- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 619 KB
- Print Length: 236 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Anarchy Books (4 Aug. 2011)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005G5VGXE
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #469,461 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Monstrocity Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
An unassuming young man perceives the city's dark tentacles in the lay of the streets, its roots in the labyrinth of subways, a polluted taint in the eyes of people around him. And this evil is building toward an apocalyptic culmination...
The city is not only haunted... maybe it's alive...
Punktown is a vast sprawling alien metropolis that is home to many different species, including humans. Christopher Ruby is a lowly customer support analyst for a network service provider. His life is meandering along, and he is at a bit of a loose end until he meets the exotic, gothic Gabrielle.
Gabrielle is naturally inquisitive and has a passing interest in the occult. She attempts some incantations and finds herself fundamentally changed by her exposure to forces that she doesn't really understand. This experience creates a wedge between her and Chris and their relationship suffers as a result. Gabrielle is changed significantly; she is no longer the woman that Chris fell in love with. Their relationship deteriorates even further and this leads to a life changing confrontation for them both.
Monstrocity has some interesting ideas going on in amongst its pages. For example, the notion of bringing together the differing religious ideologies of the multiple races found in Punktown and highlighting their commonality. This adds extra layers to the plot that I wasn't expecting. These shared elements hint at a much larger story that has yet to be seen. The pace of the novel really picks up in the final chapters as Chris finally comes face to face with the forces that are controlling the city. The final pages certainly suggest that there is more to tell.Read more ›
Have you ever played the Call of Cthulhu Role-playing game? If so reading this book will make you want to convince one of your mates to run a campaign set in the future, or at least the present. It has that great Cthulhu feel of being creepy and weird without actually showing you any tentacles for the most part. Sci-fi Cthulhu is a genius idea and there needs to be more of it. Now please.
I don't want to get too carried away as this book is not perfect. In some places it felt like it was trying to be a mainly earth colony, yet the next it was filled with lots of alien cultures, and then it would flip again. The world could have been a little better formed. I am a big fan of everything going to pot, and the main protagonist going at least slightly mad. As this is almost a given in any Cthulhu setting I was glad to see it done well in this story.
The story starts with a normal bloke and his slightly experimental goth girlfriend placing candles around a room and saying a spell from a book she got hold of. Oh the book belonged to her friend who was found decapitated. It all goes downhill from there and just when you think the climax is past and things are just being tidied up it gets even worse.
The biggest surprise for me in this novel is that there was not a follow-up. It is crying out for more battles between the Outsiders and the Elder Gods.Read more ›
My only stupid nitpick is the use of disks to store and share information in this futuristic space-colonising society - solid-state and cloud storage, surely? And Monstrocity was first published in 2003, I think.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The first-person protagonist, Christopher Ruby, starts his story by telling us of his new girlfriend Gabrielle, a fun goth-type girl with an open window in her chest to show off the tattoo on her living heart. Gaby has somehow gotten a hold of a copy of a recording from the ancient book The Necronomicon. Gabrielle and Christopher play with the recording, but Gaby's heartlight-tatoo goes out and she estranges herself from Christopher.
Christopher soon finds out how much Gaby has changed, and in tracking down the reasons for Gaby's behavior becomes acquainted with a bookseller named Mr. Dove, who puts him on the path of a horrifying discovery. In his research, Chris meets a beautiful and non-traditional Kalian girl named Saleet, who also happens to be a "Forcer", a type of police inspector. The more Chris uncovers about Gaby's deadly and fatal obsession, the more he realizes that Punktown holds secrets deeper than time itself, secrets of downfallen Gods and the occult.
Jeffrey Thomas's 'Punktown' is one of my all-time favorite fantasy worlds. This world plays a huge part in Thomas's works including 'Punktown' (get the newer, extended version!) and 'Everybody Scream'. I simply cannot get enough of it. Punktown breathes with its own life, steams with its own scent, and pulses with a thousand heartbeats.
Thomas's prose is precise and naturally flowing, managing to hook you from the first page and pull you into Punktown without the slightest whimper of regret. Even his non-Punktown works like 'Boneland' are rich with natural dialogue, fully-fleshed and interesting characters, and worlds built so visually accurate from a written page that you believe in them as much as you believe in the moon over your head at night.
I cannot seem to get enough of this talented author, and I hope that you enjoy his tales as much as I do. Definitely worth a purchase, and worth looking up his other works. Enjoy!
For those readers unfamiliar with the Punktown universe, Jeffrey Thomas has made his own unique contribution to urban-punk world-building, reminiscent of writers like Samuel Delaney, William Gibson and China Mieville, but with a liberal dose of H.P. Lovecraft worked in for good measure. The center of Thomas' universe is the sprawling metropolis of Paxton - called Punktown by its inhabitants - a city on the colonized world of Oasis where humans now live with other alien races, from the native Chooms to those of other-world origins like the Tikkihotto, the Kalians and others.
