Gregor Xane. Oh my goodness, you're like Ruby Tuesday: who could hang a name on you? Every book you write gets consistently stranger, in the best ways possible. How can I explain this book? Is it Bizarro? Is it Genre-Free? Is it of this earth? Here's the gist: a man walks into a Burly Earle Stop & Shop, buys some lottery tickets and wins nearly a trillion dollars (alas, he is one dollar short). Man turns home into an exotically expensive playpen, meets alien at a party and escapes with hot movie star. Havoc, havoc, havoc. Alien returns disguised as man's driver and takes man and starlet on a ride. Helicopter explodes overhead. ET wants to go home, informs man that his expensive dream home has been covertly turned into a spaceship. The craft is well equipped and has a meat farm. Did I mention robots? They're nude, and that ain't all. There's a dwarf with a banana peel over his...private parts. Choose a sleep pod and have many wild dreams. Where are we? And what are those robots shooting out of their...private parts? WHAT IS ON THE SEE-THROUGH LID OF MY SLEEP TANK? We'll get all the answers in a thousand years. Maybe. What a wild, strange trip it's been. Can't wait for the next one!
(FULL DISCLOSURE: Gregor Xane has been a fellow contributor on several anthologies, and has become a friend over the last couple of years. That being said, our friendship was born primarily out of his stellar writing abilities, as his debut short story "It Came From Hell and Smashed the Angels" and novella Six Dead Spots absolutely blew me away and led me to seek him out. This review is my honest opinion, as free from personal bias as possible.)
I've just finished reading TABOOGASM, Gregor Xane's first full-length work since the mind-melting spectacle that was The Hanover Block. I finished reading it yesterday, slept on it, yet still find myself at a loss for words.
TABOOGASM may in fact be a mystical porthole, a voyeuristic excursion into Gregor Xane's dreams.
Much like Xane's The Hanover Block, this book defies description. TABOOGASM is its own thing, a whole new flavor of inXanity™.
If I wanted to orient a mainstream reader, I'd say it lies somewhere in the general vicinity of Douglas Adams and David Wong (John Dies at the End), and it does - but in the same sort of way that Pluto lies in the general vicinity of earth.
The book is unrelentingly imaginative and by turns funny, bizarre, vulgar, and surprisingly action-packed. There's a light feel to the whole proceedings, playfulness laced with a sense of unease generated by a story line that veers so far off the path well-traveled you'll find yourself holding on for dear life as things pick up speed.
One of the hallmarks of a good book is a feeling of disappointment when the final sentence arrives, a longing for the story to continue. I'm eager to follow this adventure along to the next uncharted destination, and I hope this book connects with an audience so that can happen someday. The ending leaves things perfectly poised for a sequel.
If you want to be amused and disturbed in the best possible ways, give this a spin. You'd have to be incapable of joy to not have a good time with this book.
BONUS: The book is full of wonderful illustrations by Mike Tenebrae, which complement the story perfectly.
I know this dude through Goodreads and I keep reading his stuff because he's probably my favorite weird fiction writer I've come across so far. This was equal parts comedy and surreal and I prefer the more surreal stuff but I still had a trippy good time.
I still recommend The Hanover Block first among his work. I'm still in the market for a therapist just to help me with that book.
Taboogasm is unlike anything I have ever read. If you think you know where this book is going after the first few pages, I can guarantee that you'll be wrong. If I were to try to summarize the book, it would sound ludicrous, and yet Xane somehow pulls it all together and makes it work. Entertaining and original, Taboogasm is a wild ride. Buckle up!
A crazy goddamn joy is what this was. I laughed. I grinned like an idiot. I laughed some more. Gregor Xane had a great time here, and when a great author has a great time, well, you know how that one goes.
You don't know?
Well, you should. And you will, if you climb aboard Taboogasm.
A man stumbles into a convenience store for some beer and smokes. As he goes to checkout he decides to get a lottery ticket. He wins a decent amount and plays again, and keeps winning. Sounds like a lucky son of a bitch right? Well, things for Bill just keep getting weirder and weirder as this novella continues. I really want to be vague so as to not give off any of the plot. I will say this, Gregor Xane has a hell of an imagination, and I've really enjoyed reading his work. As long as he keeps churning out these bizarre stories, I'll keep reading them.
