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Sweet Story
Sweet Story
by Carlton Mellick III
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bittersweet & Sour, 27 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Sweet Story (Paperback)
I love stories about wishes, stories about monkeys paws, magic lamps, deals with devils, and the inevitable horror that follows as the wish goes horribly wrong. I love stories about wishes so much I even wrote a whole book of them, Try Before You Die. Carlton Mellick III’s latest, Sweet Story, is a story about a wish that goes horribly wrong, and it is a corker . Sweet Story starts off reading like a children’s book, the prose pitch perfect in effect, establishing a mood of light wonder which is then gorgeously, hideously destroyed by the reality of a child’s innocent wish being granted. There is a double pleasure in this kind of tale; first, the delicious tension of knowing that something awful is about to happen, and second, just how that awfulness is brought about. Sweet Story delivers on both counts; its set-up as a children’s book means that when the twist in the wish comes -and it’s a great one- the impact is all the more brutal. And not to give anything away, but the ending is perfect (and even I as an avowed addict of these kinds of tales didn’t see it coming.) As far as stories about wishes go, this one now joins the ranks of my absolute favourites, so much so in fact that I wish CM3 would write some more…


Drinking Until Morning
Drinking Until Morning
Price: £2.14

5.0 out of 5 stars Drinking Until Morning, 24 Sept. 2014
I started reading Drinking Until Morning the evening I received it and didn't stop until the end, all in one session; the author has a very easy going style that makes the pages flip by without you really noticing, drawing characters and situations with just the right amount of detail to picture them without clogging up the flow of the story. It has very funny moments (a lot of the dialogue is a delight in that respect, the character of Gorcoff in particular) but it has a lot of heart too (a large portion of the story turns on one of those kinds of doomed relationships which are a bittersweet poison.) Gabino Iglesias provides an introduction which does a better job of describing the book then I could, so I'll pinch a quick line from there to sum Drinking Until Morning up as "sweet, crude, funny, [and] slightly demented".


The Horribles
The Horribles
by Nathaniel Lambert
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.41

5.0 out of 5 stars Horrible? Far From It, 1 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: The Horribles (Paperback)
This is a short review because... I wrote a book with this gentleman. Actually, two books, the Sideshow P.I. novels "The Devil's Garden" and the (as of writing) soon to be released "All Fall Down". I mention this because you don't get into the process of writing TWO novels with somebody if you don't think they've got chops. Nathaniel Lambert has chops, and "The Horribles" proves it in a short, tight tale of personal demons and bio-mechanical nightmares.


Tentacle Death Trip
Tentacle Death Trip
by Jordan Krall
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...and with strange engines even death may drive., 30 May 2012
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This review is from: Tentacle Death Trip (Paperback)
This book is fast. Very fast. It hits the ground revving, fishtailing out of the opening prologue with a squeal of bald tyres on cracked asphalt, and then roars towards its hallucinogenic ending in a welter of fender-to-face smashing set pieces. The pace it sets means we only get flashing glimpses of the terrain, with some intriguing characters and scenarios in the rear-view mirror too quickly, but that's made up for by flashbacks that flesh out the main characters who are, after all, the driving force of any story. One thing worth noting is the use of the Cthulhu Mythos; it's not the engine of the story, but rather the paintjob, which means it can be enjoyed by fans and the uninitiated alike. Great fun.


Archelon Ranch
Archelon Ranch
by Garrett Cook
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Archelon Ranch Dressing, 6 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Archelon Ranch (Paperback)
A quest for paradise. Sentient hats. Dinosaurs.

I have to confess to having a prior predjudice to enjoying this book as I love metafiction; from the nested narratives of Flann O'Brien's "At Swim Two Birds", the demented Lovecraft love letter film "In the Mouth of Madness", through to comics legend Grant Morrison's entire ouerve. For people unfamiliar with the concepts behind metafiction I would suggest reading Max Beerbohm's "Enoch Soames", a short story available freely online, and if you find the sensation of having your mind cherry popped a pleasent one, then consider that tale just the breaking in that precedes Mr Cook's thorough reverse cowboy of id, ego, and superego, "Archelon Ranch". Your frontal lobes will be walking like John Wayne for some time after this.

A clever, funny, and thoroughly bizarre story, with a depth all too often lacking in demented fiction. Bravo Mr Cook.


How to Eat Fried Furries (The New Bizarro Author)
How to Eat Fried Furries (The New Bizarro Author)
by Nicole Cushing
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.66

5.0 out of 5 stars Old (Ronald) McDonald Had a Farm..., 7 Dec. 2010
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Many years ago the ground breaking sketch show Monty Python predicted the rise of the furry menace with a vignette titled "The Mouse Problem", but only now do we have a solution, a final solution provided by Nicole Cushing, with a modest nod to Swift; thin out their ranks by eating 'em.

Furries. You know, people who dress up as animals for various reasons, and not nessecarily because they fancy trying a few ideas from the Farma Sutra. Well, Cushing's reasonable response to their growing numbers is to farm them for food. Seems entirely ethical to me, until we can finally breed those Ameglian Major cows that enjoy being eaten. Come to think of it, Doug Adams WAS a very late Python writer wasn't he? He'd have enjoyed HTEFF, without a salmon of a doubt.