A recurring theme in Thomas' work is that actions, whatever their intent, often have unforseen consequences, sometimes of an order of magnitude far beyond what the actors could even have imagined. In Monstrocity, events are set into motion when Christopher Ruby, an ordinary guy who spends his days working as a customer service rep for a net-link provider, indulgingly goes along with his goth-ish girlfriend Gabrielle's attempt to invoke an occult summoning ritual in her apartment. At first nothing seems to happen, but as days pass Ruby discovers that something did in fact happen, that something did come across, something that is consuming Gabrielle and threatens to ultimately consume all of Punktown along with her. In the course of trying to find out just what has happened to Gabrielle and what is behind the strange things he keeps seeing, Ruby ends up meeting a number of unusual characters, from Saleet, a highly attractive but no-nonsense Kalian woman who turns out to be a "forcer" (cop), to Mr. Dove, a strange (even by Punktown standards) dealer in rare occult works where the price one pays is rarely limited to what was agreed on. Ruby must play a deadly cat-and-mouse game with both, needing information from Saleet while concealing from her what he needs it for, and trying to pry the truth from Mr. Dove with the knowledge that the closer he gets to it, the less likely he is to survive the knowledge.
And as in all of the stories set in this universe, the presence of Punktown itself is felt as strongly as that of any of the characters inhabiting it:
"But more than that, I wanted my old Gaby back.
--If she had parents I might appeal to them, but one time as we lay in bed she had told me that her mother had simply disappeared one day when Gabrielle was thirteen. Her father thought she'd been kidnaped and murdered. Gabrielle thought she might have run off with some other man. But Gabrielle told me that deceased friend Maria's theory had been that mom had become lost in the city somewhere, and couldn't find her way back to familliar streets. Trapped forever in the maze. It was ridiculous, of course. She could simply phone home. Stop a forcer to ask for assistance. Ask for directions. But Maria had insisted it happened; people vanished, seemingly into another city superimposed with this city, and couldn't cross back again, couldn't even communicate again with that former place. It sounded like more spiritual bunk to me. Or at least, like she was referring to an alternate dimension, instead of a literal labyrinth within the solid, material city itself.
--Her father had thrown himself off the top of a seventy story building when Gabrielle was sixteen. He'd become alcoholic. For three years he'd sat up alone at night at the kitchen table, muttering to himself, weeping. He missed his wife, whether victim or betrayer. So he'd flung himself into the canyon of the city -- flesh and anguish reduced to an anonymous blot like news ink - like a sacrifice tossed to a volcano god."
One of Thomas' strengths is the level of creative detail he works into his stories, particularly visual images that stick in the mind and add to the unique fabric of the Punktown world, like in this description of his girlfriend where he takes 'goth' to another level:
"Gaby glowed in the dimness of the store, behind the counter as a pale luminescence. Her pallor was contrasted by her black hair -- long, straight, parted in the center -- and black garments. These consisted of shiny black gloves that ended half-way up her sensuous plump arms, a low cut dress with thin shoulder straps, and when I got close to the counter with my purchase I saw the skirt was short, and that she wore black nylons that ended at mid-thigh. Big ugly black boots. Her lips were heavy and purple. Her eyes were dark and narrow. Her figure was lush, full as an overripe fruit ready to spoil. She looked like she should be sprawled nude and languid on a divan for a painter of old. Up close, I saw what the low front of her black dress revealed: between plush breasts she had had her chest opened up, and a clear circular window gave one a view of her pulsing heart. This organ, like an animal viewed in an aquarium, had been embroidered with red neon-glowing thread which spelled out: MOM. Gaby had been very close with her mother. When you looked at Gaby upside-down, like when she lay sprawled on our bed naked and languid as if she posed for me, the tattoo on her her heart read: WOW."
In truth, I find it hard to rate Monstrocity on its own merits because I had read both Deadstock and Blue War before reading it, and as one would expect from a first novel, it is not quite as polished as those two later ones (both of which I rated five stars and highly recommend). That said, however, I did have a problem with the way the novel ends: it reaches an ending for the story you're reading, then unexpectedly picks up with what might ordinarily have been an epilogue, and then ends yet again, with the second ending feeling somewhat tacked on. For those reasons, I would probably rate Monstrocity three and a half stars if it were possible. Since it isn't, I'm going to give it the benefit of the doubt and rate it four, mainly because I want to encourage people unfamiliar with the Punktown universe to discover it. Also, it's worth noting that Monstrocity was nominated for the prestigious Stoker award for Best First Novel, a rare honor for any author.
My only qualifier is that if you read Monstrocity, be sure to continue on and read both Deadstock and Blue War. If you like what you find in Monstrocity at all, then you'll absolutely love his later work. Definitely recommended for anyone who enjoys urban-punk and anyone would like to experience a really good working of Lovecraft's mythos into a sci-fi noirish setting.
I suppose I only gave this a 4 because it's a bit slow in the beginning and has a very abrupt ending. This book is definitely for adults only though.
Monstrocity follows an office drone, Christopher Ruby, and his relationship with a voluptuous goth girl named Gabrielle. Gabrielle has a cybernetic see-through panel on her chest with a view to her tattooed heart. Their steamy, intense relationship relationship sums up Thomas' skill in mixing the mundane with the erotic, the present day doldrums of life with the staccato of a future assaulted by technology.
