Austin James debuts with a wonderfully twisted novelette that is both bizarre and endearing, a melding of mutant creatures with tones of true romance, served with enough grotesqueries to satisfy to the most gluttonous of minds. Also included: a handful of short stories that take the reader even further into the mind of James’ obscure view within the word-world.
“The Drip Drop Prophet is a weird, funny, and original story. Fresh prose and palpable action make Austin James a name to watch.” – Danger Slater, author of “I Will Rot Without You”
“This is a sad, weird, mystic Pixar cartoon for pretty disturbed adults. The kind of heartfelt crazy people read (Bizarro) for.” – Garrett Cook, author of “A God of Hungry Walls”
“Nice little collection of shorts here. Though it blends a serious, personal tone with light-hearted absurdity, the combination forms a tone of its own through the tightness and cohesion of the writing. At times you want to hug the author, and at other times you want to peak into his brain to try and figure out what the hell is going on in there. If you like bizarro you’ll most likely ingest this book in one sitting. If you’re unfamiliar with bizzaro or surreal fiction, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy something fresh, new, and original.” -Jeff O’Brien, author of “The Night Manager”
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It’s The Hangover meets The Book of Revelation in one of the funniest bizarro fiction novels of the year.
God, a single father, is forced to move back home with his parents. He really just wants to focus on writing his indie rock zine and escape the responsibility of being the Supreme Being, which can be a real drag. He’s also got a mean older brother who never left home and never stopped tormenting God or humanity by interfering in events throughout history. Now, God finds out the bastard’s built himself a time machine. As visions of an apocalyptic future come to God’s attention, he devises a foolproof plan to stop his mean older brother from destroying the world… then gets so drunk he forgets what the plan is.
“Whether he’s scribbling on napkins, writing online, or penning fiction, G. Arthur Brown is interested in taking the world we think we know, cracking it open, slathering it with weirdness, and twisting it into odd shapes–which, surprisingly, resemble the world more accurately than the world we wish we had. Brown’s a prime example of how the weird and the bizarre can provide an active and irreverent critique of the real. This is fiction that’s fun to read and yet deeply resonant.” – Brian Evenson, author of A Collapse of Horses
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If dystopian fiction holds a magnifying glass to trends and aspects of the present day, increasing their prominence horrifically, then what about a bizarro dystopia? It presses a distorted glass against our fears, holding it so close that the details twist and mutate, making us not entirely sure what to think any more. Touches of weird humor leak through, and it becomes a question of debate where the divisions are between parody, satire and warning.
All Hail the House Gods is, partly, dystopian horror, and it’s particularly inventive in where it aims its magnifying glass: you could consider most of the horror to stem from a millennial anxiety about the changing nature of adulthood. Things that previous generations took for granted, that you’d grow up, that you’d raise a family, that you’d own a house, are distorted and made grotesque. Your family only exists to satiate monsters. Your house isn’t yours; you belong to it. You won’t grow up, because the state of childhood no longer exists. (Even the “typical” adult pastime of poker is made part of the mechanism of terror, and the old realtors’ trick of baking cookies to make a house smell tempting is a trick perpetrated by the houses themselves.)
But it’s also absurd comedy! I hope I’m not too horrible for finding the endless, child-like euphemisms funny (if kind of gross at the same time). Same too with the never-ending diet of aphrodisiacs — is there a funnier food to see mentioned repeatedly than “watermelon arugula salad”? I don’t think so. Throughout, the writing has a lightness and wit that made me smile, unless something awful was happening at just that moment… There’s also the surrealism, which, if not exactly funny, here seems more aligned with humor than horror. A House can crabwalk. A house can be a Gothic, a pueblo, or a log cabin shaped like a dachshund. It can be brown, white, or teal. Houses can blow their sides in and out, like they’re laughing, and can stack themselves into a tall, dancing column that stretches to the sky, an image more strange than frightening.
And, maybe most affectingly, it also includes a heartfelt debate about how to fight systemically entrenched oppressors. There are two opinions presented, both of which are convincing. Should you work from within the oppressive system, or attack it from the outside? There are no real villains, apart from the faceless and characterless minions of the system and the Houses themselves, which are the system. Stone is great at presenting characters simply and sympathetically, and I wanted nothing more than to see these people succeed, though the difficulty of their struggle is best portrayed by a single, darkly funny image: that of a brave or foolish hero, who has decided to fight a house, and who is armed with only a bow and arrow.
The reviewer, Caleb Wilson, is the author of Polymer, published as part of the 2018 New Bizarro Authors Series.
Like zines? Then you need to get The Beginner’s Guide To Bizarro Fiction, a new zine by Ben Fitts profiling great writers in the bizarro scene. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in receiving a copy.
Jesse Jinx is a porn star. She has dreams of starting her own adult film production company where she and the other actors will be treated more fairly. But there won’t be a production company if she can’t come up with the money—or if there aren’t any porn stars left. A deranged killer is on the loose, targeting adult entertainers, and choking them to death with a weapon that leaves no trace of itself. When the authorities refuse to help Jesse and her two closest friends, the three women decide to take matters into their own hands . . . with axes. As their colleagues fall one by one, they have a plan to stay alive—and they’re ready to hatchet!
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“A joy-ride of a read, Stone has created a compelling morality tale that’s moral lies somewhere in tomorrow’s déjà vu. Funny, sad, stunning in its imaginative realization, Andrew J. Stone’s new novel is as topical, timely, and telling as a Freudian slip.” —Laura Lee Bahr, author of Haunt and Angel Meat
“Andrew Stone writes like a laser beam shot out of a unicorn horn. His books will alter your brain in the best possible way. If an LSD Bible had babies with a hand grenade poetry collection, you’d get what Stone can do. He’s dazzling.” —Brian Allen Carr, author of Sip and Motherfucking Sharks
Long live the House Gods! Author Andrew J. Stone (The Mortuary Monster) envisions a unique dystopia where harmony and happiness means feeding our children to sentient, human-eating houses. Can the House Gods be defeated? One family is about to find out . . .
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