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Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat
 
 

Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat [Kindle Edition]

Andrez Bergen
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Cut to Melbourne, Australia–the most glamorous city in the world. It also happens to be the only one left standing, but nevermind that, we’re there now and I’d like you to meet your narrator, a certain Floyd Maquina, a likable chap with one hell of a story to share. See, the powers that be are knuckling down on the Deviant menace that plagues the city, and our boy Floyd’s unknowingly got himself in the thick of it. Cue guns, intrigue, kidnappings, conspiracy and all sorts of general mayhem that make for cracking good headlines.

Does Floyd stop the bad guys? Does he get the girl? Does he make Humphrey Bogart proud? Grab some popcorn and read on.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 854 KB
  • Print Length: 234 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Another Sky Press (1 April 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005XDPYHS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #383,337 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Andrez Bergen is an expat Australian writer, journalist, DJ, photographer and ad hoc beer and saké connoisseur who's been entrenched in Tokyo, Japan, for the past 11 years.

He published noir/sci-fi novel 'Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat' in 2011 and the surreal fantasy 'One Hundred Years of Vicissitude' through Perfect Edge Books in 2012.

He's currently working on #3, titled 'Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?'

Bergen has published short stories through Crime Factory, Shotgun Honey, Snubnose Press, 'Pulp Ink 2', Another Sky Press and Solarcide, and worked on translating and adapting the scripts for feature films by Mamoru Oshii, Kazuchika Kise and Naoyoshi Shiotani.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Future Ain't So Bright 10 July 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
As far as post-apocalyptic books go, I'm that reader who loved Stephen King's The Stand and the Dark Tower series. But for some weird reason, I haven't tracked down many more books that can be considered an end-of-the-world story. Maybe as I get older, that concept is a hell of a lot scarier to me? Whatever the case, I'm glad I broke out of that slump and gave Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat a chance to shine. Because that's what it does. Through all the acid rain, poverty and injustice of Bergen's imagined future Melbourne, this story manages to dazzle.

The book made me feel out of two eras, not just one. Floyd (the protagonist) has a strange obsession with the old Bogart movies based on Chandler and Hammett novels and many more of the black and white 'classics', and although I'm not as schooled in that era of cinema as I'd like to be, I was led expertly through the references through context and gentle hinting. And when I got really lost? Well, there was that handy 'DVD extras' type of content at the back of the book, ready and set to help out.

Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat offers us the good, bad and ugly in humanity projected to its most dire hour and convinces us that the villains can't win every time.

Buy it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Future Is Tobacco Stained Noir. 1 Jun 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've seen The Future and and it's ... Noir. Tobacco- stained noir at that.

Andrez Bergen's brilliant Tobacco-StainedMountain Goat is set in a Dystopian version of Melbourne, in a not too
distant future, after some sort of catastrophe has wiped out the rest of the world.

The city itself is split into different parts. The uptown area is known as The Dome, a squeaky clean and shining consumerist paradise where the plastic surgery enhanced and empty headed rich live.

Outside the Dome, though, it's a little different. These are dangerous and mean streets, riddled with run down bars, fast food joints.

And Deviants.

Now, most Deviants are 'relocated' elsewhere, keeping the city straight, but some go on the run and it's the job of
the Seekers to track them down.

Floyd Maquina is such a Seeker, enrolled so he can afford to
pay for his wife's hospital bills. Maquina is a great creation - a boozy, chain-smoking,smart mouthed amalgam of every Private Eye you've ever seen n the silver screen.

Since the late part of the twentieth century, so many of us have seen the real world filtered through the television or film cameraman's lens.

And Floyd Maquina is just one of those people.

As is Bergen, of course. T obbacco-StainedMountain Goat is littered, almost cluttered, with cultural references from
Sam Spade to Kurosowa to Cabaret Voltaire to, more obviously, Blade Runner. And is in danger at times of drowning in the stuff but it doesn't, due mainly to the great characters and Andrez Bergen's witty, snappy and immensely
addictive writing.

With Tobacco-StainedMountain Goat , Bergen has created one of the most vibrant, inventive, exciting, funny
and purely enjoyable novels I've read since I don't know when. There's no other way to say it: I loved this book and I want more!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Detective-Noir Story Meets Post-Apocolyptic Hell 31 Mar 2012
By The Kindle Book Review TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. Wow. At the beginning, I was having a bit of trouble trying to orient myself with this nasty, rainy, harsh environment. But then, the story came more into focus, and the characters started coming alive. Jumping from real world to the virtual tests confused me a little bit, but as they seemed to really screw with the poor Seekers taking them, too, I just kinda rolled with it.

