Bread Alone – The adventures of Billy of the Sandwich Corps in the Antarctica.
Laser Tits – Take the top two ingredients of sci-fi movies and what do you get? The Bizarro version of Game of Thrones, perhaps. ...more