The action begins immediately with a shotgun blast to a deep one hybrid, Mr. Dove. Mr. Dove's deep one roots are never explained - Thomas is much too clever to spell it all out for us - and part of the thrill of reading his works is how he interweaves the Cthulhu Mythos without connecting the dots. Mr. Dove's motivations and the reasons for Gabrielle's later transformation are left to the reader's imagination.
Thomas is a superb author, casually describing the horror of a skinned cat and the disgusting slime of a burst sewer main in one paragraph. He deftly combines body horror with a sense of isolation, creating a stream-of-thought narrative of paranoia and dread. If Punktown occasionally seems like it's made up of a hodgepodge of science fiction ideas, it's Thomas' writing that convinces the reader to forgive his eccentricities.
There are some issues with Monstrocity, however. I still have difficulty taking science fiction seriously when hovercars and rogue robots are involved. At one point, the Mi-Go make an appearance alongside traditional post-apocalyptic mutants. Reading about the two side-by-side is uneven at best - sort of like a shoggoth in the Star Wars cantina.
The other problem is that the book flash-forwards in an unconvincing manner, transitioning Ruby from office drone to vigilante to office drone again. A series of unlikely coincidences lead us back into the action with an ending that, while sweet, doesn't stay true to the noir-ish spiral hinted at in the beginning of the book.
But those are minor quibbles. The flash-forward, while a bit out of step with the rest of the book's pacing, is a relief from Ruby's relentless paranoia. The ending, while unexpected, is certainly satisfying. It's Thomas' writing that makes the difference and why I'm tracking down every Punktown book I can find.
"Monstrocity" is the perfect blend of horror and science fiction, with a little bit of mystery thrown in to further the delicious stew of combined genres. It reads like a novelization of the film "Taxi Driver" if the viewer were watching the movie under the influence of peyote and occult forces.
The main protagonist Christopher Ruby lives in Jeffrey Thomas' "Punktown" universe, a dystopian science fiction setting full of diverse races of aliens. Although Punktown is known for its high crime rates, and the low value its society assigns to sentient life. Christopher Ruby still finds good people in its populace and is forced into taking action to protect them when he learns of a conspiracy to resurrect an ancient evil through the use of powerful occult books. One of the most exciting parts for me is about halfway through the book when Christopher is forced to murder a man in an attempt to prevent something from disastrous from happening. During the whole chapter as he is plotting the murder he keeps reassuring himself that he is a good man. To me this really shows the true quality of Christopher as a worthy protagonist.
"Monstrocity" is not just a book about murder and cosmic mayhem though, there is romance. Christopher encounters a few women through out the course of the novel, but his main love interest is Saleet a police officer who is of the Kalian alien race. This sort of interracial romance is very standard to the essence of Jeffrey Thomas' books, and it shows a flair for xenophiliac erotica. It also shows a willingness of Christopher to see the essential "humanity" in all of the exotic denizens of Punktown. Saleet does not just read like a literary blow-up doll, a prize to be conquered by the protagonist, she is her own interesting character with her own traits and growth that feel very natural. Often times when male authors write about female characters they have a hard time creating believable women, but Saleet seems to walk off of the page. This further shows the great amount of empathy and care that Mr. Thomas has put into all of his characters.
The setting of Punktown is an impressive and diverse one, the locales that are explored through out the course of the book take the reader through many exotic locations. Jeffrey Thomas always writes the most evocative and descriptive paragraphs describing the surroundings of his characters, indeed the settings seem like characters themselves. Punktown is a sprawling city filled with a mix of incredible technology and architecture. Everything seems to be worn away by entropy even though much of what exists there is relatively new. As a metal worker I always get a kick out of the scenes that involve metal architecture and water systems in Punktown stories. The descriptions of giant, riveted beams, and titanic pipe work overhead give me great pleasure.
All of the elements of the book combine together to form a very interesting tale with a flavor of its own despite the Lovecraftian
The monsters (which there are plenty of) have their own distinct feel, and are very terrifying in contrast to the regular humans and humanoid aliens. Jeffrey Thomas' cosmic horror mixed with a blend of the ideas of cosmic design are very interesting. And the overall philosophy of patterns within patterns that dictates the nature of the universe is complete, and satisfying. Christopher Ruby's enlightenment and conversion as an agent of good becomes complete when he learns that everything is part of an incomprehensible design, and although he can see the patterns in the design and he cannot understand its ultimate goal. There are many moments of fatalistic contemplation throughout the narrative of "Monstrocity", but the enhance the plot as opposed to slowing it down.
All of the characters grow and change, the romance in the book feels organic and believable, the plot is tightly paced, and Punktown is a flavorful setting that is bound to become a monument in the modern geek lexicon.
I would highly recommend "Monstrocity" to anyone who enjoys horror stories, science fiction, or anyone looking for a change of pace from the norm. I would recommend this book to pretty much anybody, well anybody who doesn't have nightmares or a weak stomach.
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