I found this book to be incredibly disappointing. The premise was really interesting - a city where the dead go to live out eternity, where time is cuI found this book to be incredibly disappointing. The premise was really interesting - a city where the dead go to live out eternity, where time is currency, and war is still a thing - but it just failed to meet my expectations. It reads like a fever dream, oscillating between coherency and deliriousness much too often for my liking. ...more
Read 10/13/16 - 10/16/16 4 Stars - Strongly Recommended: it'll blow you off your ass like a donkey bomb, yo! Pages: 276 Publisher: ChiZine Publications ReRead 10/13/16 - 10/16/16 4 Stars - Strongly Recommended: it'll blow you off your ass like a donkey bomb, yo! Pages: 276 Publisher: ChiZine Publications Released: 2012
This book knocked my fucking socks off. I found the subversive and satirical nature of the novel intriguing as all hell and chewed through the thing like ET on a trail of Reese's pieces.
In it, we find ourselves in the hands of an unnamed narrator who's signed himself over to Farm for six years in an effort to help relieve his mom of some of her financial burdens. Farm, as its name would imply, supplies City with food and relies on people like our narrator to break their backs for slave-wages. There are apples to pick, animals to tend to, and strange guided tours where City residents are escorted by people dressed in Chicken and Duck costumes on trams, where they can watch Farm's indentured servants hard at work. Our narrator, like all Farm members, smiles and waves (smile and wave boys, smile and wave) all the while counting down the years he has left before he can finally walk away from it all. That is, until one deranged Duck passes along the message that his mom is in danger of losing her home. After our guy checks in with his barn manager, he discovers his checks haven't been cashed and his mother's account has been terminated and begins to plot his escape to find her. Of course, he doesn't have to wait long, because Duck and her fellow furries revolt against Farm and our narrator makes a break for City under the cover of all the chaos.
City is, well, the city, and like any city, is crowded and crappy and full of assholes. City is where our narrator grew up. Through some incredibly well placed chapters, we learn all about our narrator's fucked up relationship with his mother, whose name is Mary, and about how they were abandoned by his father Joseph (because Joseph wanted to focus on becoming a priest and hello, loving the names and the religious themes that are buried within this story right now you guys). And now, too, it's starting to make sense, why our narrator would leave the relative (I use this word loosely) comfort of City for the controlling and demanding servitude of Farm. And wouldn't you know it, as our narrator enters City and breaks into his mother's home, which true to Duck's word appears to be empty, he stumbles into his father the Father, who has a proposal for him. His father the Father needs him to run for Mayor, and in doing so, father the Father promises that City will not prosecute (AKA terminate) him for running away from Farm. Welp. Looks like our main guy has little choice in the matter, then. So run for Mayor he does. And because he is a wanted man, during his campaign father the Father forces our dude into hiding under City.
You should know that City is built on Pier, which is like any ole pier, made of wood and suspended over the ocean, except this particular Pier is where City dumps its waste, both garbage and human - it's where the homeless and sickly citizens are sent to keep City clean. Father the Father has been working under Pier for years, caring for the terminally ill in a section called Home, where the dying are comforted and then cremated and released into the ocean. Our narrator is put to work in Home against his wishes, and spends time wandering Pier, looking for sick people to bring back Home with them. During these searches, he continues asking about his mother and will not stop until he discovers where they - City, Pier, or Farm - have sent her.
Farm were my favorite, and far and away the strongest, chapters of the book. In them, Paul Tremblay did a fantastic job setting the stage for this dystopian, futuristic world and imbued his characters with such fascinating and sometimes downright ridiculous senses of humor. He perfectly balanced the bleak 1984 feel of the novel with things like a monthly mating dance for the Farm residents (I kid you not, they even issued them condoms!). And the deeper into the book we go, through City and ultimately Pier, the further we are buried beneath the horrorshow that is our narrator's mayoral campaign. Yet through all of the bureaucracy and the dehumanization, Tramblay continuously pulls us out from under it all and gives us a poke in the ribs - an exploding donkey's ass, a golden-shower (I swear!), and some good-humored banter between father and son - to lighten the mood and give us a bit of a breather.
