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R. A. Harris (england)

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Party Wolves in my Skull
Party Wolves in my Skull
by Michael Allen Rose
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars bizarro road-trip, 8 Aug 2012
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This is the first book by Michael Allen Rose and is published by Eraserhead Press as part of their New Bizarro Author Series, and I have to say, it really is a great start for him.

I won't go into plot as you can read the blurb above or other reviews on amazon to discover that it's a corker!

You know you're in for a wild ride from page one, well, you should have an inkling from the title, but just in case you didn't realise the absurd nature of the story, Michael sets the tone from the outset: great writing and superb characters make this a rollicking road-trip tale that has you rooting for the protagonists to achieve their goals, as well as feeling nauseous when the antagonist arrives on the scene.

Party Wolves succeeds as a debut novella because Michael knows how to write interesting characters and enthralling plot into engaging prose. You know you're reading the work of a great writer when you are feeling sympathetic for some party wolves one moment and laughing out loud the next, either through fun dialogue or absurd events.

I highly recommend this book as it exemplifies how fun the bizarro genre can be, and also serves as a platform to display how well written it can be too.

Gigantic Death Worm
Gigantic Death Worm
by Vince Kramer
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.66

4.0 out of 5 stars Juvenile Fun In A Good Way, 26 July 2012
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This review is from: Gigantic Death Worm (Paperback)
GIGANTIC DEATH WORMS is first and foremost, a fun story. It features delightfully juvenile comedy that rarely falls flat. There were a few moments that made me laugh out lou, but a couple of things I knew were supposed to be funny just didn't work as well - some of the animal reactions weren't as strong as others.

The story begins well, with an interesting character, but I felt it went downhill with the adolescent humour in the first chapter. I worried that it was going to be a stupid story about drugs and teen sex. How wrong I was, I continued into chapter 2 and was pleasantly rewarded by a ridiculously over-the-top story about drugs, alcohol and Gigantic Death Worms! And what's more, I soon found the humour to be endearing rather than ignorant.

The prose itself is decent, not mind-blowing, but it's definitely not a detriment to the fun I had when reading this book. There are some cracking lines scattered throughout. I enjoyed the narrator's interjections to clarify certain points.

The true strength of the book lies in that it doesn't take itself too seriously (exemplified by chapter ten). It knows what it's about, and doesn't pretend to be anything other than it is: a really fun story about mass destruction by Gigantic Death Worms. Some of the things that happen in the book are simply genius and kept me reading until I had finished it in one sitting.

I hope to see more from Vince Kramer in the future as he is clearly a remarkable talent when it comes to creating absolutely riotous storylines, and his writing can only get better.

I recommend this book to fans of comedy, cheesy horror, and/or Tequila.

Bad Alchemy
Bad Alchemy
Price: 0.77

4.0 out of 5 stars Mature Paranoid Fuelled Prose, 26 July 2012
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This review is from: Bad Alchemy (Kindle Edition)
BAD ALCHEMY follows on from Krall's book FALSE MAGIC KINGDOM, which I really enjoyed. It was very different to any of the other work I had read of his, full of existential angst and paranoia.

The characters and their themes from the first book are developed further here, with some of the monologues and events from the first book given context by introducing them as diegetic sounds, usually on tape casette, giving an interesting aesthetic to the world he is creating. Krall's use of surreal language is mostly absent this time around, instead the strangeness is generated mostly through the events and character traits.

Overall, this book felt less intense than FALSE MAGIC KINGDOM, but is well written and very interesting, with a strong sense of foreboding and paranoia.

I would like to see these in paperback for ease of reference to earlier events/chapters to help clarify some of the more complex relationships between the books.

I am looking forward to the third installment, and am very interested to see where Krall takes this strange tale.

War Slut
War Slut
Price: 2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars So much more than war and sex, 21 July 2012
This review is from: War Slut (Kindle Edition)
War Sl*t

WAR Sl*t begins with a preface letting the reader know that Carlton Mellick III doesn't intend for this to be an accurate military story. Then he begins his story.

A love story. I know, a love story titled "WAR Sl*t"? Well, Carlton Mellick juxtaposes these two things (love and war) over one another very nicely, and adds a heap of weird things into the mix for extra flavour.