This feast is a "flying circus", a loosely connected series of bizarro skits whose weirdness is nicely tempered by a coherent mythology; a 70s TV show no-one remembers, a literal s**t storm, a war between the Flesh and the Flayed, the machinations of the Pseudo-Amish, and serious discussion of the methodology of farming people in fur suits are all thrown in the pot and seasoned liberally with satire. And it tastes good, just like the best of the old Python, though HTEFF is very much its own dish.

This is a short book, but it's got a lot of meat to it; its certainly enough of a meal that you probably shouldn't have that after dinner mint, even if it is "wafer thin."


Carnageland
Carnageland
by David W. Barbee
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Carnageland, Population... Declining Rapidly, 21 Jan. 2010
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This review is from: Carnageland (Paperback)
This very short tale... how to describe it?
I could say that it makes me think of a car crash between one of Richard Stark's "Parker" novels (one character doggedly kills his way through other characters, saying "I want my money..." as a mantra) and the cancelled Nickelodeon show "Invader Zim" (a little green man comes a-conquering.)
Or maybe it would be simpler to call it "Shrek" as directed by Quentin Tarantino.
This story is fast, fun, crisp and clean; there is a message, but in the same broad sense as Romero setting a zombie film in a shopping mall, but most of all this is a Saturday morning cartoon fiction.


Lemur
Lemur
by Tom Bradley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And A Side Of Lemmy Fries, 23 Sept. 2009
This review is from: Lemur (Paperback)
Tricky, this; more often then not when writing a review it is a good idea to reference other writers who's work is similar enough to give a flavour of what the book under review is like, but "Lemur" is too peculiar a beast to be trapped this way. In fact, the closest thing that springs to mind to compare it to would be either the artwork of Gerald Scarfe, or possibly the 80's TV program "Spitting Image."
Only American.
The world of "Lemur" is at first glance as seemingly banal in it's detailing of wage slavery and small town numbness as our own, except that Bradley has peopled it with such an unbelievable parade of grotesques that it becomes a horrifyingly distorted reflection. The prose sketches Scarfe like portraits which then become animated by bizarre purposes to produce... an idiot savant bus boy who is attempting to become a serial killer; a cellulite worshipping store clerk who views his hyper-obese customers as "God-babies"; a paedophile restaurant reviewer; a trio of cops that includes not only an uber-Marxist but a female who wishes "to become the toughest creature on the planet"; and the various vicious co-workers, holocaust survivors, and mascot worshipping dumpster divers that you would expect.
A savage satire of the fast food trade with zero fat content and complete free of literary MSG.


Pygmy
Pygmy
by Chuck Palahniuk
Edition: Hardcover

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars He Has His Edge Back, 2 July 2009
This review is from: Pygmy (Hardcover)
Reviewing a new Palahniuk is normally a pointless task; either you've read him once and been split into one of two camps (read everything else he does, or never touch his stuff again) or you have not read him, and really should start with "Fight Club" to see what all the fuss is about. A pointless task, yes, because this author hit on a formula and simply repeats it with minor variations... "Pygmy" is no exception; sacred cows are slaughtered wholescale by factoid spewing grotesques in a welter of body fluids, prescription drugs, and bland absurdity, wildly swinging between the satirical schools of Rabelais and Swift. To be honest, it had become dull and his last few books (including the self indulgence of two pointless non-fiction titles) felt like they had been produced by a machine that simply replicated his style.
But this book is different. The satire has its cutting edge back, no doubt due to the one thing that will polarize even die hard "Cult" members about this title; the prose.
Burgess wrote "A Clockwork Orange" in his infamous made up argot of nadsat, and Welsh wrote "Trainspotting" in accurately rendered working class Scottish, establishing a lineage in transgressive literature for telling a tale from the most extreme point of view intimately, and "Pygmy" takes up the baton by relating the usual Palaniuk tale of clockwork chaos in the broken English of an uber-foreigner.
Some people will find this an absolute joy (as I did) and others, missing the point, will complain that it was hard to read. But, just as Burgess's novel of brainwashing was constructed to peform its own kind of brainwashing on readers by forcing them to learn its bastardized Russian-English, so Palahniuk uses an outsider to dissect America by use of clever word twisting. One, just one, example; "grope hug."
That's what makes this book worth the effort. By using a different point of view (the typical Palahniuk protoganist being a cooly apathetic American surrounded by a cast of identical cooly apathetic Americans) he has re-sharpened the razor he used so skilfully in the past.


MachoPoni
MachoPoni
by Lotus Rose
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.66

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Prance with Death..., 8 Jun. 2009
This review is from: MachoPoni (Paperback)
This is a bizarro take on subject matter that should be close to the heart of anyone who grew up in the 1980s. All those old cartoon franchises that were merely excuses for merchandising get a make over in this crafty little tale.
A "poni" (read as "My Little...") sets out to save the love of his life in this story, referencing all the money grubbing subsidiaries of the "My Little..." franchise along the way, as well as taking pot shots at the Care Bears and the Kool-Aid guy from American culture. Cleverly alluding to adult themes (for "chocolate mints" read "drugs", for example) as well as straight out gore for those of us who wondered why cartoon characters never REALLY got hurt, this book is all wrapped up in a book binding and excellent cover art designed to make it look like an atypical cash-in book.
Joyously readable, this seems to be a book at the vanguard (along with the likes of "Machine & the Mind Candy Factory" by Roald McDahl) of a new style of fiction, the "re-invented for adults" childrens book.
Now, as for He-Man...?


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