Read 12/30/16 4 Stars - Strongly Recommended, esp for those who are looking to get into the Bizarro genre Pages: 141 Publisher: Eraserhead Press Released:Read 12/30/16 4 Stars - Strongly Recommended, esp for those who are looking to get into the Bizarro genre Pages: 141 Publisher: Eraserhead Press Released: November 2016
When I was younger, much much younger, I had a recurring dream in which I would awaken early in the morning, flat on my back in bed. When I opened my eyes, I noticed that the bedroom ceiling had dropped, so low that if I had attempted to sit up, I would bash my head against it. But as my eyes began to adjust to the grey morning light, I realized that it wasn't the ceiling. It was a huge spider's web. And as I peered more closely into it, and to my left and right, I could see things suspended in the webbing. Arms. Ankles and feet. Thighs. All oozing blood down the various strands that held them in place. Was that my sister up there? My parents?
At this point in my dream, I would start to panic and then I would hear a scuttling sound from further down the wall, towards what was the corner of my room. I knew it was a giant spider and I knew once it sensed I was awake, it would come for me. So, gathering all of my courage, I would roll myself towards the end of my bed, and softly lower myself to the ground, where I would crawl my ass across the floor and start to slide down the stairs to the living room. I could barely breathe, and I was constantly looking over my shoulder to see if the spider was coming, always hearing that strange clicking and tapping noise that I imaged was coming from its forelegs and monstrous, salivating mouth.
The spider would never get me - some times it would give chase and I would wake up before I got downstairs. Other times, I made it all the way down the stairs, through the living room, and into my parents room before I could hear it approach.
You need to understand that I am fucking terrified of spiders. This dream was hell to me. And when I would wake up from it, I remember wondering what would happen if I died in the dream, what if that spider finally caught me? What if there was no heaven, what if I got trapped in this dream, in this terrifying, panicky escape from becoming some giant spider's dinner, that just kept playing on a continuous loop, until I finally lost the will to fight it and just let the damn thing get me?
Tiffany Scandal's SHIT LUCK brought this dream right the fuck back to mind. Her nameless protagonist is having the shittest shit day ever. Her boyfriend dumps her in a text, her car breaks down, the rental she picks up is vandalized and set on fire, and when she gets to work, her boss fires her. When her bff hears the news the next day, she drags our girl out to a frat party in an effort to cheer her up. But all it does is depress her more, until she notices a strange, older man wallflowering it up and attempts to strike up a conversation. A few drinks later, she's laying on the dance floor, dying.
What follows is pure fever dream perfection.
Our now-dead protagonist is met by a doughy dude who is also dead, and he proceeds to school her on the rules of the after life. There is no heaven. There is no reunion with her loved ones. There is no haunting or spooking of the living. Only an infinite series of increasingly bizarre worlds in which she will randomly "spawn" into each time she dies. Like in a video game. With unlimited "lives". She will remain in her current body, and that body will continue to age. Until she turns to dust and disappears forever.
And oh yeah, that strange, older man who she tried chatting up at the party? He appears to be chasing her from world to world, where she continues to die at his hands. Over. and. Over. and. Over again.
It's like my spider dream, only much more gory and glorious. And try as she might, there is no escaping the brutal deaths her pursuer has planned for her. It's perfectly told and it's fabulously fast paced. I read the entire book in one sitting.
It's quite the departure from her previous novel JIGSAW YOUTH, though I get the feeling Tiffany has sprinkled some of her own experiences into this character's backstory.
It's also quite the little mindfuck and I highly recommend it as a gateway book into the bizarro genre. There is gore and bodily fluids and lots of cursing, without all the gross hardcore body horror shit.
Tiffany's one badass book writing bitch. And I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!...more
Read 11/25/16 - 12/13/16 4 Stars - Strongly Recommended / The second half is wowsers Pages: 326 Publisher: Tyrant Books Released: 2010
Yeah, I know. I tookRead 11/25/16 - 12/13/16 4 Stars - Strongly Recommended / The second half is wowsers Pages: 326 Publisher: Tyrant Books Released: 2010
Yeah, I know. I took my sweet old time with this one. At first, I had no idea if I was even going to stick with it. It was slow. The writing was jarring. I think the book was like "fuck you, don't like me. I don't want you to like me".
