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Posts tagged “Michael Allen Rose

Review: House Hunter by S. T. Cartledge

By Michael Allen Rose

househunterImagine a world in which a shadowy agency funded by the government pulls strings behind the scenes to create a state of perpetual war and devastation in the name of progress. No no, wait, I don’t mean OUR world, I mean the fascinating and violent world of S. T. Cartledge’s House Hunter. Okay, well there might be some allegory at work here, it’s true, but at least we don’t have enormous buildings wandering around our skeletal cities pounding the hell out of each other with lightning cannons. We save lightning cannons for conflicts in the middle-east.

House Hunter is set in a society where buildings are semi-sentient and capable of much more than simply providing shelter and places for birds to crash into. Using a cerebrum, which is a sacred object imbued with special properties that allow a user to control the structure, houses can engage in combat, protect their users, and transform into a variety of animals, flying machines, weapons and creatures from our mythic lore. House hunters are those who wrangle the most ornery of houses and train them to be peaceful and helpful, something like wildlife conservationists with an added mixer of daring adventurer and the occasional splash of cock-fighting aficionado.

Cartledge introduces us to Imogen, a house hunter who quickly ends up going from a normal life (as normal as house hunting gets, anyway) to being on the run from a syndicate of influential people interested in consolidating their power using the might of the fabled Jabberhouse. Her only ally, a mysterious figure named Ellis who hides a past that leads to some great twists later in the book. From there, Cartledge spins a tale of adventure that takes the characters through ancient jungles, dark labyrinths and mysterious monasteries to try and stop the Association. This is a fun book, the story riddled with battles between bizarre monsters and exciting transfigurations. It’s obvious Cartledge is a fan of cartoon violence and giant monster flicks, as the series of battles in House Hunter hearkens back to battle scenes from the classic Godzilla films, with the addition of smaller figures (such as his human characters) swinging around and shooting lightning cannons, setting traps, and generally adding to the chaos.

The plot is lightning fast and lots of fun. Cartledge wisely sticks mostly to one through-line and though he occasionally riffs on things with slight detours, every chapter serves the central arc and drives toward the conclusion. It’s difficult to diverge from the main story in a book this short and keep things moving in the right direction, so we’re treated to a very tight and direct plot, which works well. The prose itself belies the author’s youth, and reads far better than a typical first novel. It’s obvious Cartledge has a love of language and storytelling, and that voice comes through in House Hunter. There is also a distinctive noir feel to the style of the book, with the gritty feel of urban environments utilized as characterization instead of setting, which is interesting.

I wish that there had been more room for House Hunter to really explore the world that we get glimpses of in the book. There are all sorts of amazing creatures and concepts on the periphery as we read through the book, everything from minotaurs and sprites to the weird insectile facial features and mutations of the citizenry. In that vein, House Hunter walks a line between the world of the familiar in a sort of magical-realism way and all out full-on bizarro. Because of the book being novella length, it always feels like there’s more just outside the reader’s line of sight. Perhaps we’ll see more of this world in future books, as there seems to be a great deal more to see. Intriguing, fascinating and strange, House Hunter is definitely worth picking up, especially for adventure fans and people who want the grime of noir jammed into their weird action stories. I’m also a huge fan of epilogues that cast the story they follow in a new light, or recontextualize pieces and parts of the narrative – something the author uses here to great effect. A great debut from Cartledge, who is sure to rise in the bizarro scene like a flaming house about to cold-cock a skyscraper.


Interview Outtakes with Michael Allen Rose

by Spike Marlowe
This is the final interview in my New Bizarro Author Series 2011-2012 interview cycle. For the past two months, I’ve posted interview outtakes on Bizarro Central from each of the interviews I’ve conducted with the seven other New Bizarro Authors, and then posted the rest of the interviews on my website at www.spikemarlowe.wordpress.com.

I’ve had a wonderful time getting to know my fellow NBAers, and sharing these interviews with you. Each of them is a fascinating person who has written an awesome book. Now, for this last interview, I have a little something extra special.