I really felt for Floyd in spite of his drunken existance. I hurt for him, I was angry for him, I was right along with him as he started to reach out for loved ones as they started slipping away, family and friends alike. I am fairly young and didn't find myself struggling to figure out the film references (but maybe I'm just a nerd, who knows?) and enjoyed the mixture of languages (which I also didn't need the reference guides for, but appreciated that they were there). The guides at the end were fun for me to read, because I felt Mr. Bergen was conscientious about his readers and wanted his story to be accessible to people of many cultures. I also liked that although the story was set in Australia, Australians weren't the only culture left on the planet.

Floyd is admirably tough and lovable, which takes some strength in a world where people get snatched away for no good reasons thanks to corporate greed and politics. He manages to pull himself from a helpless position in his world to a position of power to try and save people he cares about as well as society in general... at least, whatever's left of it, soggy with acid rain and scarred by stuggling to grow in a dying world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A mad carzy world! 4 Feb 2012
By McDroll
Format:Kindle Edition
Have you ever read a book that you've been really looking forward to but after you're a few pages in you just know that it isn't for you? Read on, I've got more to say!

Andrez Bergen's Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat is amazing, outstanding, clever, entertaining, (oh heck! how I wish I could write like this...) and the book that I almost gave up on.

We've all experienced one of those guys in the pub who is a total film buff or music geek and once he's got you in his gaze doesn't stop telling you about rare 1972 picture disc imports by Pink Floyd until you have literally collapsed in a heap under the table. You know how painful that is, right?

I had that feeling of dread when I started reading this amazing (yes it is wonderful) book. How wrong was I? Yes, it is littered with references to so many aspects of 20th century culture that if you were to pile them all up and take them to the recycling depot you would need an articulated lorry, but as the story starts to kick in and you begin to get a handle on what's going on in this post-apocalypse world inside some huge plastic dome in Melbourne (trust me, it works) you will get totally hooked on this Orwellian Brave New World where the rich are protected from every hardship and the rest struggle to get by amid acid rain and polluted food supplies.

Once I had connected to the Dr Who / Star Trek part of my brain, everything fell into place. Floyd, the protagonist, could easily be David Tennant trying to evade the Cybermen as he tries to find out why society has become so corrupt and ultimately saves the planet yet again mashed up with trials on the holodeck on the Starship Enterprise.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent noir Dick-esque tale 1 Feb 2012
By Christopher Knight - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
So I've been reading the collected works of Philip K. Dick in chronological order, just finished Flow My Tears...so much more to go!

I happened to pick this book off my shelf because I love Scott C.'s artwork and thought "what the heck, time for a little reading on the side while I wait for Confessions of a Crap Artist to arrive by USPS". I have to say, I am amazed at how well this fits the Dick style of surreal reality mind-screw with the amazing character development and deep philosophical questions.

Only quibble are the cultural references (movie/tv/etc) that feel a little like stumbling blocks as I reach the midpoint of the book.

FYI you can get the epub book for free (love the business model!) but I bought the paperback because I am happy to support the author and publisher and because, of course, I wanted a nice copy of Scott C.'s wonderful cover artwork.

If you're a fan of PkD, definitely pick this book up. I am betting you will find it as enjoyable and relatable as I do!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Detective-Noir Story meets Post-Apocolyptic Hell. 22 Jan 2012
By The Kindle Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. Wow. At the beginning, I was having a bit of trouble trying to orient myself with this nasty, rainy, harsh environment. But then, the story came more into focus, and the characters started coming alive. Jumping from real world to the virtual tests confused me a little bit, but as they seemed to really screw with the poor Seekers taking them, too, I just kinda rolled with it.

I really felt for Floyd in spite of his drunken existance. I hurt for him, I was angry for him, I was right along with him as he started to reach out for loved ones as they started slipping away, family and friends alike. I am fairly young and didn't find myself struggling to figure out the film references (but maybe I'm just a nerd, who knows?) and enjoyed the mixture of languages (which I also didn't need the reference guides for, but appreciated that they were there). The guides at the end were fun for me to read, because I felt Mr. Bergen was conscientious about his readers and wanted his story to be accessible to people of many cultures. I also liked that although the story was set in Australia, Australians weren't the only culture left on the planet.

Floyd is admirably tough and lovable, which takes some strength in a world where people get snatched away for no good reasons thanks to corporate greed and politics. He manages to pull himself from a helpless position in his world to a position of power to try and save people he cares about as well as society in general... at least, whatever's left of it, soggy with acid rain and scarred by stuggling to grow in a dying world. What's scary, though, is that aside from just a little bit of futuristic cosmetic surgery and a few other things, you could look around at the current global climate and see this mess be a real possibility.

That gives me just enough of a spine-chill to hope certain company executives never read this tale, and that humanity hasn't been consumerized into (near) extinction just yet.