A great addition to the always growing sub-genre of dystopian, big-brother fiction. ...more
Another barren wasteland. Another amazing novel that probes deep into what it means to be human and whether what you think you are, and what you truly Another barren wasteland. Another amazing novel that probes deep into what it means to be human and whether what you think you are, and what you truly are, really makes that much difference in the long run.
OK....DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW UNLESS YOU HAVE ALREADY READ THIS BOOK AND IMMOBILITY.
If I'm right, I'm about to spoil a whole bunch of shit for you.
Ok, you've been warned!
Soooo many parallels to Immobility here. In that novel, the human protag Horkai had been awakened from storage to go on a mission to retrieve some material that had been "stolen". Accompanying him on his mission were two "mules", an identical pair of human-like beings who couldn't survive prolonged exposure to the harsh conditions outside, with names that shared the same first letter - Qatik and Qanik.
Could they be our X's ancestors, earlier even than those who have been imprinted in him and share thought space within his body?
In The Warren, we know X's ancestors were likewise made in pairs for quite some time, sharing the same alphabetic letter in their names - we are aware that their names were Ture/Tore, Unnr/Uttr, Vigus/Vagus, and then the solo Wollem, created alone because of a lack of material.
It appears as though our Warren humaniods have been left on their own for a very long time, replicating themselves based off of faulty memories as they each approach the end of their lifespan. Though, they are not really ALONE alone because the Warren's super computer AKA Monitor informs our curious little X that there is one true human left. That human's name is Horak (a misremembered version of Horkai, maybe?), and he is stored away in a different location, one that is above ground, which is still considered toxic to X and his kind.
Are you with me right now? Are you seeing the parallels to Immobility yet? Horak is in storage, Horkai was in storage. The outside is toxic to the identical pairs, and the outside is toxic to X and his ancestors, too. And if you follow the alphabet backwards, we are with X now. Wollem is gone - he left the Warren ages ago to see if he could locate more material, and never returned. Wollem was created by Vigus and Vagus. Vigus and Vagus had been created by Unnr and Uttr, who were created by Ture and Tore. So it's not ENTIRELY crazy to back this thing all the way up to Qatik and Qanik, right?
X is only able to remember as far back as Ture and Tore, but that could be explained easily - maybe Ture and Tore were the first humaniods to IMPRINT themselves, thus being the first pair to ever burn their memories into the two they were creating, thus ensuring that they will always be a part of those who come after them.
It's totally possible that X's group are all that's left of the Immobility clan. Maybe they began as a small group of humans and humaniods that had broken off from that original group. Maybe shit was hitting the fan and some of the people said screw this and made their way across the barren, poisoned land to build a new home of their own....
A book about a reality show where people are trying to haunt a non-haunted house and inadvertently invite a guy who himself is the "haunted".
Think BrA book about a reality show where people are trying to haunt a non-haunted house and inadvertently invite a guy who himself is the "haunted".
Think Brett Michaels and Paranormal Activity having a baby and you've got the gist.
OK I might be a bit biased on this one because I had an opportunity to read an early draft and offer the author feedback on content and editing. And JW was ridiculously open minded to it all and wrote some kickass shit in the acknowledgements section about me.
I live a dream-life sometimes. It's amazing to be trusted enough to play a role, no matter how tiny, in helping get awesome indie literature out in the world!
Check this one out. Not because I'm telling you to, or because I helped edit it, but because it deserves an audience. ...more
Read 9/5/16 - 9/11/16 3 Stars - Recommended to fans of slow moving, hibrow fiction Pages: 157 Publisher: Rare Bird Lit Releasing: October
- loRead 9/5/16 - 9/11/16 3 Stars - Recommended to fans of slow moving, hibrow fiction Pages: 157 Publisher: Rare Bird Lit Releasing: October
- lose one's balance and stagger or lurch violently.
