I was asked to comment on 3 books that have tickled my fancy recently. You can see the result at Jamie Grefe’s blog (as well as a host of other writers’ choices too)
There is no credit sequence. We don’t need to run them tonight. Our viewers want the meat, they want the meat cubed or smoothed into a paste. We can do that. I’m going to quick run out this salad to table three, get ready for the rush. Don’t spill the water. Never neglect to salt your meat and keep your hands to yourself. They’ve got rope and chairs. We can feed them with their own forks, keep their mouths pried open to ingest the mango, the tuna, the halibut. It’s made of meat. The restaurant’s open and we’re rolling. This is our apparatus. This is our art. Let it stew. Stir the soup. Eat your meat.
Our guest has arrived. Show him to his table and give him a slice of spinach. Make him eat it. He’s brought some books to the table like a gentleman. He’s dressed in black…
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I’m having an art bonanza!
In an effort to enforce my political, epistemological, ontological and aesthetic opinions onto everybody I know and everybody I don’t know, I’m giving away 2 copies of my critically praised novella,
by R. A. Harris
Giveaway ends September 30, 2013.
See the giveaway details
The competition opens on September 1st, and runs until the 30th.
Just what is an All Art is Junk?
Lana Rivers, a girl with paintbrush hair, is missing, and it’s up to Lancelot, her cyborg knight, and Cilia, his conjoined twin, to find her in a world where an oceanic deluge has swept 99.99% of mankind from the face of the Earth and all that remains is a single floating art installation populated by people hooked on a drug known as oil.
Lancelot has been charger by Jessica Rivers, Lana’s mother, to protect Lana at all costs from her malignant and psychopathic father, Mansell Rivers, so when she goes missing, Mansell is the number one suspect. A mad-scientist who secretly wishes he was a respected artist, Mansell plans on doing some terrible things to his daughter, unless Lancelot can find her in time. However, as Lancelot attempts to rescue Lana, the people of the installation begin to behave in strange and erratic ways, forming gangs and going to war against each other, as a ceaseless drum soundtrack shakes the very foundation of their world.
In his quest to rescue Lana, Lancelot will discover the origin of oil and himself, and in doing so, learn more about humanity than he ever expected.
Praise for All Art is Junk and R. A. Harris
Harris brings this world to life as if he were painting the pages rather than writing them
– Vincenzo Bilof, author of Gravity Comics Massacre
It’s a novel about loss and identity. It’s about robot dragons and writhing sky-high human-body totems. I like what it did to me.
[R. A. Harris] is one of the most original up-and-coming voices out of England.
– G. Arthur Brown, author of Kitten
Cyborgs! Evil art installations! Art theory! Well, not so much art theory, but plenty of violent, intense, often dense (not in a bad way, like Heart of Darkness dense) bizarro prose.
– M. P. Johnson, author of The After-life Story of Pork Knuckles Malone
R. A. Harris has a talent for writing sexy gross stuff
– Jordan Krall, author of Your Cities, Your Tombs
I’m currently looking for bizarro works of 7-20k for consideration for publication by HOLY MOUNTAIN OUTREACH. If you’re interested, hit me up at leakylibido (at) mail (dot) com and put ‘Holy Mountain Outreach’ in the subject line. You can send me pitches or complete manuscripts with a synopsis (keep it short and sweet though). Pay is $25 + 5 copies of your exclusive, limited edition chapbook.
I want more literary style bizarro. Pitches do not have to be high concept.
check out bizarrocentral for more information on bizarro fiction.
check out Dynatox Ministries for more information on Holy Mountain Outreach as well as all the other exciting things happening there.
Steve Lowe has a remarkable talent to write stories that are at once grotesque, imaginative and absolutely funny, but that have a moral dimension to them too. In You Are Sloth, he uses a bold style, told in a second-person point of view, to tell the story of the time you click a link in a spam e-mail, subject line “you are sloth” and find yourself transformed into a sloth.
But why? Why would this happen? Why a sloth?
That is the mystery, and it’s up to you and your “friends”, Randy (maybe retarded) and Cross (probably an a-hole) to solve it. Will you find out who the deranged individual known only as “The Spammer” is, or why they chose to target you and turn you into a sloth? Perhaps slower than usual (thanks to your newfound slothiness), you will begin to unravel this mystery.
Despite what you will no doubt see on world news in the coming weeks, Leaky Libido is not a breeding ground for sub-par boy bands. The allegations–that we take disenfranchised, disillusioned and angry young males into our training camps, where we train them to sing to a low standard, dress them like communists (ie. the same) and send them into the world to wreak havoc by becoming unattainable objects for a whole generation of women, turning them off less attractive men (ie. the entire male population), and thus, causing the inevitable collapse of western civilisation through a lack of workers–are spurious and facetious. It is an ad-hoc story concocted by a discontent author named Tamara Romero, who is upset at the outcome of a game of charades we played last spring. We won’t go into details, there’s no need to open that can of worms again. We will beat this!
The following is a transcription of a conversation recorded in sporadic bursts over the last eighty years. This is due to unforseen circumstances that are not in any form the fault of Leaky Libido, its derivatives, editors, contributors or victims. I mean guests. Guests. Blame the Nazis.
Anyway, this interview is with the amazing Gabino Iglesias!
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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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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