Friday, February 28, 2014

bizarro books

hi there

despite the passing resemblance, accentuated by the pose, the chap here is not Adrian "Eddie" Edmondson. he's a chap called Carlton Mellick III, and i would seem to have read more of his books in the field of "bizarro" than those by any other writer. sort of accidental, sort of because i have liked his thus far. i have noticed, in passing, that a lot of bizarro writers quite like to have "III" at the end of their name. perhaps it's an accident, perhaps it's an indication that they all really liked Rocky III. or both.

i stumbled on the world of bizarro books by accident when looking around for something to read. i have found them to be wildly entertaining and have intended to do a blog post for a while now. however, in one of those "no fate but what we make" incidents, my Mr E-Reader thing decided to crash and factory reset itself through the means of an unsolicited update which it opted to do when i plugged it in to add books. you don't really get factory resets with real books, please note. anyway, this has left me bereft of my bizarro collection for now (i will find them and add again i guess), so this will all be from memory rather than better, recently researched and reminded. sorry.

from what i recall from the intro of one anthology (collection, if you like), a number of writers issued free or low priced short stories and novellas in return for readers who enjoyed them being so kind as to post a review on the likes of amazon. frankly, i am unwilling to do battle with the prolific number of fake and paid for reviews over there, but i am happy to link here to a search for bizarro books on the UK amazon site and indeed the American amazon site for them.

the first one of these bizarro books i read, then, was something called War S*** by this Carlton chap. the title there is edited for the benefit of filters and that which some people on the net of webs face. this book, short story, novella or what you would like to call it in many respects highlights just how awesome and, indeed, class these books can be.

discussing an 80 or so page "story" for ease of terminology reference is tricky as i would not want to give away plot points. in short, it's not as graphic nor as exploitative as the title suggests. it's a superior science fiction work, retaining a high sense of originality despite clearly being inspired by things like The Thing, that one set of enemies that the French one in that Star Trek thing battled with and lost to a degree, and to an extent something like I, Robot or I Am Legend, one of them Will Smith things that were quite good. and i am unsure as to how to comment on the book, novel, novella or whatever it is any more without giving plot points or the story entire away. if those film titles have caused you interest, however, then this is a fairly good start to the world of bizarro books. it was for me!

if you want, and perhaps i should have done this a bit earlier in the post, a bit of a fancy, literary theory interpretation of what this whole bizarro thing is all about, you can wander off to that fancy Wikipedia thing for their interpretation and posh words about it. my own view would be that it's by, and indeed for, people who grew reading that Fangoria magazine, enjoying the weird and wonderful, imaginative and creative horror and science fiction films of the 80s. or people who look back to that time and wish they were there, since similar films and indeed magazines all got dull from the 90s onwards.

back to the books that i have read (that i can remember) and one, in the interests of honesty and being a touch fair, that i did not read all the way through. despite the awesome, amazing title that is Razor Wire P**** Hair, i only managed to get 5 or 6 chapters into this before i gave up.

why did i give up? because i got bored. sorry and my apology to this Carlton chap, but i really didn't get into it at all. the plot, from what i recall, was about some sort of "sex device slave" that could be altered, adapted, changed and modified to the whims and ways wished for by the, for want of a better term, "owner".

the bits of the book i can remember, which i happily confess again to be not as much as i could if you were hoping for a good deal more detail, tended to emphasize the underlying trend of all bizarro books i have read (or tried to read) thus far, which would be that in a sexual and society sense most tend to put women in charge and have all the desire and determination in this regard. whether this is some sort of clever sociopolitical commentary or just that bizarro writers are possibly geeky, nerdy virginal types who believe that in the future the "chicks will lust after them, dude, fully" i leave to you. the truth perhaps lies somewhere in-between. maybe.

moving on then, and one i can most certainly remember reading is, by our chum Carlton once more, the book called The Cannibals Of Candyland. why yes, that is something of a special title. you would be forgiven, if the artists in the world of bizarro books went around seeking instances in which they could give out their forgiveness, for thinking "the whole story is there in the title", as was the case with something like Four Weddings And A Funeral. the book is, however, a little bit more than that. actually, possibly, much more.

this novel is the first, thus far only, one in the genre that i have read which lurches towards being explicitly exploitative or blatantly likely to cause offence, arguably in a deliberate way, when measured against the current norms and standards of most societies in the world where people read. child abduction, child murder, sexual assault and holding people prisoner to torture them are all here, presented as either a possibly accidental social commentary or just as a bizarre background for a really weird, yet oddly compelling, story. make no mistake, this book is far removed from being for everyone's tastes, if you will excuse the play on words with the candy title. or don't excuse it, up to you i guess.

the plot of The Cannibals Of Candyland? well, it was a short-ish book, so again i am reluctant to give too much away. the premise is that a myth or urban legend exists that children have, for years, been abducted and eaten by a hidden group of people who are made entirely out of candy. the story is more or less then somewhat less-than-successful efforts of one chap to prove they exist and stop them.

in my limited (and subject to my wonky memory, apologies on behalf of Mr E-Reader and his update) experience, bizarro books are not what you would expect in as far as they are nowhere near as trashy, explicit, exploitative or close to some form of pornography as one might expect from the titles of the books. they are certainly graphic, which is why i wouldn't write "they are for everyone" because they most certainly are not.

off to a book not by that Carlton chap, then, but one by someone as enthusiastic as Carlton about having "III" at the end of his name. quite an American thing that, even though you would kind of suspect it to be more and English aristocratic thing. although that's nothing to do with the book.

