Dwayne Johnson wipes another tear from his eye and says, “Come on Dwayne, you piece of trailer park trash, pull it together, big rocks don’t cry.”
Traffic marshall McCloud wears a bandanna and scares the good people with his sword. The sword is on fire because protocol requires the maximum hazard potential as well as the maximization of revenue from traffic violations. McCloud’s reputation has become significant, and profits have been dropping for some time.
The city is a quiet place now, no beep beep or chainsaw engine revs. Marshall McCloud sits on a mountain of flame-grilled pedestrian flesh. His skin is charred, his hair is smoky and he has a permanent cough.
I had an imaginary friend once. Well, he came from a book I read so he was technically the author’s imaginary friend, but I liked to think he was mine still. I called him Dexter but he said his name was Patrick. We never agreed on that. It didn’t matter too much because he’d still respond when I called him Dexter, even if it was with a visible annoyance.
We used to hang out. Well, he’d come out the book and then start trying to get out the house but he couldn’t work out how the doors opened. That made me chuckle. I guess the author didn’t think about that aspect of his character when he wrote him. He didn’t like it that I laughed at his misfortune. He used to call me a bitch and start slapping me.
One time when he was giving the old palm off I told him to get back in the book if he didn’t like it here. It’s not like he needed to come visit me. I had plenty of friends that came from other books. He didn’t like that either (I didn’t really have any other friends, but he wasn’t to know that). We got into a heated discussion, well, argument, about it. He said I was a whore who used him for my sexual perversions. I had no idea what he meant. I told him he chose to come here. I didn’t care if he never showed up again. I certainly didn’t care to have sex with him. His temper really turned me off. He said fine and stormed in.
Occasionally I’d turn to random pages of his book and sure enough, there was Patrick being sweet to his girlfriend Sandra, or he’d be helping out feeding homeless people at a shelter. I didn’t get why he was such an arsehole to me when he seemed so kind in the book. I eventually lost interest in him anyway. Other characters came along who were much friendlier.
My favourites were Martin and Ian, twins from some town in the North. Their accents changed quite often but they always had a northern twang. Secretly, I did actually want them to fuck me, but I worried that they were too sweet and would be disgusted by me if I broached the subject. We used to just talk about what our favourite shows were and whether we’d ever go somewhere else, like London or New York even. Those were good times.
A blue lion skulks across the playground. Parents mindless with anxiety scoop children up into their arms. A distant sniper rifle rattles off a shot. The principal goes down like a sack of shit. The children whoop and cheer. The parents lay their weary bodies down to rest, bundles of children bursting from their arms like sweets from a piñata.
Glub-ball is an orange and green sphere that wears spandex and flies. Flies in the face of its contemporaries. Flies in the face of the status quo. Glub-ball is soft like brain goo, and so cannot land for fear of disintegrating upon impact. That is why Glub-ball welcomes the machines into its mind and becomes a digital mosaic spread along streets like car headlights in a long exposure shot at night.
“Just do it,” Nike says, as terse as ever.
I chuckle as I twist the handle once more, causing the vice to crack her skull case in two. The pressure shoots a jet stream of goopy shit towards the sky. The crowd cheers.
I address the baying people, high on my own significant role in the uprising, “Let no man put asunder what we have done here today. For we are the new pan-” I am interrupted by the sound of a zip being undone loudly, I turn to have a look at the source of the sound.
Nike’s giant breasts deflate as several hundred Indonesian children pile out, all of them with soccer ball sized bellies and no shoes. Once they are gone it surprises me just how masculine Nike looks without her huge rack. Shoulders like two massive basketballs on a steel frame. On the steroids again no doubt.
From the author of Love In The Time Of Dinosaurs comes a brand new adventure. The promise made by the cover and concept is mighty! If one woman can deliver though, Kirsten Alene can. Can’t wait for this one. Out next month!
Unicorn Battle Squad. It’s my next book. It’s coming out in October from Eraserhead Press. Don’t freak out. The cover is amazing. I know. I’ve been looking at it for 24 hours now and I’m pretty convinced it’s the best cover I’ve ever seen. Between the unicorn, the crab claws, the foggy encampment and the sinister color scheme, you know what you’re getting when you buy this book.
Which you will.
Buy this book, that is. It’s hard to resist such a spectacular promise. Because a cover is a promise. Everyone knows that.