--Katherine X, Kindle Book Review.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The girl, the goat, and other things 2 Dec 2013
By Scychry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic Melbourne Australia. But that's just the setting. The story isn't really about what life is like there (though there's plenty of that in the book). It's about some personal stuff the main character has to deal with. And deal with it he eventually does. Bergen develops this very well. It may seem a little slow in the beginning but there is enough to hold your interest. The story gets better and better all the time, has a wonderful climax, and maybe even a better ending.

Bergen has a writing style that you may either love or hate. For me I had to get used to him and then he started to grow on me. That happened when I read 100 Years of Vicissitude (read that one before I read TSMG). He first sounded like he was parodying the old clichéd detective stories narration. But the more I read him the more I thought he was just influenced by that stuff. Then I eventually got to like his style. He does credit Dashiell Hammett and others as influences. Anyway, if you're put off by his style you may want to hang in there because, by the end, you may be glad you stayed with it!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creative, engaging, and wonderfully unique 15 Dec 2011
By Elizabeth A. White - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Andrez Bergen's Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat (TSMG) is set in a post-apocalyptic Melbourne, Australia at an unspecified point in the future where the fortunate ones live an opulent life secure under the high tech Dome which encases the city. The less fortunate live a harsh existence in rundown areas on the outskirts of the Dome in a world where the sun seldom shines and acid rain seems to fall endlessly.

Our narrator, Floyd Maquina, is a Seeker. Employed by the government to hunt down so-called Deviants for what is euphemistically called "hospitalization," Floyd has the authority to terminate those who won't come along peacefully. It's something he's only had to do once, but that encounter weighs heavily on his mind, driving him to seek comfort in drugs, alcohol, and classic Hollywood films.

Indeed, Floyd peppers his narrative with copious references to films like The Maltese Falcon, The Third Man, The Big Sleep, and Brazil amongst others, and throws enough hardboiled slang around that a Tobacco-Stained Glossary and Encyclopedia Tobacciana are included as appendices.

With one foot planted firmly in a futuristic world where Seekers routinely undergo Matrix-like virtual reality "tests" to ensure they are still in the fold and capable of carrying out company orders, TSMG manages to simultaneously have its other foot rooted in an authentic, throwback, hardboiled detective vibe. And it is in that fuzzy blending of post-apocalyptic and old-school noir that TSMG carves out what is one of the most wonderfully unique books I've had the pleasure to read.

Along the way author Andrez Bergen works in clever jabs and astute commentary on everything from reality shows (Floyd finds himself an unwitting TV star when thrust front and center in a Dog the Bounty Hunter type show) to media manipulation by corporations and the government (that "reality" show being a carefully scripted and edited attempt to control public opinion about Deviants) to our obsession with cosmetic perfection (people in TSMG routinely get surgical enhancement, including photosynthetic technology which allows them to swap out lip, eye, skin and hair color with thousands of available shades), while the conflict between the Deviants and the citizens inside the Dome serves as a rather timely exploration of the social upheaval that results when the economic gulf between classes becomes a seemingly unbridgeable chasm.

TSMG is not for everyone, there's no way around that. Some will find the film references too frequent and, if you're not familiar with the movies, potentially confusing. But if you're willing to roll with them - or to put the handy Encyclopedia Tobacciana to good use - I think you'll find they actually add a verisimilitude to Floyd's character, going a long way toward explaining how he copes and makes his way through a world he often finds as foreign as the reader does.

In any event, I can say without qualification that not only is Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat one of my Top 5 reads of 2011, it is one of the most creative and engaging books I've ever read. Period.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Deus ex Maquina: The Goats of War 11 Jun 2014
By Robert Beveridge - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Andrez Bergen, Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat (Another Sky Press, 2011)

Full disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher (long enough ago that I'm embarrassed to admit it).

Review tagline: Deus ex Maquina: The Goats of War

The biggest drawback to Andrez Bergen's sci-fi-noir mystery Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat is that it relies on one of the mystery genre's most annoying artificial constructs: the repressed memory. Whenever I see repressed memory pop up as a plotline without some sort of external agent to facilitate memory loss (a fancy way of saying “you drugged your character, beat him about the head, or both”), it is always, and nakedly, a device that is used for the sole purpose of keeping the reader in the dark about a crucial piece of the plot. That might not be an awful thing were “repressed memory syndrome” an actual disease rather than something that got made up by opportunists during the Satanic Panic scare of the seventies and eighties (“repressed memory syndrome” was the main mechanism behind the bogus accusations against the McMartin workers and their families). It is not a real condition, but it has caused real harm. Please, authors, stop using it.

Which is bad, because after a rocky first twenty pages or so, Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat found its voice and kind of soared. It's noir, so there's nothing in here that's terribly unpredictable if you've read enough pulp noir or seen enough forties and fifties thrillers to have a basic grasp of noir plot structure, but it's not really about the destination, is it?

