More Stories about Spaceships and Cancer by Casper Kelly (Submission)
Genre: Bizarro fiction, short stories, social commentary in a fun, absurd way
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Summary: “More Stories about Spaceships and Cancer” is a collection of absurd short stories. Using several “hosts” including a skeleton, a super hot dead chick, and a werewolf who works in a fast food place, “you” the reader are guided through a bizarre world of stories that are anything but ordinary. There is no pretending to be something they’re not – these stories are 100% smart with intelligent things to say – the cave-like vaginas, large breasted ninjas, and universe-ending ejaculations are unapologetically awesome and necessary. This book will make you think about your place in the world and contemplate what’s really important in life. But mostly you’ll just laugh a lot.
Casper Kelly has written for Harvey Birdman, Squidbillies, Aqua Teen Hunger Force and more. He’s won an award for his work on “Scooby Doo.” He also asked us if we would review his book – I AM SO GLAD HE DID. More Stories about Spaceships and Cancer was absolutely awesome. It reminded me of buying a book or a DVD of Stephen Colbert’s – it’s immediately funny before you even get to the actual content. I was dying laughing at the Table of Contents which featured things like “These are not Short Story Titles” and “Go Ahead. Tap it. The Links Don’t Even Correspond to Anything.” Turns out it’s a story of its own, but I won’t spoil the ending. The dedication then reads, “For You.” For me? I’m so stoked before I even start reading!
Moving on to the Introduction, the book is in second person and a skeleton bursts out of my e-reader and introduces himself as host, Professor Badbones who along with assistant Snervley try to convince me that I do in fact want to read this book. Badbones compares a collection of short stories to “a hodgepodge of one night stands.” They’re not really long enough to want to develop a real relationship and usually they don’t really go together or connect. He continues with a bunch of commentary about the standard story and what we’ve come to expect from it and how even if it isn’t good, we still appreciate the symbolism or whatever. After that, we dive into the first story – where a duck is sad about his divorce and just when you think things are too normal, a guy gets sucked into a giant TARDIS vagina. (It’s so much bigger on the inside.)
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The Meowmorphosis by Franz Kafka and Coleridge Cook (Advanced Reader Copy)
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Genre: Literary mash-up, absurdism, parody, retelling, fluffy kittens
Rating: 2.8 out of 5 stars
Summary: Gregor Samsa awakes to discover that he is an adorable kitten. He is not a metaphor for alienation or isolation, but merely a big fluffy thing that one would rather cuddle with than search for symbolism in. When Quirk Classics gets their claws in another masterpiece, you will be wishing that you were reading A Farewell to Arms and Legs or The Scarlet Bloodletter instead.
This is the third advanced copy of a novel that I have won/been gifted by Quirk Books. They are an amazing publishing company who truly cares about their customers and I love most everything they put out, but it would be wrong of me to say I enjoyed the newest offering from their Quirk Classic series.
The Meowmorphosis follows the same basic format of the other literary mash-ups, classic text plus a fun extra to enhance or alter our perception of the original. So when I heard about a re-imagining of Kafka’s novella The Metamorphosis but with Gregor Samsa being transformed into a kitten, I was intrigued. Sadly, the novel itself does not deliver. Well, it delivers, it just doesn’t deliver anything good. Or anything very kitten-y.
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The Haunted Vagina by Carlton Mellick III
Genre: Bizarro fiction, horror, absurdism, bat-shit crazy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Summary: Two strangers meet on a train and fall in love. That is until Stacy tells Steve her vagina is haunted and their relationship takes a drastic turn.
After Steve is forced to kill a skeleton that crawls out of his lover’s vajayjay, Stacy decides to send him through the hellmouth, wherein he discovers that her vagina is a gateway to another dimension.
Armed with only a camera and a walkie talkie, Steve is forced to explore Stacy’s nether regions for the prosperity of their relationship, and the chance to delve deeper than any man has delved before.
Chances are if you saw the word “haunted” and “vagina” and were immediately intrigued, curious, or your interest was piqued in any way, Bizzaro fiction is the genre for you.
For those not yet inundated into the literary movement known as Bizarro, it was created ten years ago by small publishing presses and a strong group of devoted authors. It has been described by its creators as, “Franz Kafka meets John Waters”, “Dr. Suess of the post-apocalypse”, “Alice in Wonderland for adults”, and “Japanese animation directed by Stephen Lynch”. The stories always border on the bizarre (often crossing the line) and are generally written in novella rather than novel form.
The most populist example I can compare Bizarro literature to is the movie The Human Centipede: First Sequence which came out last year. To many, Bizarro can be viewed as an extremely weird premise, but with an underlying symbolic message. The aforementioned movie also has an extremely weird premise, but lacks an overall message. Whereas The Haunted Vagina has the theme of man being enslaved by the female vagina, the only message one can ascertain from “The Human Centipede” is to learn to properly change a tire and to never enter a crazy German man’s house alone. If you refuse to learn this lesson, you will inevitably wind up sewn ass to mouth to your best friend.
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