In case you’re not sold right now, here’s some stuff from the back:
“Imagine Terry Gilliam directing from a script written by Jack Vance channeling the ghosts of Kafka and Calvino, and you’re closing in on the essence of Alene’s latest novel. A bold fusion of grounded surrealism, unfettered filth, and wit as dry and dark…
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ABORTION ARCADE is a fantastic trio of bizarro tales from a great writer.
In the first story Cameron Pierce manages to turn the zombie story on its head whilst seamlessly blending a romantic tale of heroism and escape into the mix. Perhaps it can be read as a commentary on modern Western society’s desire to produce zombies and consumable products in a pseudo-religious culture full of symbolism and dark intent, or it can just be read as an absurd tale featuring cannibalism, helicopters and a goblin. The prose and characters are typically engaging of Pierce, dark humour mixed in with really quite horrific imagery.
The second story is simply a wtf kind of tale. It begins with a back-up quarterback at Heavy Metal High School being an outsider, a laughing stock almost. Oh, and he’s a werewolf. He must get in an accident, part of the initiation of the world Cameron crafts. What happens after the accident is just brilliant. A series of events leads him to his Heaven, which turns out to be not as great as he imagined, typical Pierce then. Funny, bizarre and certainly different to mainstream nondescript blocks of text. I enjoyed the story a lot. An allegory on what lengths people go to to fit in, and also why you shouldn’t meet your heroes.
The last story is a sad tale about a cycling enthusiast who wants to kill the elephants infesting his and his wife’s apartment. It veers away from that angle quite sharply, becoming seriously poignant and weird at the same time. I don’t want to spoil it at all, so go read it. It truly is fascinating and remarkable that Pierce captures such a visceral world in such a short space of words. My favourite of the three stories in this collection.
Pierce shows he has boundless imagination and a solid prose style in this book. Recommend it to pretty much everybody. The deeper themes are always sensible and interesting, only the surface may put people off. It’s a shame because Pierce deserves to be recognised as a great writer, full of wit and humour and definitely examining the human condition in profound ways. Though not as deep as his novel SHARK HUNTING IN PARADISE GARDEN, this book is probably my favourite collection of his shorter works thus far.
* The book has been recognised as one of the best bizarro short story collections of the year by being nominated for the Wonderland Book Award along with some other fantastic books! Congratulations to Cameron for his achievement!
You can get the book in paperback or for your kindle from amazon here
Or you can check out his amazon page here for his other works
Cameron’s blog is here
Cameron is also the editor of Lazy Fascist Press, an imprint of Eraserhead Press
He has a new book coming out soon titled DIE YOU DOUGHNUT BASTARDS which promises to be a sweet read.
Most Unoriginal Kafka Tribute Ever:
Somebody had been telling the truth about Jacob L., for with a lot of hubbub early one grim morning, he was arrested. His processing and subsequent trial went smoothly and he was incarcerated for a number of years.
As Gregory Samba awoke one morning from a rather peaceful night’s sleep he found that he had transformed into a giant insect. Needless to say news of his condition went viral and he was an internet sensation. Money was never an issue for him or his family again.
It was late afternoon when L. arrived. The town was covered in sunshine. The bungalow was revealed by that same sunlight. L. stood for a long time on the bridge leading into the town, looking at and being looked at by the local people. They all smiled and said hello, welcoming him into their warm embrace. He felt very comfortable and soon established himself as one of the locals, raising a beautiful family and living a long and fruitful-
Let’s go to a place where violins in the sky chirrup playfully and pianos in the floor chime melancholic chords. A dramatic place, where Hope dances against a flaming backdrop of despair, a diamond juxtaposed on a rupturing sea of grotesque fish being burnt alive. It’s a painful dance, full of aches and misery as the contortions grow steadily more hideous. Yet, she becomes more beautiful on each beat as her joints twist and snap. She smiles through it all, even as she cries. Tears crawl upwards to the dry, rotten roots of her hair, and climb the straw-like strands before jumping for the stars, where they suffocate and patter back down onto her hematite skin. Her body folds, melts even, into a rusty revolver. She fires six bullets into the backdrop, which shatters like glass, blood hangs like a rosy morning mist, highlighted by a new light above. A tear drops out of the barrel that used to be her eye, falling onto another piano key, the first note of a new musical passage. It’s followed by the sound of laughter as more tears begin to fall from her barrel face.