Scott Campbell's wonderful cover art does not prepare you for the trip that you are about to take. Looking at the book's cover, you might get the idea that Floyd Maquina is an urbane, cultured, cloven-hoofed sort of chap who sips martinis and, James Bond-like, solves mysteries in his spare time. Instead, Floyd is a member of Seeker Branch, the government-controlled covert operations branch where, it would seem, the old world's washed-up PIs ended up. Not that Floyd started out as a washed-up PI. He had a good, reasonable life, and he used to do something productive. (We are never told what, but I got the idea he was some sort of nameless, faceless office drone.) But then his wife Veronica got sick. In the hyper-Darwinian world of post-apocalyptic Melbourne, the last city on a blasted Earth that has suffered some sort of horrible ecological disaster that has turned the rain into acid and the dirt into a wasteland, getting sick classes you as a Deviant, and you get Relocated to a Hospital (all terms with initial caps in the book), where another branch of the government “treats” you. Veronica got sick three years ago. Floyd visited her in the Hospital a few times and got to see government “treatment” firsthand. How effective is it? He stopped going to see his wife.

Enter Seeker Branch. Hospital bills are expensive, so the government offered Floyd a job as a Seeker, with a fat salary that would cover those bills and leave him a little at the end of the month. What else could he do? The irony of the situation is that Seekers exist in order to track, ferret out, and turn in (or kill, if the need arises) Deviants. Thus, Floyd has turned into an alcoholic wreck who can't stand his job and refuses to watch his wife die slowly. His only friends are fellow outcasts—Nina “Laurel” Canyon, a fellow Seeker who never takes off her elbow-length gloves; Colman, a former University professor who has turned to dealing drugs for a living; Anthony, the opposition leader of one of Australia's last two cricket clubs, whose matches are as real as professional wrestling. As we open, Floyd is on an Activities (the term Seeker Branch uses for Deviant tracking and apprehension). Or is he? No, turns out it's a nightmare, the same one he's been having for weeks, about an Activities that he knows went horribly wrong, but about which he remembers nothing. Seeker Branch's version of employee counseling is the Test, a virtual-reality world they drug you and throw you into for such wide-ranging activities as counseling, on-the-job training, interviews, you name it. Floyd's taskmasters, we soon find out, are cruel indeed—more so than the usual government cutouts that populate novels like this. So what's the big question I put at the end of every synopsis? I'm not sure you can ask just one. (The jacket copy gives you a veritable smorgasbord.) What happened on that Activities? Can Floyd, who is still in the process of losing the love of his life to a terminal illness and an even more terminal medical system, find love with Laurel? What the hell is up with that title? (Floyd has a thing for old movies, and we find out eventually that it's a quote from an old comedy he is especially fond of.) Do the Cricketing Police really exist? Can plastic really replace real teeth? Will Floyd drink himself to death before he gets fired? Is Ben Wheatley going to direct the film adaptation of this? (Because that would be rad.)

If you can get past the repressed-memory thing, there's a great deal to enjoy here. This probably goes double if you're a movie buff, because Floyd frames everything in terms of old movies. (And wait till you get to the last page. I actually laughed out loud.) I wouldn't exactly call Floyd stereotypical, he's too much of a real person for that, but there is definitely an archetype thing going on there. Everyone around him, though, is Bergen playing with those archetypes and doing as much as he can to pervert them. This has the (possibly intended) side effect of heightening Floyd's everyman status. That may grate on some readers. It didn't on me; as much as Floyd is kind of unlikable, it endeared me to him a great deal. Be aware that, as always, YMMV. The pace is pretty straight noir; Bergen pauses now and again for some worldbuilding, and as I have mentioned the opener is a bit rocky (I think I had to get used to the way the book handles dreams), but otherwise things move along at a good clip, with new bits of plot unveiled fairly regularly. I wanted to go into some of those above, but it seemed like we'd be getting into spoiler territory there. Also on the upside: it's obvious that Bergen has a lot to say about government-run healthcare, environmental issues, the role of the multinational corporation, etc. (it would be a bit cheeky of me to speculate there's at least one jab at Land of the Dead in this book as well, but if the shoe fits...), but Bergen is the best writer I have come across in recent memory at not letting any of that stuff get in the way of a good story. He trusts his readers enough to get it, which so many author's don't. And that almost makes up for the repressed memory stuff.

I'll let you in on a secret: it is very, very rare that I start a review without knowing what the book's rating is going to be. I don't believe it's ever happened that I have gotten to the final paragraph without knowing, but I was pretty darn close on this one. This is a fantastic little book that has an eight-hundred-pound Deviant sitting in its foyer. If you can squeeze past that, then I can't recommend this book highly enough. But it's a pretty tight fit, so I am far more reserved than usual, and because of that, I'm kind of splitting the difference and then leaning upwards a bit. ***
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