To begin, instead of outtakes from the entire interview, the first half of the interview is below. Secondly, in the past, I’ve conducted my New Bizarro Author Series interviews via email. This time I was lucky enough to sit down with the immensely creative and multi-talented Michael Allen Rose, author ofParty Wolves in Your Skull. During the interview, Michael had several very interesting guests arrive.

Believe me, I’ve learned my lesson about interviewing Bizarro authors in person – you never know if the “characters” from their book might show up.
Allow me to set the scene: Michael Allen Rose arrived at my San Francisco Mission apartment in the late afternoon on Sunday, March 11th. This Sunday was daylight saving’s, and so the sun was still fairly high in the sky. We exchanged pleasantries and talked about the great times we had at BizarroCon in November. Then we sat down on my futon and started chatting.

Spike:  Hi Michael, I’m thrilled to get to chat with you today about your New Bizarro Author Series book, Party Wolves in My Skull. I thoroughly enjoyed your book. Entertaining, sweet, witty, hilarious. I had a great time reading it. Now, in addition to being an author, you’re involved with a variety of creative endeavors. Would you tell us a little about all of them?

Michael: Basically if I’m not trying to balance too many things at once, I feel like I’m not doing enough. In addition to writing books, I produce theatre and performance events through my RoShamBo Theatre, there’s my industrial/experimental music project Flood Damage, and recently I’ve been working with Hot and Heavy Productions here in Chicago as a performer. That’s in addition to finishing up the Second City Conservatory this past year, sending out short stories and plays, and editing a friend’s first novel. As I’ve mentioned before, all the things I do kind of cross-pollinate. I never claim to be particularly good at any one thing, but I do a lot of different things, I’m lucky enough to have wonderful people in my life who support my vision. RoShamBo, Flood Damage, and my writing are all just different arms of what I like to do trying to “make art happen.” Whatever that means. Now, I guess I’m also a Party Wolf biographer. You do know this is non-fiction, right?

Spike: Uh, right. Of course it’s non-fiction. Well, in that case, according to your book, pretty much anyone, or anything, can get married in Tagus, ND. If you were to marry in Tagus, who, or what, would you marry?

Michael: Tagus was a lot of fun to write about, because it’s a real town, and it’s really strange. There was a rite of passage where I grew up, wherein teenagers would go out there at night and scare themselves stupid. I am reasonably sure that they’ll marry you there, though, if you can find anyone who isn’t a cannibal or a ghost. Or a cannibal ghost.

Spike: Hey, I’d marry a cannibal ghost.

Michael: That’s very progressive of you. As for your question, I suppose I could marry my cat. She seems to tolerate me. Or maybe I can marry myself. I almost never fight with myself.

Smitty: And you’re always in the mood for love!

Michael: Oh God…

At this point, five coyotes, looking more anthropomorphized than wild, walked in. One of them looked like the Fonz from Happy Days while another carried a massive, six-foot long marbled purple and green “water pipe” that exuded more “fog” than the San Francisco bay.

Spike: Uh, Michael. Why did a bunch of coyotes just walk in, and why does one of them look like a 1950s greaser? And that one – he can talk.

Michael: Coyotes? No, no, Spike, these are Party Wolves. The real genuine article. And they can all talk. In fact, they talk too much. And they win too often at poker. I suspect cheating. Anyway, I hope you don’t mind them tagging along. I asked them to wait outside.

Cooter: We wanted to make sure you told the whole story. The world needs to know the truth, man.

Spike: Um, sure. I mean, any friend of yours is… welcome. And I’m totally down with the truth. Please, make yourselves at home. Would you mind leaving that massive bong outside, though? I’m finding it a little hard to breathe.

Herb: Manners.

The bong-carrying coyote, excuse me, wolf, carefully placed his bong just outside the door where it continued to fill the hall with fog. He then proceeded to light up a huge blunt and sat down.
Spike:  So, Michael, how did you meet the party wolves?

Sophie: We actually approached Michael with the idea. Herb has seen a few of his plays.

Herb: Party.

Sophie: He’s actually quite the theatre buff. We were looking for someone to tell our story, and Mister Rose’s style resonated with us.

Cooter: Plus he works cheap.