We feel a pulse rise through us; we step in time to it. Our joints crack and splinter as we begin to smile and cry. We take hold of each other as we come apart, kissing as we unfurl each other’s skin and wave it like banners in the sky. A single strike of a drum signifies the end of the performance, and we let our skins fly on the wind. Our bones are rusty and dissolve in the rising water. We become fish in an ocean of despair, beautiful shimmering things. Our lips come apart and a void rushes in to fill the space. Yours are smiling, mine are quivering. It’s such a dramatic place we’ve come to. The violins sound drowned, the piano flooded, a warbling underwater waltz. Hope reloads and fires into the void, which curls up and dies. We rush at one another, pass through each other, and into orchestral fields full of blood stained roses.
My fingers press on piano keys made of dead flowers, you bow violin strings made of Hope’s dead lifeless hair. Together we make a dramatic place, where we can go together. We watch Hope dance, a crazy dance, and set fire to despair.
You wouldn’t know it to look at me, but there is a sickness hollowing me out. My eyes are cavities, ultraviolet light trapped inside a cage of rotten flesh and crystals. There’s a clock in front of a mirror. Time running backwards. Collapsing rather than expanding. A supernova implosion. Several dizzying moments run into each other, compacted into a fraction of a moment. My shadow, as fragile as dust erased by Hydrogen light. Cavities erupt, leaving salty wounds. A hemorrhaging of all the ironic thoughts I ever had painted emerald green, ivy leaves wrapped around my skull.
A long blue ribbon, a signature tied to a door handle, lying on the floor, the frame inverted to become a blockade. The handle, a fallen acorn. Too timid to grow. A slow death grips and twists and opens. Pierced lungs sucking in voided detritus. Silent film stock, burning up in sepia melodrama, stuck on fast-forward repeat.
Grinding gear static stick limbs made of wood carved in a fish bowl atmosphere. Hollowed tubes of polarized light cascading over one another in a frenzy. Muscle fibre unwinds, reforms, contracts. A fluid reshaped to fill the void. Demented amorphous tissue. Sand coating leather cracks and falls away. A bleached core crumbles, a wavering vestige hangs like a mournful medal, gravity abandoned. A gentle whisper, poison slicked in honey, a siren in the void.
Void cancer. Immanent omniabsence. A seething mess of nullifying waves, splintering rocks under hammer strikes. A sea reclaiming land contained within a spiky shell, all pinprick sensation, alert and flashing teeth. Warmth bled from an iron coated interior, disguised in myriad form.
And so I swallow everything. Regurgitated grey monoliths ground my path through the sky. A rhapsody of bubbles crescendos under foot. Fractal life bursts in tangent worlds. Bacterial artifices cower in edifices too grand and too hidden to unravel.
This a gift, a birthday of the soul.
Kevin L. Donihe reveals some of the more interesting yet less well known facts about the Walrus
Got my facts straight this time. Here we go:
The walrus takes pride in its wrinkly roadmap skin.
The walrus has a penile bone, and wants you to know it.
The walrus has private names for the places it goes, the things it loves and the things it eats.
The walrus is fluent in 700 languages, none of which are human.
The walrus has no need for guile or artifice.
The walrus knows love and hate in equal measure.
The walrus has vision so powerful it can glimpse the soul.
The walrus has mastered telekinesis.
The walrus only appears to die.
The walrus is older than the oldest thing.
The walrus transcends all notions of time and space.
The walrus understands your hopes and fears.
The walrus wants to be your friend.
The walrus wants to be your only friend.
The walrus waits inside of you.
The walrus can…
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Subscribe to get a chance to win a kindle, but much more impressively, BE IN WITH A CHANCE OF WINNG A TITANIUM SPORK!!!
We at Slices of Bizarro Pie (and by that I mean me: Jeremy) are giving away a brand new Kindle 3G to one lucky reader!
To be eligible for the Kindle 3G, simply subscribe to this blog.
If you’re already a subscriber, then you’re already eligible to win.
The winner will also receive:
–A Titanium Spork.
–Free Kindle copies of any four of my eBooks, chosen from the following:
(Feel free to click on the images to learn more about each book.)
The winner will be chosen once the blog reaches 1000 subscribers. All 1000 subscribers will be eligible to win, and the winner will be chosen at random.
Thank you for your support!
It’s “A Town Called Suckhole by David W Barbee”‘s birthday, and to celebrate David has prepared a special version of the book including a signature (his own no less!) and other cool stuff.