The Brothers Crunk by William Pauley III is, in retrospect, a book that i should not have read. it seems to be part three (or maybe part two) of something called the 'doom magnetic trilogy'. whoops, i didn't notice.

anyway, this one features two cockney brothers who make all sorts of Istanbul inspired foods and sell them off the back of a van to various people in and around the world of Japan, since this is where i think the book is set. why Japan and why are two London (innit) lads there? why is it a post-apocalyptic world? i don't know, that was probably in the first two books. but they do like listening to David  Bowie, so there you go.

i don't, by the way, think that the named author of this novel is the William Pauley III, as in the one whose name is frequently mentioned in association with all that Edward Snowden, wikileaks and whistleblower stuff. if it is in fact the same one, well that would be amazing, man.

it was really a rather enjoyable, strange and odd story. i think i would have really appreciated it a good deal more if i had read all three parts and done so in order. i suspect i will go back and find the rest of it, but to an extent the experience will of course be tampered with.

on that note, is anyone else as fed up, or perhaps just frustrated as i am with trying to find new books to read? i mean, when one consults the sales lists and the books that have reasonable levels of promotion behind them, they all sound really good, right. then you find they are "book seven of the 'xyz' series", or "a Mr Character Name novel" or something like that. i know a few are sold on the premise that "oh you can read them without reading the other novels", but it rarely turns out that this is the case. if one read, for example, that masterpiece that was Inferno by Dan Brown without reading the other books to feature him in it that was played by Tom Hanks in the film, Robert Landgdon i think, it would have surely, strangely, appeared to be even more of a spaz story and novel than it was, which is saying something.

popular series of novels are nothing new, of course, but there was always a range of other, stand alone fiction on the go. this is not the case anymore. i just don't see me going through three or four books just because the forth or fifth looks quite class. i might well be inclined to read a series of books by someone if i had read a stand alone, all contained in one novel book by someone and rather enjoyed it, but i am not committing to a massive series of them just on the off chance that all turn out to be as good as one of them sounds.

back to bizarro, then, dear reader, and the last of the novels that i can clearly remember reading. i probably remember Warrior Wolf Women Of The Wasteland by our friend Carlton once more because, outside of the War Lady of Generous Accommodation one we started off with this is my favourite thus far, mindful of the fact that i have yet to get or read something called Satan Burger.

this book is just ace and amazing, man. it surely tests the patience of the lawyers of McDonalds in the face of "fair use" of publicly recognized products and brands, for the golden arches proprietors carry the blame for much of a wrecked world and the rather strange society created in the quasi-post-apocalyptic world in which the book is set. i kept reading and asking myself "just how exactly has this Carlton chap and his publishers got away with this". perhaps that "Streisand Effect" thing was mentioned and McDonalds simply did not want to draw attention to the book or, and this is rather more likely, perhaps McDonalds simply do not know that this novel exists.

a fair majority of this novel is in fact right there in the title, but oh my word there is so much more to it. i would be delighted to recommend this novel to anyone interested in bizarro, or indeed anyone with a taste for the strange, weird, slightly shocking and above all rather darkly funny things in the world of reading for entertainment.

and those are the books from the world of bizarro that i can recall reading. i might have read one or two other short novels or short stories, but cannot recall the names if that's the case.

on the whole these books do not display any sort of fine, superior crafting of words from language, but by no means are they badly or poorly written. i have, bar the points above, enjoyed what i have read, and shall no doubt be reading more as and when i locate where i downloaded them to and when Mr E-Reader will let me put them on it without threats of one of them factory reset things.

for the moment, however, i have for my reading pleasure this most peculiar book.

well, it isn't all that peculiar i suppose. the book, so far as i have read it, certainly relates to what the title suggests, at the least. my mate Spiros arranged for amazon to send this to me, which was a most kind gesture of him. Spiros has also been encouraging me to head down to wherever he is so a chap called Toni or Julian can cut my hair, just before he takes me off to a Turkish Baths establishment. sounds like it might be a fun weekend.

actually, i am really reading a recent John Grisham novel, one that is, in parts, a sequel to his (if i remember) his first novel. despite the series moan above, that would be two sequels that turned up over 25 years after the original that i have read of late. will there be a blog post about this? certainly, but let me finish the book i am reading first!

hope that this has been of some sort of interest or use to someone!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Post a Comment