I keep going back and forth between rating this 3 or 4 stars. I think I am going to settle on 3 and 1/2 stars. I typically, but not always, “round-up” on star ratings, and I feel this deserves a “round-up”.
This was my first book by Gregor Xane. Months ago, I noticed a goodreads friends rate and review this book. I thought the cover looked interesting, so I decided to add it to my “to-read” pile. I had some Christmas money left over, and it seemed like the perfect time to give a new author a try.
This is an interesting little novella. It's quite perverse and vulgar. I know this is an odd statement, but please don't think I am using the words “perverse” or “vulgar” in a bad way. A little “vulgar” in my reading experience has never harmed a rating as long as the author wasn't solely doing it for “shock value”. Does the “vulgar” happen to make me laugh or smile in the process of reading? If yes, I think that's a testament to the author's good writing. And yes, I chuckled and smiled through this book.
There were only two things that had me struggling with the rating:
1) It seemed odd to me how Bill (the main character) accepted his odd predicament with such ease. Then again, you get the impression that Bill is just that type of guy, and as the reader, you accept the “oddness” right with him. 2) I wasn't happy with the ending. I wanted to know more about this perverse little universe, and I thought the story could have continued.
In summation, I will be interested to read Gregor Xane's other works.
Taboogasm by Gregor Xane Bill is a sad sap. He’s usually drunk and when he’s not drunk, he’s hungover. He’s a wretch, but a very lucky wretch. He keeps winning one lottery after another. In fact, he’s gotten his sorry self banned from a few lotteries for life because he’s so lucky. Just when he thinks his life can’t get any luckier, he stumbles upon a small but determined group of aliens. Yep. This story goes from being an odd comedy to a kind of scifi horror flick. Oh, to hell with it! I’m not sure what genre to shove this book in! The most important thing about this book is that it made me laugh, often inappropriately. That probably says a lot about my personality, but you won’t figure that out unless you read this book. Sometimes I was laughing because the situation was sad and true, so therefore a little funny. Sometimes I was laughing because you just can’t simply read those taboos without laughing, sometimes uncomfortably. Gregor Xane manages to poke fun at a lot of taboos in this book. There’s plenty of dwarf humor, jibes at pregnancy, and also inappropriate use of puppets shaped liked aliens. Yeah, I’ll just let you stew on that. Much of the book takes place in a mansion that is really a spaceship. Bill and Miss Plumpkin are the only two humans in this mansion that’s on a voyage to a far off alien world. Jake, the alien who masterminded this, was the last of a site-seeing group that crashed on Earth a few decades ago. The mansion is staffed with robots who impersonate their human counterparts. Reno is the chief among these, explaining things to the humans and keeping the staff in order. Since Bill is stuck in space for a great length of time, he falls into a ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ episode and becomes even more wretched than he was on Earth. Yet, even here, there is humor. It’s often limp, vulgar, and encrusted in stale vomit, but it’s there. Once our ‘hero’ comes out of this sodden episode, the humor returns with more dwarf jokes and some unexpected comfort bots. There’s no one character that I could consistently root for in this book, but it was a very, very interesting fiction. I’m OK with it lacking a hero and a definite villain as this made the story interesting. I never knew where it was going and I was little sad when it ended. While I did sometimes suffer from crude humor fatigue, I kept coming back to it. Reading this book was like watching several natural disasters, one after the other. Fascinating, scary, and filled with nervous laughter. I read this book through the Kindle Unlimited program. The Illustrations: Mike Tenebrae was responsible for the cover and several illustrations in the book, which are also part of the Kindle ebook edition. Of course, the cover drew me right to this book. I was rooting for the killer whale from the start. However, I feel that Tenebrae’s illustrations within the story are the better ones. They are a bit more detailed and sometimes there are naughty bits. I also appreciate his attention to facial expressions that reflect the book scene he’s captured so well.
This book is something else entirely. Not a bad thing that every new page there is a new crazy turn. But those crazy turns sometimes were too much out there, and at some point I was expecting anything. The writing is good, the book has some very good moments. But in the end was really the story that was maybe too crazy for me. I like craziness a lot, but with this book I found there is a limit for how much I can take.
This was a really fun read but since I will be leading a group read I will hold my full review until after that discussion has concluded. If I hadn't been so exhausted every night I would have finished this in just a week.