I kinda sorta dug it while I was reading it but if I put it down, watch out, whole days went by before I felt the pull to pick it back up.
But then somewhere in the middle there, something changed. The novel started getting some weight to it and before I realized it, I had chewed through a good one-hundred pages of it in a single sitting. I almost wanted to finish the book right then and there but I was too tired to turn another page.
About midway through, the loosey goosey protagonist was suddenly showing some real personality and holy hell is he fucked up, right?
I mean, ok, Jelonnek was fucked up from the start. When we first meet him, he's being picked up by the cops and skirts being bullied in a jail cell for a few days. We don't know much about him and honestly, we can't be bothered to care because he doesn't seem to care either. He also doesn't seem to be good at anything. No. Wait. That's not entirely true. Jelonnek's sort of a natural at being a half-ass, at doing just enough to get by. At work and at life. You might not realize it, but doing 'just enough' to get by takes some skill. Though I imagine it's got to be quite tiresome after awhile. But Jelonnek's no quitter. No sirree. When he decides that skating by is how he wants to live, there's probably few people out there who can do it better.
All good things come to an end, though. And when Jelonnek finds himself on a cigarette run with his sister's boyfriend George, things get nasty. Fast. Jelonnek, who is at his most comfortable when embracing his slackerhood, breaks habit by getting involved with Littlebit, a prostitute George picks up and proceeds to beat the shit out of, and her daughter Miss D. Without much prompting, Jelonnek slides into the role of the reluctant hero and agrees to chauffeur the ladies across the country to meet up with Littlebit's elusive cousin.
Marten's style of writing is a character in and of itself. One reviewer discusses "the detached nature of the narration, which is not in first person" though it reads as though it is. His close third person preference and bleak prose is disorientating at first but ultimately sucks you in. Instead of turning away from Jelonnek's antics in disgust, we are drawn in further by him. And catch ourselves pitying him, caring for him, even though, damn it, we know we really really shouldn't. Maybe it's because we can see bits and pieces of ourselves in Jelonnek? Or maybe it's because we can't help but watch a trainwreck? Whatever it is, it keeps us glued to the page, right up to Jelonnek's grand finale.
Those who know me know that I don't typically go in for non-fiction or memoir but this is Joshua Fucking Mohr, one of my major small press author crusThose who know me know that I don't typically go in for non-fiction or memoir but this is Joshua Fucking Mohr, one of my major small press author crushes.
Being asked to read Sirens was like being given a backstage pass into Mohr's mind - how could I turn down the opportunity to roam freely inside his head as he breaks down his long and complicated relationship with drugs and alcohol?
This is not just a story of recovery, but one of acknowledging that the demons never die. And of celebrating every moment of sobriety like it's the first one. And of living in fear of relapsing but of loving something outside of yourself so fucking much that it gives you the strength to laugh in the face of that fear and reduce those demons to dust right before your very eyes.
It's funny and fascinating and, yes, at times so ridiculously sad, because it's so many of the friends I had back in high school and it makes me wonder where they are now and if they were able to kick their habits and make good lives for themselves or if they fell under the spell of their drugs of choice and got sucked in so far that they couldn't claw their way out.
It's a letter to junkies that its never too late, and that sometimes, as silly as it sounds, love really does fucking conquer all.
It's Joshua's love letter to himself and god damn if it didn't make me fall all that much more in love with him, too.
Caitlin Kiernan has done some interesting things within this novella.
We meet the Signalman, a secret agent of sorts who has just returned from a missCaitlin Kiernan has done some interesting things within this novella.
We meet the Signalman, a secret agent of sorts who has just returned from a mission to sniff out an end-of-days cult, where he and his partner discover that their particular choice of "koolaid", a very unique form of fungi, may actually be heralding in the end of days.
He and a strange woman, who appears to not be tied to time the same way we are, debrief each other on his odd findings.
Meanwhile, we lose contact with one of our probes when it makes contact with something as it passes outside the orbit of Pluto.
The story bounces back and forth in time just enough to keep us off balance, ensuring it has our undivided attention, constantly tracking where and when we are. In anyone else's hands, this novella would have disintegrated into a melting pot of nonsense.
Too short to wrap up all of the events she has placed in motion, Agents of Dreamland isn't concerned with giving us all the answers. It's more determined to ask the questions...