The book is “the weirdest southern gothic mudpunk detective story ever told”, which is just about as good a sales pitch as you can hope to read through your beady little sight holes.
That’s right, Don Cheadle. Somebody DID say deal. Only it’s not stereos… we’re talking something way cooler. It’s what the kids are into these days: weird books full of robots and genitals.
For the one-year anniversary of A Town Called Suckhole‘s release, I’m celebrating by giving readers a deal so good it’s stupid. I’m proud of this little slice of sci-billy schizophrenia and how well it’s done this past year, so from now until September 15th I’m offering a signed and personalized copy directly from me! Plus other cool stuff! Like comics! Trading cards! Artwork! And one of four original bookplates displaying the glorious heritage of everyone’s favorite bucktooth cyberpunk society!
So, to be upfront: it costs $13.00. That’s about what you’d pay in shipping and handling anyway, except this way your book is customized by me and includes a ton of cool free stuff. As a thrifty…
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By now, the bizarro novel BROKEN PIANO FOR PRESIDENT by PATRICK WENSICK has become something of a cultural phenomenon. Following the publication of “the nicest C&D letter ever” on his blog. Patrick’s book has rocketed to the top of the amazon.com best-seller chart, reaching an amazing #6.
It all began with a simple cease and desist letter…
Jack Daniels requested that Wensick change the cover artwork of his book the next print. The company even offered to help pay towards the cost of redesigning the cover, but his publisher Lazy Fascist Press, an imprint of Eraserhead Press, declined the offer. They opted to pay for the redesign of the cover themselves.
The offended brand label and the offending book cover:
The letter became the focal point of a media frenzy that gave Wensick and his book exposure unlike anything a bizarro book has ever had before. Time Magazine, The New York Times, Yahoo, Mashable, The Huffington Post, and many other media outlets sought interviews with Wensick and representatives of Jack Daniels.
With such a huge amount of exposure it wasn’t long before BROKEN PIANO FOR PRESIDENT entered the amazon top-10 best seller list, alongside the likes of 50 Shades of Grey. That series of titles shows that it isn’t the content of a book that matters, but how much exposure it receives. I can say with confidence, that Mr. Wensick’s book is much more imaginative, and well-written, than 50 shades.
It currently sits at #6 in the list, a huge achievement, and one that Patrick Wensick and all the staff at Lazy Fascist Press can be extremely proud of.
It’s a true fairy tale story of the remarkable effect internet marketing can have on the success rate of a published title.
You can help Wensick’s book stay up on the list by purchasing a copy!
Jezzebelle Scroteé’s biggest fan was called Chap Wankstick and he admired her from afar, from nearby, and from unconventional places besides. He’d sneak into her laundry, cutting eyes holes through her peephole bras and crotchless panties, unnecessary really. He’d pop up with her toast when it was done, trying to catch a glimpse of her before falling back down into the crumby depths. Something about her appearance first thing in the morning was more honest and appealing to him than any of her glamour shots – he wanted unadulterated experiences of her.
He’d begun to ejaculate into her tubes of toothpaste after hearing that a woman was impregnated by a squid in a similar manner, and thought to himself that would be a good way to enter her life, but he’d had no such luck as of yet. He made do with sitting in her alarm clock and singing to her in the morning to arouse her, or stuffing himself into the cushions on her couch so he could cup her soft butt cheeks as she sat down. Occasionally he overstepped the mark, like when he hid along the edge of a knife and threatened to slice her head off because she was an angel and needed to go to heaven. But for the most part he simply admired her from different distances and vantage points.
That all changed the day she moved. He had spent the best part of eight months assimilating himself into her house. He had been so successful in that endeavour that he no longer had a human form. He had simply become the house itself. He could no longer hear or see her, but he felt every footstep and flick of a light switch, every toss and turn in her sleep and every piss into the toilet, as well as the warmth from her cheeks on the seat. Then she left and didn’t come back.
He sat alone for some months, wondering what he did wrong. He thought about how he should have killed her, because every woman leaves him in the end, even his mother had left him.
A new family moved in to him. A couple of overweight parents and a brat son. They redecorated him and made him sick. He couldn’t bare it and so locked himself up one night and leaked carbon monoxide into their rooms. It was a polite way of murdering them. Like how they had politely murdered the last traces of Jezzebelle he had left when they scraped her scent off his walls and gutted her from him.