Michael: As the world’s leading expert on Party Wolf cranial infestation and migration patterns, it just made sense to get involved in a project like this. It’s not often that a researcher has a real chance to study his field hands-on like this.

Smitty: You didn’t describe my junk enough. It’s much larger than Michael wrote in the book, Spike.

The wolf, whom I assumed to be Smitty, twirled his junk around like a lasso. I tried not to notice. But then he got up from his chair and sat down in between Michael and me on the futon while continuing to twirl his junk. This is also about the same time I started to get high off of whatever Herb the Herb was smoking. Seriously powerful stuff.

Spike: Wow, dude, I can see. I can see. Could you please quit twirling your junk around and put it away? It’s like in 4-D. It’s a little distracting. I’m trying to conduct an–

Rex: We’re still waiting for royalties.

Michael: Rex, I told you, I’m not really making money on this. Being a small press author is hard work, and the payoff is more about fulfilling artistic needs, you know? Passion and soul and—

Rex: Do small press authors run fast?

Michael: I—

Check out my blog at www.spikemarlowe.wordpress.com tomorrow, Wednesday, March 14th,  for the second half of my interview with Michael Allen Rose and the infamous party wolves.


Michael Allen Rose: King of Trades

 “Some folks dabble in multiple areas of interest. The risk, of course, is spreading oneself too thin. But that’s not a problem for Michael Allen Rose, author, actor, and musician. I had a chance to converse with him recently about his many artistic endeavors and past successes, including the recent publication of his first book, Party Wolves in my Skull.”

 

Click HERE to read the rest of the interview with Kirk Jones and find out what’s up with MAR and  the bathrobe.


Live in Chicago!

It’s the Bizarro Hour – Chicago edition! Do you like your fiction weird, off-kilter, insane? Do you wanna see a reading that goes way beyond someone standing there, nose in a book, droning on and on about nothing? This event will blow your freakin’ mind right out of your skull!

FEATURING:

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Famous Author Mykle Hansen has an important presentation about how even you can be affected by death! (And kittens!)

Noir bizarro-pulp author Garrett Cook presents his Old Tyme Bizarro Action Raydio show!

The world’s foremost expert on Party Wolf cranial infestation and migration patterns Michael Allen Rose will help keep you safe from invasive species!

The amazing Andersen Prunty shares tips from his Driver’s Guide to Hitting Pedestrians!

And MORE!

Featuring your lovely hosts, all the way from the U.K. the world-famous duo THE POP TARTS!

PRIZES TOO? HOLY BEES! That’s right, buy one of the bizarre and hilarious books on sale and get entered into a raffle for free books, art and other crazy great stuff!

ALL WHILE ENJOYING the WONDERFUL atmosphere and tasty treats of your favorite neighborhood coffee shop KNOCKBOX!

FREE! FREE? FREE!

MARCH 1ST, 2012
1001 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60622


Bizarro Hits Chicago!

It’s the Bizarro Hour – Chicago edition!
Do you like your fiction weird, off-kilter, insane? Do you wanna see a reading that goes way beyond someone standing there, nose in a book, droning on and on about nothing? This event will blow your freakin’ mind right out of your skull!

FEATURING:

Famous Author Mykle Hansen has an important presentation about how even you can be affected by death! (And kittens!)

Noir bizarro-pulp author Garrett Cook presents his Old Tyme Bizarro Action Raydio show!

The world’s foremost expert on Party Wolf cranial infestation and migration patterns Michael Allen Rose will help keep you safe from invasive species!

The amazing Andersen Prunty shares tips from his Driver’s Guide to Hitting Pedestrians!

And MORE!

Featuring your lovely hosts, all the way from the U.K. the world-famous duo THE POP TARTS!

PRIZES TOO? HOLY BEES! That’s right, buy one of the bizarre and hilarious books on sale and get entered into a raffle for free books, art and other crazy great stuff!

ALL WHILE ENJOYING the WONDERFUL atmosphere and tasty treats of your favorite neighborhood coffee shop KNOCKBOX located at 1001 N. California Ave., Chicago, IL 60622

Thursday, March 1, 8:00pm 10:00pm
FREE! FREE? FREE!