Imagine two copies of Ignatius J. Reilly, minus the arrogance, but infected with malapropism. This is Grundish and Askew, two best friends with one waImagine two copies of Ignatius J. Reilly, minus the arrogance, but infected with malapropism. This is Grundish and Askew, two best friends with one want and one don’t want. Their “want” is simple: they want to run a marijuana-dispensing brothel in international waters outside the jurisdiction of the US. Their “don’t want” is also simple: they don’t want to end up in jail. Anything--including an untimely death--but that. They hook up with Askew’s great aunt Turleen, and then spend some time in the Buttwynn residence. Why? Because the Buttwynns are on vacation, their house is empty, and it’s the perfect set-up for the “Turd Burglar”. But then Mr. Buttwynn returns early and some hell breaks loose. Grundish, Askew, Turleen, and a teen hooker go on the lamb [sick], ultimately making their final stand at Jerry Mathers’ Foreign Car Parts and Service. The tale features the kind of absurd situations that pop up in Bizarro Lit (albeit somewhat subdued—which I suspect is the first time that word has ever been applied to anything Carbuncle has ever written) and the occasional surreal characters that you find in Christopher Moore’s work. In addition to the weird plot lines, this book has probably the best set of footnotes in literary history. For example, cures for internal hemorrhoids, funny porno names, the world record for the loudest burp, and made-up words like muddlement and droopage. Has there ever been a book review asking for MORE footnotes? Well, there is now. More footnotes, please! ...more
A fascinating idea. Gates pop up all over the world; go through and you find yourself 18 again--but with your gender switched. What happens--to you, tA fascinating idea. Gates pop up all over the world; go through and you find yourself 18 again--but with your gender switched. What happens--to you, to family, to society?
There's a lot of potential here, and maybe about 60% of it gets met. (But there are two more volumes to the story, so we'll see what happens.) The story is told in the first-person; however it suffers from too much telling, not enough showing. For a good example of a similar idea done well, check out Robert Wilson's The Chronoliths. On the other hand, this novel has a great "imagination trap" and (unlike Wilson's) the author leads us toward a resolution. But not all the way, because there's more to come....more
This is the kind of horror novel you would expect from a collaboration of Ed Wood and George Lucas (with a tiny, tiny bit of input from Quentin TarantThis is the kind of horror novel you would expect from a collaboration of Ed Wood and George Lucas (with a tiny, tiny bit of input from Quentin Tarantino). You'll have to figure out for yourself if that's the kind of book you'd want to read....more
Okay, a step up from the previous book: Dexter wasn't totally helpless and or clueless, and this time only had to be rescued once. He recognizes thatOkay, a step up from the previous book: Dexter wasn't totally helpless and or clueless, and this time only had to be rescued once. He recognizes that he's losing his edge, attributing it to his attempts to become the domesticated husband. (Which sounds not a little like what happened to Lumen's character in season 5 of the Showtime series.) The character Dexter has to deal with (his Double) is a great potential adversary, and it would have been nice to see him matching wits with the "old school" Dexter. By the end of the book, Dexter seems to think he's returned to his old self. I hope this is the case. We'll see what the next book brings....more
So, with the birth of his (and Rita's) daughter Lily Anne, Dexter decides to give up his extracurricular activities, and clamp down on the Dark PassenSo, with the birth of his (and Rita's) daughter Lily Anne, Dexter decides to give up his extracurricular activities, and clamp down on the Dark Passenger. The result is a totally passive Dexter who has to be rescued twice. Apart from the return of his brother Brian, there's not much to appreciate in this tale. Hopefully the true Dexter will return in the next book....more
This text contains a large overview of many coloring problems in mathematics.
The most interesting is probably the chromatic number of the plane: whatThis text contains a large overview of many coloring problems in mathematics.
The most interesting is probably the chromatic number of the plane: what is the smallest number of colors needed to color every point in the plane so that no two points which are exactly one unit apart have the same color? The answer is either 4, 5, 6, or 7. It turns out that showing that 4 is the lower bound and 7 is the upper bound is extremely easy. But that's as far as mathematicians have gotten.
There is a lot of discussion on coloring graphs and maps, leading to Ramsey Theory and the Four Color Problem. The more general Ramsey Theory (on the integers) is explored, with a lot of attention paid to Van der Waerden's result.
The book closes with a discussion of the Axiom of Choice and what consequences it might have for some of these coloring problems.
