Nobody goes into the Wire District anymore. The place is an industrial wasteland of poisonous gas clouds and lakes of toxic sludge. The machines are still running, the drone-operated factories are still spewing biochemical fumes over the city, but the place has lain abandoned for decades. When the area becomes flooded by a mysterious black ooze, six strangers find themselves trapped in the Wire District with no chance of escape or rescue. Banding together, they must find a way through the sea of bio-waste before the deadly atmosphere wipes them out. But there are dark things growing within the toxic slime around them, grotesque mutant creatures that have long been forgotten by the rest of civilization. They are known only as clusters--colossal monstrosities made from the fused-together body parts of a thousand discarded clones. They are lost, frightened, and very, very hungry.
It's "Attack on Titan" meets David Cronenberg's "Videodrome" in this apocalyptic cyberpunk horror novel by the mutton-chopped kingpin of bizarro fiction, Carlton Mellick III.
Carlton Mellick III (July 2, 1977, Phoenix, Arizona) is an American author currently residing in Portland, Oregon. He calls his style of writing "avant-punk," and is currently one of the leading authors in the recent 'Bizarro' movement in underground literature with Steve Aylett, Chris Genoa and D. Harlan Wilson.
Mellick's work has been described as a combination of trashy schlock sci-fi/horror and postmodern literary art. His novels explore surreal versions of earth in contemporary society and imagined futures, commonly focusing on social absurdities and satire.
Carlton Mellick III started writing at the age of ten and completed twelve novels by the age of eighteen. Only one of these early novels, "Electric Jesus Corpse", ever made it to print.
He is best known for his first novel Satan Burger and its sequel Punk Land. Satan Burger was translated into Russian and published by Ultra Culture in 2005. It was part of a four book series called Brave New World, which also featured Virtual Light by William Gibson, City Come A Walkin by John Shirley, and Tea from an Empty Cup by Pat Cadigan.
In the late 90's, he formed a collective for offbeat authors which included D. Harlan Wilson, Kevin L. Donihe, Vincent Sakowski, among others, and the publishing company Eraserhead Press. This scene evolved into the Bizarro fiction movement in 2005.
In addition to writing, Mellick is an artist and musician.
So..............Bizarro Fiction................yeah, here we go............
Okay so for the uninitiated. How to describe Bizarro? Hmmmm.....okay. The best description I've seen was this. You know how when you dream, everything in the context of the dream seems to make sense, but then you wake up and realise that in the dream you were slow-dancing with a carpet python while Margaret Thatcher was singing Wagnerian Ballads in the background and you were all on a desert island on the arse end of Jupiter? And you think.....WTF was that?!
Yeah.......that's Bizarro fiction.......wait...........where are you going?...........DON'T LEAVE ME! I'LL DIE WITHOUT YOU!!!
Okay so now that we've established what it is, let me introduce you to one of the big names in the Bizarro genre: Carlton Mellick III and this here "book": Bio-Melt.
To describe the plotline of Bio-Melt in a nutshell would be a nightmare, but the basic premise - as best as I can describe it - is this. In the future, people of a certain age are expected to physically fuse with another person, in essence forming a new human being with all the memories and experiences of the previous person, albeit free to form their own new identity. Except the person our protag fuses with is on the run. And when they - he/she/it wakes up, things have gone horribly wrong.
To say that Bio-Melt is weird is an understatement. Its a testament to Mellick's commitment to the genre that he takes a basic premise and manages to somehow completely fuck it up in a good way. We have degenerate clones, giant leviathans made from spare body parts, seas of black oily goop, fractured identities, crazed hitmen, nasty gooey violence and some of the messiest most disgusting sex I've read in a book - not by kink or fetish, but because of what is happening to them as they are shagging.
Bio-Melt is also one of Mellick's more recent books and I think it shows a good deal of evolution as a writer. A lot of the earlier works of his I've read had a problem with telling the reader about the weird elements rather than putting them on display and while he still does it here, its a lot more restrained in favour of developing the strangeness of the world. I also think that Mellick works better when he's not focusing on bodily fluids for sheer shock value at the expense of the plot like in The Morbidly Obese Ninja where he goes into graphic detail about the titular ninja's hemorrhoids.
