In Creep House Prunty delves into the darker areas of horror, and he does so with unparalleled finesse. He covers enough new territory to keep the reaIn Creep House Prunty delves into the darker areas of horror, and he does so with unparalleled finesse. He covers enough new territory to keep the reader walking the razor line between exhilaration and discomfort. By discomfort I'm referring to moments in stories where you expect something bad to happen but don't want it to. There's a sort of dramatic irony to some of the tales, like "The Calming Wood." The audience has a growing suspicion as to the fate of the protagonist, but then our worst fears are realized, and it is as if some karmic entity has been perverted and redirected towards the innocent in the story. Suddenly those who deserve to face dire consequences are let off lightly. As for those in the story who commit the greatest atrocities, we're left wondering what their fate may be. In this capacity the story's horror rests with its realism. It reinforces the fact that we live in an imperfect world. Simultaneously, there is a surreal element to the story which allows for the karmic perversion to manifest in the first place.
I really enjoyed "The Calming Wood." It is a breath of fresh air compared to a large portion of horror today. Mainstream horror seems to rely on a few basic conclusions, one of which depicts the aggressor as victorious. How droll. I've seen enough films with the maniac swinging his chainsaw/axe/machete victoriously as the sun sets or rises on the horizon. The conclusion in "The Calming Wood" leaves us with the ability to envision our own ultimate conclusion by providing us with a penultimate conclusion, one that wraps up the story for the protagonist, but leaves us wondering about the fate of other characters who become central through a sort of paradigm shift part way through the story.
There's no question that the ending of "The Calming Wood" is intentional. While one reviewer posited that a few of these stories leave us hanging, I can't help but feel that Prunty is challenging the conventions of horror in some respects with the open-ended approach he takes in the first story. However, in stories like "May to May" Prunty appears to leave the audience questioning what happened in the vein of literary fiction. That's not to say that Prunty would lower himself to the level of pseudo intellectual bullshit that is literary fiction today. Instead, "May to May" parodies the kind of "we challenge you to find meaning in the meaningless" approach you would find in the more recent short fiction of Don DeLillo. He does it with finesse . . . and huge black dildos. I like to think of "May to May" as a huge dildo screwing the desperate scrawling of aspiring literary writers across the country. Overall, I can't help but feel that the first two stories in Creep House are an existential fuck you directed towards those desperate to render meaning from the absurd nature of reality. It is as if Ingmar Bergman and John Waters sat down to write a collection of short horror stories.
"Candy Heart" was a great horror story that toys with your anxieties about the loss of innocence. I loved it because the ending was redeeming, and the redemption overwhelms the loss we feel for the character who kicks off at the end. To put it simply, it was like, "Oh shit. I didn't want that guy to die, but at least that other fellow turned out alright." The story has a nice degree of circularity.
Prunty's work is always calculating, and this collection plays with the conventions of story telling to a degree that really shows Prunty's ability to render plot in ways that are both foreign and familiar to readers. There are four other stories in the collection, only one of which I have read so far. So my assessment comes from reading over half of the stories included, but not all of them. I still have three more to go.
When I was little, kids in my town used to huddle together at the playground and joke about sex. We’d lie constantly, infusing everything we loved witWhen I was little, kids in my town used to huddle together at the playground and joke about sex. We’d lie constantly, infusing everything we loved with nudity.
“Did you know that if you beat Double Dragon six times in a row, you get to see your girlfriend’s boobs?” “That’s nothing. There are whole games about boobs. They keep them behind the counter.” “Yep. I saw them once.” “Yeah. My uncle has one. I played it once when he fell asleep. There were boobs all over the place.”
We’d go on, lying like that, pretending we were in the know.
We had no idea.
We had no idea about Nintendo games like this:
There’s part of me that’s glad we didn’t know. Our weird ideas were best left to the imagination, because that was limitless. Double Dragon boobs were never 8-bit in my head. Somehow real-world resolution was spliced onto the NES screen in my mind.
Those imaginary games grew with me until I saw the real thing for myself. Custer’s Revenge was pure garbage. The NES titles were terrible. Thus the perfect dirty video game remains the holy grail of every adolescent male gamer in the United States.
And it is highly likely that the only place you’re going to find that game is in Jon Meyers’ Pink Planet.
Pink Planet is nostalgic fantasy transported directly from the collective imagination of every game-playing male across the country in word form.
Well, it starts that way.
But as the story unfolds, the pornographic game depicted in the story grows more and more sinister, exposing the protagonist to things no man should have to witness.
Just one example: go search “Blue Waffles” on Google Images. Turn the safety feature off.
So on the surface, this book promises to deliver a good time, one that hearkens back to the best parts of your life. But there’s something darker here as well. This book retraces the steps that lead many to sexual desensitization. The excess increases, climaxing with the protagonist getting everything he thought he desired. But he loses so much in the process that we have to question the value of his pursuit. It prompts the reader to question their own pursuits. The discerning reader will put this book down and think, “Shit. Maybe it is time to stop searching midget nun porn after all.” Then another part of your brain will go “I think they’re called little people. That’s more PC or something.”
The thing I appreciate about this book the most is Meyers’ subtlety. Pink Planet is only bleak if you want it to be. The author has given you the ability to opt out of the darker undercurrent present. Dive into this book as a hedonist and it is pure fun. No matter how you step into this one, you’re bound to have a good time. ...more
I don't feel right rating my own book. So instead, I'll just say there's no heavy-handed metaphor here. You won't be bombarded with political messagesI don't feel right rating my own book. So instead, I'll just say there's no heavy-handed metaphor here. You won't be bombarded with political messages like you were with Uncle Sam's Carnival of Copulating Inanimals, if you read that one. This is just a story about a handful of miserable people all connected by a ship, a giant iron fetus, and a machine that sprouts butt holes like a ceramic plant pot might sprout butts in late spring.
. . . and waffles. There are waffles.
There are, however, no abortions.
There may be a creation myth involving Transformers as well.
I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as the first one. After losing Ned in the first book, not much surprised me. I knew the author had a reputationI didn't enjoy this book quite as much as the first one. After losing Ned in the first book, not much surprised me. I knew the author had a reputation for killing off characters, so I braced myself for the worst. Meh. Wasn't so bad. I don't know why, but I'm not such a big fan of Robb, and since this book focused on him, particularly towards the end, I wound up finishing it just for the sake of finishing it. It was good enough to keep me going through book 3, however....more