Someone out there loves my bizarro Pinocchio riff!
Someone out there loves my bizarro Pinocchio riff!
From the back cover:
When you love someone, sometimes they can mean the whole world to you. Or several worlds.
King Space Void is a planet-eating entity whose consciousness resides in the body of a gargantuan machine made to look like a man and powered by thousands of people. Dane Shipps is one of the best workers of in King Space Void, until the day he finds a mangled woman named Scarlet still alive and intertwined in the machine’s ductwork who convinces him to step outside of his routine. Together they plan to take down King Space Void and everyone inside.
Ok, the back cover description sets the stage nicely. The story takes place inside a ginormous MACHINE GOD slash GALACTUS slash LEVEL 4 CIVILIZATION. Our lead, Dane, is one lousy dude. His known world is crashing down upon him but he is too weak of mind and spirit to act independently and pretty much gets dragged through the book by the much stronger supporting terrorist, Scarlet. She’s tough enough to make up for his shortcomings, and thank the MACHINE GOD because otherwise he’d have been greasy gopher guts by page 20.
Trevino pulls some serious rabbits out his world-building hat in this relatively short bizarro novella. The story keeps the reader in the waiting room for the first act but once the rubber hits the road, what seemed to be a fairly one, maybe two set piece story turns into a highly compressed and successful road trip – and let’s go ahead and all caps that: TRIP. There’s plenty of drug use throughout the book along with all kinds of sex and slurpy whatnot. Trevino ain’t the Neapolitan Ice Cream of erotic scene setters – there’s every damn flavor you could think of and a few you never would. Trevino’s a bit of a sick puppy, much to the reader’s benefit.
Also, there’s some gore and body horror and a fantastic lightning-paced parade of horrific and surreal imagery, from exploding oozy spiders to zombified cyborgs fighting the leash. Trevino runs you through his machine god world with urgency but every image is painstakingly clear and haunting.
A fine addition to the league of New Bizarro Author Series books from Eraserhead Press. I’m already looking forward to the author’s follow up.
The ADHD Vampire by Matthew Vaughn
From the back cover:
A cruise ship for retired sex addicts, The U.S.S. Exciter, is the site of a party a lot of people on board will never forget (but some of them will, anyway). Lurking in the cargo hold is Horace Dracul, half-brother of the legendary Dracula, and he dreams of reaching the shores of a country where the blood flows like wine, and bright, shiny lights are seemingly infinite. However, another member of the Exciter’s well-aged population has some secrets of her own: Martha—retired cyborg and ex-spy.
In the grand tradition of slasher-horror literature in which a lot of people are murdered in gruesome ways, The U.S.S. Exciter will host an orgy of violence and sex toys, and an easily-distracted vampire named Horace might have himself a bloody-good time.
If you are a bit tired of the typical vampire fare – sexy vamps, teenage angst vamps, zombie vamps, Will Smith, etc. – but love the genre, I humbly present this quick and funny read from Matthew Vaughn.
Although filled with the ludicrous story elements that make a bizarro book great: things like geriatric swingers, cyborg grannies, and the books’ titular monster (a vampire with honest-to-goodness ADHD), what impressed me the most about the book was that it was clear that the author had done his research.
If you know your Dracula, if you have read the source material that is so often ignored by those who pen blood-sucker stories, you will be most pleased by the fact that although the book is a lightning fast kill-fest where you meet a character just in time to watch them become lunch, it honors the core material and mythology. I found this to be a pleasant surprise. I wish more authors would take the time to go to the origins of a genre before spitting out some inbred trope nightmare.
As mentioned above, it’s a fast read. Vaughn doesn’t dwell in any scene for long, but for a story such as this, it’s obviously appropriate (yes, that’s an ADHD joke). The narrative moves and never takes a breath. Jokes come in and you’re barely done laughing until the next one hits you. There’s plenty of blood and gore and sexy as you buzzsaw through the story.
I had a great time with this book and I look forward to seeing what Mr. Vaughn does next.
Post an honest review for Pax Titanus on Amazon or Goodreads this weekend and I’ll send you some Pax Titanus bookmarks, Leather to the Corinthians stickers, postcards and some mystery items!!!
Just a couple sentences will do. You don’t need to post a book report.
Comment with the link to your review and I’ll handle the rest. Here’s Pax on Amazon for your convenience.
Oh…tell your friends!!! Free stuff for all!!!
You Might Just Make It Out Of This Alive by Garrett Cook
From the Back Cover:
From the Wonderland Award winning author of Time Pimp and Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective comes a new collection of weird, horrifying, and heartfelt stories.
Re-Mancipator – When zombie Abraham Lincolns start running amuck, John Wilkes Booth, Marilyn Monroe, and other greats from history must save the day!
Dieselpig – The beloved Smiley the Pig is here to save us from the Catholic Church. And he’s brought a shit ton of guns!
Brian’s Girl – A gorgeous woman arrives one day at a man’s door for anonymous sex. It’s not a dream come true- it’s the beginning of a cult that will change the world.
Plus fifteen more strange and beautiful tales.
I finished this book about a week ago and I can’t stop thinking about it. Or it can’t stop thinking about me. I haven’t figured that part out yet.
During a late-night reading session, I experienced a poor man’s Cronenberg body-book symbiosis. This very book pulled itself out of my grip, slowly crawled across my chest and began to push itself inward into my stomach cavity in a brutal act of reverse childbirth or some forcible symbiosis.
It became a part of me. It’s impossible for a book such as this not to. It’s horrific and beautiful, poetic and dangerous, and sexually intense in the way great art always is.