In the 500+ pages, the author not only covers these problems in great detail, but also gives us some of the stories of the mathematicians behind the work. The only drawback to the book (and it's a minor one) is its informality. Much of this involves personal accounts from the author, and so the royal "we" gets replaced by "I". ...more
Based on the description of Bucket of Face, I suspected that this would be a straight-up bizarro tale, with none of that pretentious intellectual nonsBased on the description of Bucket of Face, I suspected that this would be a straight-up bizarro tale, with none of that pretentious intellectual nonsense that always seems to pop up in literature. Which is fine with me: if God had wanted me to think, He would have made me intelligent enough to finish this analogy. But Hendrixson fooled us. The bastard went and wrote a story with intelligence and bizarrousity. Fundamentally, it’s a noir tale, in a similar vein as Garrett Cook’s Jimmy Plush Teddy Bear Detective. In a world where fruit have become sentient (due to a mishap during a raid on a suspected child molester--don’t worry, that bit of WTFery becomes clear by the end), Charles witnesses a shootout between an apple and a banana at the donut shop where he works. After the two fruit knock each other off, Charles confiscates the briefcase and bucket they were fighting over. He gets harassed by a couple of cops, but manages to get them out of the shop so he can clean up and make some apple-filled donuts. Charles and his kiwi girlfriend Sarah then try to figure out why the bucket and briefcase are so important. What are the contents of the bucket and briefcase? (Well, you can look at the book title for part of the answer.) Enter Roma, the hit-tomato with a Michael Jackson fetish. He searches for the briefcase, chasing Charles and Sarah until the story brings everything together in a climax of Shakespearean fruit salad. In addition to the adventure and excitement, the ending was far more touching than any book involving talking fruit should contain. Hendrixson’s tale is full of action, romance, clever puns, and probably vitamin C. This is only the second of the current batch of the New Bizarro Author Series that I’ve read, but both have been terrific—kudos to Eraserhead. And kudos to the Michael Jackson of Bizarro Lit: Eric Hendrixson. ...more
You know how you hear about a book being good, and you think it can't really be THAT good? (I ran into this with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.) OkaYou know how you hear about a book being good, and you think it can't really be THAT good? (I ran into this with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.) Okay, well, Muscle Memory falls into this category. I heard that it was good. But was it really THAT good? So I read it; and, yes, it was really THAT good. An easy five stars--although I would have given it 73 if that was an option. (And ignore the fact that Steve Lowe only gave it three stars; he doesn't know what he's talking about.)
If you've read the summary, then you know it involves Billy Gillespie switching bodies with his wife. I won't expand on that, because the events are more fun if you read them without knowing what's coming. So I won't say anything about Edgar.
And while this book is classified as Bizarro Lit, it really lies on the edge, in the sense that, other than the body-switching, this story is almost as normal as can be. The characters react in reasonable ways. (Hopefully the author won't get kicked out of the Bizarro Club for that.) And, since it is classified as Bizarro, it has to satisfy the rule of being under 100 pages. (Okay, not technically a rule, but Bizarro authors seem to write stories like Matthew Sweet writes songs.) And even though the ending leaves many questions unanswered, it still seems hauntingly perfect. But, if you want to continue the story, the sequel starts HERE on Steve Lowe's website....more
My son checked this out at the library, and after reading it thought I should give it a read. So I did.
It's a decent story set in Victorian London, aMy son checked this out at the library, and after reading it thought I should give it a read. So I did.
It's a decent story set in Victorian London, a little bit of a mystery with werewolves. My son has recently gotten into Sherlock Holmes, and he loved this and has started the second book in the series. Can't say I liked it as much as he, but it was a fun read. ...more
Bizarro publishers combine forces to produce several starter kits. This kit (Orange) consists of work from the first wave (if such a term can be usedBizarro publishers combine forces to produce several starter kits. This kit (Orange) consists of work from the first wave (if such a term can be used for a genre that’s less than a decade old) of Bizarro authors.
D. Harlan Wilson – The collection starts with six short stories from Wilson. The first is a dark tale, while the rest reside on the light-hearted side. My favorite (being a professor) was “Classroom Dynamics,” in which Dr. Beebody is told to stop hugging his students. So he starts carrying weapons to class. Hilarity (or the Bizarro equivalent) ensues. Carleton Mellick III – Based on the title of this novella, one might think that “The Baby Jesus Butt Plug” is about a baby Jesus being used as a sex toy. In fact, the story is about, well, actually, yeah, that’s what the story is about. Although the title makes the story sound like a cheap attempt at being edgy, Mellick does have some interesting social commentary floating in this story. Jeremy Robert Johnson – “Extinction Journals” is a post-apocalyptic tale about a man who survives nuclear war (and eventually finds love) by wearing a suit made of cockroaches. Kevin L. Donihe – Imagine a bicycle race in which one of the riders is the Black Knight. This is Donihe’s “The Greatest Fucking Moment in Sports.” (And when I say the black knight, I mean the one from Monty Python’s Holy Grail.) Gina Ranalli – Ranalli’s “Suicide Girls in the Afterlife” is probably the most normal tale in this collection. (Is that an insult for a bizarro writer?) It’s a fun tale of one Pogue Eldridge’s first few hours after dying. Andre Duza – “Don’t F(beep)k With the Coloureds” tells the true story about animated characters in exactly the way that Who Framed Roger Rabbit didn’t. Vincent W. Sakowski – Sakowski’s contribution is two short stories (“The Screaming of the Fish” and “Peel and Eat Buffet,” which can be found online) and the novella “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Ragnarok.” In the novella, a married couple are given the chance to survive Armageddon, as long as they don’t kill each other—and even if they do. Steve Beard – “Survivor’s Dream” is a (challenging) tale of Dead Girl’s near-death experience. John Edward Lawson – “Truth in Ruins” is another post-apocalyptic tale; this one involving much more disturbing characters than Johnson’s “Extinction Journals.” Bruce Taylor – Several short stories from Taylor finish off this collection: “The Breath Amidst the Stones,” “A Little Spider Shop Talk,” “Of Tunafish and Galaxies,” and “City Streets.” The stories involve talking walls, spiders, and stoves; in other words, typical Bizarro.