But if there's one thing I've learned from reading Bizarro is that you shouldn't get attached to the characters and Bio-Melt is pretty indicative of that. Outside of the protag - who switches bodies, genders and identities so fast you'd wonder if they were some sort of living embodiment of Tumblr, most of the other characters are pretty barebones and die with disturbing regularity. It ties in with the bleakness of the world but it doesn't make you give two tugs of a dead dog's wanger about them.
Bio-Melt is definitely one of the better stories in Mellick's repetoire and a decent opener if you're at all curious about the Bizarro genre. Honestly though, even this will make the ordinary scrub go crosseyed. There's nothing like Bizarro that I've ever read before and if what I've described doesn't rope you in, then RAR ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE!
Cause it's only going to get weirder from here......
I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience my company’s products might have caused you. We here at SEXBORG, INC have a mission to manufacture the most technologically sophisticated pleasure drones on the market, utilizing our patented state-of-the-art Real Flesh pleasure technology. It was never our intention to unleash a small army of indestructible death machines on you or your fellow survivors. Please accept this voucher for a fifty percent discount off your next purchase from SEXPLAY MARKETPLACE as a token of our apology. After perusing your request for assistance, we have come to the unfortunate conclusion that aid from SEXBORG, INC is completely unfeasible at this time. We hope this doesn’t discourage your future business with our company. Thank you for choosing SEXBORG, INC as your preferred pleasure drone supplier.
Carlton is at it again. He effectively brings you into a bizarre world on the brink of destruction where people must melt together to be productive human beings. This is where the story starts and where emotions are created that you just shouldn't have. Where the story goes from there is a completely unexpected journey through the apocalypse.
Me gustó bastante para un libro cuya sinopsis sugería algo más absurdo. Lo que no me agradó (tanto) es que después de la mitad se siente más como un libro escrito por Brian Keene, que no es algo malo pero no esperaba ese cambio de tono.
Es lo primero que leo de Carlton Mellick III y seguramente no será lo último; de hecho ya tengo vistos un par que me interesa leer después:
I'm addicted to stories about stuff melting. I bought this book because A) It's about people melting together, and B) It's by Carlton Mellick III. I thought it would be a fun romp through meltsville. As is common with Mellick books, there's a lot more to it than that. Yes, it's action packed, but there's also a lot of thoughtful stuff in here about the nature of identity as people lose themselves or struggle to hold onto themselves as they melt with other people. So this book is crucial for melt fans and non-melt fans alike.
Ok-I have read most of Carlton Mellick III’s books and have enjoyed much of what I have read. He basically, for those who have not ventured to his Bizarro territory, takes many genre elements (sci-fi, horror, fantasy) and strain it through a punk rock Salvador Dali painting and told with a matter of fact narrative tone. His books have been, for me, an excellent joyful page turning reset after so called heavier literature.
That being said, I really enjoyed this longer novel for Mellick-he usually writes more novella length books. This was a propulsive read about a strange and twisted not too distant future setting where we are all forced to commingle our bodies and genes to become a more competitive person in the world. I will say little about the plot, which at first felt like the movie Identity( John Cusack vehicle) due to the old motel setting, then goes in completely other directions. The reason this grabbed me was the character development, and even more so the contemplative nature of this book while still maintaining its pacing.
I did find some sections questionable such as not having an explanation of why a major plot point occurred. But if you sign on with this guy you’re probably on board to accept the directions he takes you. I hope that if you like “weird,” and believe fiction should be used to have things happen that really stretch or defy reality while still reflecting so much about our reality-this will be a fun one for you.
"Her eyeballs were pink and runny like half-cooked egg whites."
"We were like two blobs of oil paint being mixed together to form a new color."
Leave it to Mellick to write a surreal horror story about toxic waste and Cronenberg monsters that is hauntingly beautiful, emotionally deep and asks big questions.
It is truly a transhuman fable. In a near future where people can melt down and 'join' together sacraficing themselves to create a new being comprised of the memories of both what are the limits of humanity?