This diverse collection of short stories from Cook is not a light read. It’s so apparent as you work your way through the book (and yes, it’s work – you need to strap that thinking cap on tight, Sally) that he’s a heavyweight with the written word. Each story inspires deep reflection, each page is a subliminal message and every sentence hints at ancient code. This book begs you to unpack it and solve its mysteries.
There is so much more than the story between the covers. There is so much more than what is on the page. Garrett Cook has written with such flourish, passion, and skill that you will suspect that what you are reading and what it actually means are two drastically different things…and by god, one day you will figure it out. Call me when you do. Let’s compare notes.
The book will twist your stomach, your mind and your heart. This might not be a choice for reading on a summer holiday, but if you are looking for something to use for your Master’s Thesis, the dense lyrical colors of Cook’s latest may just be the paint for your palette.
Space Walrus by Kevin L. Donihe
From the back cover:
Space: the final frontier… these are the voyages of… a walrus?
Meet Walter. He is the first walrus in a revolutionary space program. Someday, his blubbery form will float past asteroids, stars, and planets as he journeys through the dark beyond to become a Master of Space. But for now, Walter’s dream is to win the heart of his lifelong love, Dr. Stephanie, who happens to be the scientist assigned to conduct experiments on him. The problem is Dr. Stephanie does not love Walter. She views him as a test subject and nothing more. To make matters worse, Dr. Stephanie appears to be in love with the abusive head scientist, Dr. Ron.
From Wonderland Book Award winner Kevin L. Donihe comes a tragic comedy of unrequited love and inspired determination.
Walter is a TALKING WALRUS and he’s going to make you cry.
You say, “No way dude, last time I cried was when MY FAVORITE SPORTS TEAM/CELEBRITY/FAMILY MEMBER did something remarkable. I don’t cry, man.”
I hand you Space Walrus and you go off and read it. You come back weeping.
“GODDAMN that Kevin L. Donihe. He tore my heart out and threw it into the middle of the street,” you pine.
I nod and offer a platonic, non-threatening half-hug that shows you that I care but that I am not some kind of sleazebag looking for a quick grope.
You ask, “Does he really make everyone call him by his full name? The ‘L’ and all that? Seems awfully pretentious for a guy who wrote a book about a walrus on a space station who suffers from unrequited love and daydreams about flying through the universe.”
I nod again and reassure you that he doesn’t make anyone use his middle initial, but if he did, I’m sure it’s only because it’s L for LOVE.
After some sniffles, you start thinking of all the people you could recommend this book to…because it is that good.
Kevin L. Donihe’s Space Walrus is a book that zigs when you expect it to zag; it’s got more heart on every page that some books have between covers.
From the Back Cover:
The destruction of the old city must be prevented. John feeds the machine nightly. The devil in the fridge watches. Nobody wants to be a man-in-a-can anymore. Take in a show at Jeremy’s. Get your head checked at Fred’s. Ride the rails until the tracks are set ablaze by firefighters who fight fires with fire. Tuesday’s coming. Did you remember to bring your coat?
From Brian Auspice comes a down-the-rabbit-hole adventure into the depths of the human condition.
You are walking down an unfamiliar street. People push past you, a dense mob of angry faces, stiff arms, and muttering voices. It feels dangerous but it offers no thrill. Every ounce of you wants to just run back home. Run back to what you know. To where it is safe.
But you can’t.
Because of that picture.
You happened upon it one day. A peculiar painting. It intrigued you. Then you read the words, just a few simple sentences, but their meaning eluded you.
It was a definitely coded message. This much you were certain. You knew that until you could decipher it, there would be no rest.
That picture and those cryptic words led you here. You stand at the end of an alley, a narrow mildew-coated murder channel. Your gut twists. Hope dies in halls such as these. Amongst the debris and detritus, you spot a faceless man, his back pressed the back wall. He beckons. Bravely, perhaps stupidly, you ignore the scent of wither and woe and push forward. For you must know the answer.
Curiously, he pulls a chair out from the shadows and gestures for you to sit. You obey. He hands you a straw and a mirror. A line of fine powder sits upon it, expectant and eager.
You wave your hand. Not for you. Emphatically, he points back down to it and your eyes follow. You watch the granules. They begin a dance, pushing to and fro, zigzagging across the length of the mirror. They take a shape – is it a caterpillar? A slug? A simple worm? Whatever it is, it is looking at you.
Then the scream. A most terrible scream!
The scream is yours for you have chosen suck in this devil dune of exotic dust.
Your head snaps back. Your chest tightens. A terrible ringing fills your ears. Sweat explodes from every pore. You feel as if you are going to die.
You are most definitely going to die.
Your hands clench your thighs. Your nails dig deep, their purchase met with a slow, warm trickle of blood. Your stomach cramps and you curl forward, as a maddening parade of tiny men sealed in cans sing to you. Mono-color flashes blind you, viciously betraying you with every hue of color. Faces fold and slide through newly formed fissures in the brick.
You can hear your bones crack. A symphony of fractures. Glorious! Then, a choir of laughter. The rise and fall of a cackle. The huff of a guffaw. And lastly, a snicker.
Are you laughing? Are these voices your own?
The abyss calls and you answer. A change of scene occurs…
You wake in your bed.
In your room.
In the house that you know.
All is well.
You cracked the code.
You solved the riddle.
You now know a secret.
You have just read Deep Blue.
I give this book a rating of: Five Twisted Little People in Funny Hats.