CMIII asks, what is it that makes a relationship? Is a relationship something we create in our own image? is it possible to base a healthy relationship solely on physical attributes? what is it that drives us to put ourselves in extreme environments in order that we maintain a certain way of being? Do we remain human if we cease to be true to ourselves, abandon what we truly love and chase a simulacrum of it instead? What do we surrender of ourselves that we might be able to go on living, trying to be comfortable in a world that is completely alien to how we naturally are? and obviously, the perennial question that has plagued mankind since war began: Who would I choose to have sex with if I had a war Sl*t that could look like anybody in the world?

I really enjoyed this book and thoroughly recommend it to any person even remotely interested in human relationships and what it means to be human.
Bizarre characters and weaponry, a brilliant plot, and a poignant message.
Not bad for a book titled "War Sl*t".

Beyond the Valley of the Apocalypse Donkeys
Beyond the Valley of the Apocalypse Donkeys
by Matthew Revert
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Like a Lynch film, 21 July 2012
What starts off as an innocent enough scenario soon becomes a weird tale where continuity really is a myth. Other reviews no doubt deal with the bulk of the plot, so I'll just suffice to say that the plot is top notch, really fun Lynchian style bizarre mystery/wtf?!. Think Krall's Squid Pulp Blues, but with a female donkey with larger breasts.

The writing is great: some fun dialogue and quirky characters.

The cover is awesome.

I don't have a bad word to say about it.

I read it in one sitting, helped by the bus I was on breaking down.

Recommend for fans of Lynchian movies, bizarre books, and large mammary glands.

False Magic Kingdom
False Magic Kingdom
Price: 0.77

5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, disturbing fiction, but enthralling, 21 July 2012
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A strange tale of multiple vantage points that seem to coalesce into one bizarre view point. Recurring themes of buildings collapsing/demolition, government conspiracy, buildings coming alive, suicide all paint a sad lonely world. It gets meta-fictional towards the end, with reference to previous lines being parts of stories within the story, and the storyline being lifted from films within the story. All very strange, evocative and sad.

The language Krall uses in this book is sometimes really surreal. Though some of the things he describes are beyond sense, they still evoke a sense of personal tragedy, perhaps some trauma, and inner turmoil.

I'll certainly be reading the rest of the trilogy, though I don't hold much hope that the resolution will be Hollywood style.

Codename Prague
Codename Prague
by D. Harlan Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Mega-meta-fiction, 21 July 2012
This review is from: Codename Prague (Paperback)
After reading Dr. Identity I was very excited to read the second book in D Harlan Wilson's SciKungFi trilogy.

He did not disappoint.

Taking meta-fiction to its limit, D Harlan Wilson has created a masterpiece in self-aware literature. Mixing in absurd humour, splatter-gore ultra-violence, existential metaphysics, meta-fictional narrative, and plagiarism, Wilson somehow creates gold from a collection of tin cans and cheese.

The plot... Why does the plot happen? So the book can be written. literally. Nothing happens for any real purpose, and yet enough happens that the book never feels pointless. One chapter is exactly the same as an earlier one, but with different background music.

Characters... Absurd, stupid, Over the top, violent, and yet lovable. For example: A doktor that realises he can't create the monster he wishes to create, and so creates a monster that creates a monster to create the monster he wishes to create.

SciKungFi - Wilson knows how to write interesting fight scenes, and also kknows when to just write [Fight happens here] to great comic effect. He really is a top notch writer.

In closing, this novel is really hard to summarise, just read it. You won't regret it. It's hilarious. There are many, many laugh out loud moments.

Shark Hunting in Paradise Garden
Shark Hunting in Paradise Garden
Price: 4.46

5.0 out of 5 stars How Fantasy Should Be, 8 July 2012
Did you ever ask yourself the most fundamental existential question: "What would God do with a shotgun?"

Suppose that Sartre was right, that we are free agents in a universe that doesn't care if we live or die. Suppose we are free to act according to a moral compass that we are also free to change or even throw away. Why would God not also follow this most basic principle, supposing he created such a free Universe?

That's right. This novel is that deep. It asks such existential questions. What, you thought that God wouldn't suffer existential angst like the rest of us beings?