This is a longer book for Mellick but it goes down as easy as his shorter works. Highly entertaining, this is the 5th book I've read by him and by far my favourite. I was not expecting it to have so much heart. Despite the ever increasing bleakness of the situation, the ever evolving protagonist nearly never gives up hope.
All the characters have many layers, especially the ones that seem one dimensional at first, even unredeamable characters. The viewpoint characters are especially interesting as they bond with others along the way, becoming essentially a new being containing the old character's memories and personalities as they are combined and reborn.
I'm gonna be chewing on this one for a while. This book was an unrelenting assault of pleasant surprises. At one point I had full body goosebumps from one characters reaction to the sound of a detuned violin. That scene will stick with me for some time.
Sammy goes to a shabby hotel for a bio melt He is trying to improve the cards life had dealt Drinking at a nudist bar Jupiter gets dissipated She escapes rapist pervs naked but pixelated Both want to bond their two skins into one pelt
Bond hotel proprietor must be Toxic Avenger Tromaville ambience and a cheap bio blender On the run Jupiter wants to merge really fast Sammy is cautious not wanting to be miscast Setting up machine they discuss which gender
Nude in the bonding machine they turn to goo A mixture of fat and flesh a good gumbo roux Emerges looks female but discovers her plight Hydra can play for both teams as hermaphrodite At least in the machine they managed to screw
Out in the parking lot is a flood of bonding fluid Hydra rescues Gary some kind of mutant druid Trapped, they rescue others then BANG! a sniper The Wire District mutants and melts can get hyper Toxic waste horror films consider yourself saluted!
Disgusting. Vile. Nasty. Toxic. Stomach churning. Rampaging military-grade sex robots. Clusters of melted half-human murderous monsters. What’s not to love?
People melt together in bonding machines to become compound people with the history and experiences of all their past lives combined in a single body. In a hotel in the middle of a bleak and abandoned industrial district, Sammy melts with Jupiter just as toxic black sludge floods the place and traps them in the hotel with a bunch of strangers. And they’re being hunted by an assassin named PornEyes because of something Jupiter saw. It get weirder from there...
Such an awesome quick read when I had the time. It grabbed me and just guided me through the Wire District with crazy adventure and melting with fun. Sir Mellick III is just plain bad ass and so creative. Love his work and will continue to read!!! So if you desire something different then The Land of Bizzaro Fiction has so much to fill your urge. Plus Carlton is one of theeeeeeee most talented in that field and any period.
This story blew me away. The whole concept of melding with another is a radical idea that I would embrace it we had the technology. For me, the hallmark of a great story is that I'm forever wondering what will happen to the characters next. The ending was super cool and I didn't see it coming! Ten thumbs up!
Magnificent book. The best CM3 book I've read so far. The book is very multilayered. It's a cyberpunk bizarrofiction story that contains a dystopian future, existentialism, evolution, splatter, horror elements and even killer robots. It's rare to see a story with not just so much content but also such rich content. Definitely one of CM3's masterpieces and one the best books I've read.
Whenever you think you've figured out where a story is going, Mellick proves you wrong. That's one of the many reasons why I love his books, the discovery of where the story will go next. You are never bored by conventional plot twists. Bio Melt is one of my favourites so far and I dare say that I found it brilliant. I was totally captivated and got those same warm razor slash feelings in my gut as when I read Quicksand House, another great book of his. There's a reason why Mellick is at the top of the Bizarro genre..... he gets bizarre while providing enough "normal" elements in his worlds to keep you focused. Many Bizarro writers write for shock value alone and create stories so absurd as to be unenjoyable. With my extra pair of mutant arms, I give Bio Melt four thumbs up.
In a time when it is possible to melt with another person and become one being with the strengths and talents of both of you, with most of the character flaws removed, what happens to your chances at a successful life if you do not join with another? In a world this dependent on advanced technology, what could possibly go wrong???
Mellick's imagination makes my brain cramp. Bio Melt is full of punk rock meatiness that you can really sink your radioactive fangs into. No one can make the grotesque seem beautiful and poetic like Carlton Mellick.