Back in 1993, a fairly large group of friends and I spent the afternoon moshing and floating over the crowd at an STP, Flaming Lips, and Butthole Surfers concert. There were so many of us that we needed to ride in multiple vehicles to get there. Some of the people I knew well, some I recognized from brief introductions, and a few people I hadn't met yet. So I piled in the back of a pickup truck with a handful of the kids I was closest to. I don't really remember ever meeting with up the rest of the group during the concert, but apparently, unbeknownst to me at the time, my future husband was buried in there somewhere. He was one of the ones I hadn't yet been introduced to. To be so close to someone, to spend the day at an event together, and never quite cross paths is kind of weird when you think about it. Was he one of the hands holding me up over the crowd? Did he vacate the port-a-potty I had used moments before I entered it? What would have happened if I had gotten into the car he was in instead of tucking myself under the blankets in the back of the pickup that day?
It wasn't until we started dating in 1994, shortly after 'officially' meeting for the first time during an orientation at a new job, that we discovered we hung out in the same groups. Like, some of my best friends were friends with his best friends. And not only were we both at the STP concert together, but Lollapalooza that same year AND a handful of house parties. How had we never met until now? How could we have orbited each other so closely and been oblivious to one another? Hello. Mind. Blown.
This all comes rushing back to me when I start reading Reel and realize the two main characters are in a similarly fucked up, but almost completely opposite, situation when we first meet them. Here, two strangers are sort of swimming against the tides of their own lives when they momentarily collide at a punk show. Timon, fresh from vomiting in the bathroom after exorcising some demons in the mosh pit, bumps into Marianne, who is not at all impressed by his jerky behavior front and center during the gig and tells him so. After a seriously awkward encounter, they walk away from one another. This should be the end of the story. Yet, as we continue to follow them from that point on, we begin to discover just how deeply that brief meeting has nudged their lives off center. Whether they notice or not, they have begun to fall under the influence of one another.
Strange coincidences start popping up shortly after the show. The first - Marianne discovers a mural on a roadside coffee shack in which one of the people painted in it shares an uncanny resemblance to Timon. It disturbs her so much that she goes on a mission to identify the artist and attempts to get into touch with her. Though she never manages to speak with the painter directly, Marianne later learns that her two BFF's are preparing to open an art gallery that is being funded by, wouldn't you know it, the mural artist. Small world, you guys.
Meanwhile, Timon takes on a job at his father's prompting, working with a guy named Carligne who claims that he comes highly recommended by a mutual friend of theirs, Timon's ex-girlfriend, who is also, wait for it, the artist of the mural Marianne stumbled across. Even weirder? Marianne comes THIS CLOSE to working on a website project with Carligne until he backs out last minute. Even smaller world, right?
It's kind of like playing that game "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon". At one point, I thought, man, how many different ways can we connect two complete strangers to one another? But if you stop and think about it, this kind of circular, orbiting influence is present in each one of our lives. We're most likely just too close to it to realize it. As I read the book, I found myself wondering how what I do might impact, or influence, people I will never ever meet. I mean shit, how many people might come into our lives for the briefest of moments but continue to live on through peripheral connections we may never be aware of? Our reach is so much greater than we give ourselves credit for, you know?
Then it hit me - the title of the novel is ridiculously fitting. The universe seems to be set upon pushing Timon and Marianne together while they appear to be making decisions that continuously drive themselves further apart. But they have no friggen clue. It's not intentional, it's just that they both wish to be somewhere else, doing something other than what they are doing, and are somewhat unwilling to take the leap to completely change their situation, and so they continue to orbit the same atmosphere and are constantly influenced by one another without even realizing it. Which really, to bring it back to my original point, is the flipped version of my situation, in which my future husband and I orbited each other initially and were ultimately nudged together in a right-place-at-the-right-time sort of way.
Will Marianne and Timon get another opportunity to "meet" each other? Will the stars align for them in the same way they seemed to align for me and my husband? Or will they continue to stumble and lurch in opposite directions, drifting further away from one another, like a pair of planets knocked off their orbit, feeling less and less of each other's pull until there are simply no connections left...?
(On a side note, I'm nodding at that cover like whoa because it's pretty fucking phenomenal. It vibes like old school science fiction which can throw the reader for a loop because the writing is actually kind of hibrow hoity toity and it's not sci-fi at all unless you count all the orbity-influentialness of it sci-fi, but who the hell cares with a cover like that? Right?)...more