Following the crash landing of their spaceship on a trip to Eden to visit Adam and Eve, the surviving members of a religious cult are thrown into a battle for survival against some of the most bizarre creations you could imagine.

This is fantasy like it should be. Sure, there's the obligatory cave, with magic spell to create light. But the creatures that inhabit the cave? Different, for sure. Just one of a number of strange creatures that inhabit Eden. I expect that you wouldn't have expected any of the monsters presented here to exist in a place called Paradise Garden.

He brings the garden to life with some brilliant descriptions of fantastical plants and a cast of mismatched (and sometimes mishmashed) fantasy characters: We meet a cast of wacky anthropomorphous animal characters that make up the religious cult (some of the banter between these guys is brilliant), through the eyes of the protagonist Ernest, a man who can turn things into mannequins, as well as sometimes become a toad. There are robots that are addicted to drugs, evil trees, giant sharks and more besides - fantasy enthusiasts are sure to enjoy that eclectic mix of creatures!

There is love, there is fear, there is excitement, anticipation, expectation, commitment, heroism, disappointment, stupidity, absurdity, just about everything you could want in a story, all blended into a beautiful tale that, as I said before, asks profound questions, and even answers some of them in quite convincing fashion.

I really recommend this book to anybody who wants to be entertained by a fun story that does ask deep questions, but keeps things lighthearted and fun.

Fill the Grand Canyon and Live Forever
Fill the Grand Canyon and Live Forever
Price: 1.83

5.0 out of 5 stars Old Age Psychopaths & Sex With Cheerleaders!! A big win!, 30 Jun 2012
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Andersen Prunty has done it again. Written a story that is equal parts hilarious, fun and rollicking and equal parts depressing, bleak and seriously just.. wtf? But above all, it's engaging.

What begins as a fairly traditional "oh, I'm so sad, my wife left me and I'm a loser" kind of romp soon descends into absolute madness and mayhem as Andy Boring goes through one of the most bizarre life-crises I have ever heard of. He has no friends, so he starts a "MyFace" page about filling the Grand Canyon, and it becomes a success (unlike his debut, and probably last ever, novel).

Meeting a range of characters that each have their own unique selling point, Boring is hurtling headlong towards a run-in with the Grand Canyon, in an effort to redeem himself (or perhaps just get his wife back? Or maybe just get his coats back...) and maybe even live forever.

I think Estelle, a psychopathic OAP more terrifying than any Patrick Bateman could ever hope to be, may be one of my favourite characters ever. Everything she does is just sick. I mean it. She is really a great character, and I think it's worth reading the book just to meet her let alone experience well crafted things like plot or prose (which are present and accounted for if you were wondering about the actual writing).

And with priceless "artwork" throughout (I believe they were all potential book covers submitted by friends of Prunty), this book is a steal at 77p!

The Driver's Guide to Hitting Pedestrians
The Driver's Guide to Hitting Pedestrians
Price: 1.83

5.0 out of 5 stars Fast and Furious Flash Fiction, 29 Jun 2012
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This is the fourth book by Andersen Prunty I have read, and I have to say he is on form as ever with this bizarre collection of flash fiction. I recommend both his other short story collections as well as his longer works, as they all exhibit the same high level of imagination and talent that you'll find in this book.

Ranging from the simply preposterous, for example: the first story, about a race between drivers to knock over pedestrians to score points, but being sure not to kill them, as this deducts points; through to the blindingly absurd and poignant: a man who sells balloons (and may in fact be a balloon) and falls for a girl who is the victim of the local fireworks factory owner's bully son; and way out towards the downright crazy: a man is tossed out of a ship in the sky, and finds his way back up again via a very strange town full of very strange people, including a few Terry's.

Special mention goes to the story featuring a salesman with a chainsaw mouth, and to the anarchist who learns the best way to avoid being inducted into the fascist laughing party that's sweeping the town he's in, whilst simultaneously avoiding being beaten to death for avoiding being inducted into the fascist laughing party. And lastly to the story about the children who want to drive over the edge of a cliff - a delightfully strange take on the phenomenon from last century of a young buck taking up his lass and sticking it to the world, bonnie-and-clyde stylee.

Andersen Prunty will beat your mind with his fun and yet melancholy worlds crafted in a mere few hundred words. I highly recommend this book.

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