If you want to get a good feel for the world of Bizarro literature, this is a good place to start....more
Upon finishing the first chapter of RSWFKY--in which Rico deals with an annoying passenger on a flight by ripping out her throat (don't worry, he comfUpon finishing the first chapter of RSWFKY--in which Rico deals with an annoying passenger on a flight by ripping out her throat (don't worry, he comforts her with a peck on the cheek), then throws a would-be hijacker out of the plane, and finally parachutes down to Disney World--I began to suspect that this was no ordinary tale. After finishing the remaining 49 chapters, my suspicion was confirmed.
Imagine if the action hero played by Arnold Schwarzenegger (in that movie with the guns, explosions, and killing) had, as a child, been raised by Philip K. Dick and Bjork, whilst living next door to Chucks Palahniuk and Norris. The result just might be Rico Slade. Or Chip Johnson, the balding actor who plays Rico Slade. Or who maybe is Rico Slade.
The unbridled testosterone in this (sadly too short!) story is an intoxicating blend of bling (with apologies to African American golfers) and bizarro. You need to read this book. Yes, that's right: you. Or else Rico Slade might rip out your throat. ...more
Based on the description, I was expecting something like Stephen King's Needful Things. But it's not quite like that. After an awesome use of the ImagiBased on the description, I was expecting something like Stephen King's Needful Things. But it's not quite like that. After an awesome use of the Imagination Trap in the Prologue, I had some high expectations. And Little did manage to impress me again. The Store in the story comes across as an evil WalMart-like corporation wreaking havoc on the community of Juniper, Arizona. But the novel is not so much about the evils of corporatism; it's really about fascism--at least for about 80% of the book. But the last part starts to get into an interesting area: does power corrupt? Or more specifically, can it corrupt anyone? I wish Little had spent more time on this theme: it was more interesting. The ending was rather similar to The Association, and to a lesser extent, Dispatch. (And the scene in the last three pages was rather silly; although it would have been more interesting if the proprietor had been a young blond woman.) But like I've said in my other Bentley Little reviews, if you like his style, then here's another good book....more
Starfish Girl is the Bizarro Literary equivalent of Kip Addatto’s “Wet Dream.” (If you’ve never heard it, you’re missing out: http://www.youtube.com/wStarfish Girl is the Bizarro Literary equivalent of Kip Addatto’s “Wet Dream.” (If you’ve never heard it, you’re missing out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEZG14....) A yellow algae causes humans to transform into sea-mutants. Ohime, a girl with a starfish on her head (and at least some of the attributes of starfishes, like regenerating limbs), tries to find the good people left in the dome under the sea. One person that she’s convinced is one of the “good ones” is ex-assassin Timbre. Ohime follows Timbre as they both run from the evil Dr. Ichii. (The doctor offers the dome residents special implants to assist with survival. But the implants have a costly price.) Eventually Timbre starts to follow Ohime, who sets out on a quest to liberate the good people from the dome.
The interesting backdrop of this story doesn’t get sketched out enough, unfortunately, but the characters at the heart of the story do. If you want a story populated by fish-oriented mutants, this one’s for you. If you want a post-apocalyptic tale with a feminine touch, read this story. If you want a story in which the sentence “She whipped her tentacles away from his fingers, decapitating the dead lobster-dog and its body fell from the ceiling fan” makes sense, check this out! ...more
I've never read those pulp stories of yore. Or stories about teddy bears for that matter. So this book was a first for me. In several ways.
In this boI've never read those pulp stories of yore. Or stories about teddy bears for that matter. So this book was a first for me. In several ways.
In this book, we have five stories detailing Jimmy Plush's adventures with furries, zombies, and giant mob bosses. Stories which form an increasing sequence of weirdness, culminating in the final story (Jimmy Plush in the Tomb of the Martian Pharaoh) in which Jimmy, his chauffeur Chang, a flamboyant Spaniard, and a Frenchman get drunk on turtle urine and end up being swallowed by a giant mob boss named Townsquare Vanzetti.
Cheers for the wise-cracking stuffed detective and his devotion to duty.
Jeers for his nasty tendency to pour hot coffee on his ass-kicking chauffeur. Naughty teddy! ...more