He ripped his foundations from the ground, water pipes burst and blood gushed down his drive. He dragged himself across the country, his windows smashed, his interior vandalised, always hoping that one day he’d find his Jezzebelle again.
Years later, with bricks falling out and the ceiling collapsed with rot, Chap lay derelict and dying, lost and alone. He finally gave up hope and emerged from the house shell he’d wrapped himself up in, a toothless old man with overgrown fingernails that scraped the ground as he crawled away from the crumbling tomb he’d carried with him for so many years. The frame finally collapsed to dust behind him and fluttered away on a breeze like so many fireflies.
He didn’t stop crawling, and finally came before Jezzebelle’s new house after many more years. It was far grander than the crappy single-bedroom detached thing he had become. He pulled himself up by the door knob and slipped through the keyhole, just like he’d learned to do so many years ago, his long nails clattered to the ground before melting into the welcome mat.
The house was Malcolm Fitzgerald, and he was Jezzebelle’s biggest fan. He’d taken three years to become her new house. Chap allowed himself to expire as some junk mail with a lethal dose of anthrax primed to explode over Jezzebelle when she opened the envelope. He could not allow some other man to have her. But unfortunately for Chap, she got all her mail electronically now, and so Malcolm was able to dispose of his wasted remains without ever having to alert Jezzebelle to his presence.
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. Shark Hunting In Paradise Garden is that deep.
It asks just 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, *loads of other words to describe 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 also keeps things lighthearted and fun.
Tracing lines of flight Deleuze himself would be proud of, D. Harlan Wilson transports us to a future world that is openly recognised as science fictional, like in Blade Runner, but on steroids.
Dr. Identity is a wacky satire of everything about the current socio-economic climate that could be satirised. Elements from today are twisted into sick parodies of themselves, and the result is one seriously fucked-up, and yet, perhaps sadly, recognisable world. Advertisements, materialism, the press, consumerism, government, economy, academia, fetishised violence, celebrity, all are caricatured and ridiculed in this fantastic world.
Papanazi press and pig cops, governments that hang themselves, speculative weapons that can be kept in black hole-esque pockets, to a computer generated world known as the schizoverse (where your Id can go and gratify itself by indulging in ultraviolent tendencies or sexual promiscuity (maybe both at the same time)) are all the norm in Bliptown, a seething metropolis of advertisements and jetpacking commuters, surrounded by rainforest full of imaginary creatures, creatures that none-the-less, would rip you to shreds in minutes.
Wilson leads us on an ultraviolent tour-de-force the likes of of which we haven’t seen since Mickey and Mallory Knox graced our screens. The over-the-top violence and gore are beautifully rendered, and really don’t seem out of place in the crazy world Wilson creates. Featuring speculative weapons that turn assailants (and innocent by-standers!) into cubes of meat or reduce them to cosmic soup, as well as a ridiculously nasty nazi newspaper editor that would make Ralph Fiennes feel like a little lost school girl in his labour camp, and lecturers that dish out capital punishment to student-things for being stupid, late or just rude, Wilson’s future dystopia is never short of murder, so much that its almost a piece of performance art. A graceful ballet of blood and guts pirouetting off of the page and splashing your sense organs senseless.
The culprits of the murder spree are a schizophrenic plaquedemic named Dr. Blah Blah Blah, and his ‘ganger, an android named Dr. Identity, which happens to know scikungfu and be a complete psychopath. Anti-heroic to the extreme, and yet more likeable than 99% of the other characters populating the book, Dr. Identity represents what happens when somebody like Dr. Blah Blah Blah, an under-appreciated, under-achieving, self-loathing man gets an opportunity to fulfil the desire to perfect themselves. There’s a reason capitalism blocks the flow of libido, channels it. Dr. Identity is the embodiment of that reason.
The single criticism I have for the book, is that the end felt like it came a little too soon, but maybe that was just the sadist in me being disappointed that all good things must come to an end. It certainly made sense, the resolution couldn’t really have come any other way, but it still felt like Wilson just stopped writing, and thought, let’s go and have a nice cup of tea after that amphetamine fuelled spasm.
If Deleuze and Guattari wrote novels, they’d still pale in comparison to D. Harlan Wilson.
I will definitely be reading the rest of the scikungfi trilogy, and so should you.
Book 3, The Kyoto Man comes out Decemeber 2012, so you’ve got time to get the first two down your gullet.
amazon.co.uk page for Dr. Identity