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Tuesday
Feb232016

Omega Gray

Omega Gray
Author/Publisher: Seb Doubinsky/Bizarro Pulp Press
Release Date: Feb 1st, 2016
Grade: 5 out of 5 meaty fucking balls
Reviewed By: Pawl Schwartz

Omega Gray
will rearrange your face. If you know who John C. Lilly is — well, this is a welcome addition to the canon of psychedelic literature — coming from the land of bizarro. Not entirely unexpected, but only in the sense that you never know what to expect from a bizarro author like Seb.

The thesis of this work: “As a neurophysicist, what he wanted to know was if Death, as a physical place, was only a figment of our imagination, or if it was another dimension which we accessed through the process of dying.”

Not hooked? Omega Gray opens in the jungle with our protagonist, a college professor, sampling ayahuasca (I assume) for the first time, testing the above thesis by trying all manner of psychedelics in order to try and break through to the other real dimension that is death.

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Sunday
Nov152015

Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits: A Novel

Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits: A Novel
Author/Publisher: David Wong/Thomas Dunne Books
Release Date: Oct 6th, 2015
Grade: 5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed By: Pawl Schwartz

Wong has excelled so far, graduating from Cracked.com university and now on to being a big-time author. His first book you already know is John Dies at the End, a fun-as-hell, hilarious ride for any fan of the great horror comedies (Evil Dead, Dead and Breakfast, Shaun of the Dead, etc.), which was made into a pretty mediocre movie. Weird, right? Wong is horror/comedy on the page, but when translated to film, it just doesn’t feel as explosive or clever. Perhaps it’s because I read the book first; but one thing is for sure: Wong hasn’t painted himself into a corner with his genre island, and he has excelled in his newest novel Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits.

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Wednesday
Sep022015

Armada

Armada
Author/Publisher: Ernest Cline/Crown
Release Date: July 14th, 2015
Grade: 3.5 out of 5 Meatballs
Reviewed by: Pawl Schwartz

If you were expecting this book to break new and exciting ground, then put a pin on those expectations now. For better or for worse, Cline has opted to venture down a path that is similar in story, content, and structure to Ready Player One in order to cement his authorial identity and territory, rather than striking out boldly in any new direction.

Armada, as Cline hinted in many pre-release interviews, is as close as we have gotten to a modern Ender’s Game. It could easily be called Ernest Cline’s Ender’s Game without a single change to the story.

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Thursday
Nov202014

Three Hundred Million

Three Hundred Million
Author/Publisher: Blake Butler/Harper Perennial
Release Date: October 14th, 2014
Grade: 5 out of 5 Meatballs
Reviewed by: Pawl Schwartz

Three Hundred Million blasts off like an LSD pipe bomb from page one, beginning in a messy big bang of vague, sociopathic declarations and aphasia-level word-salad that washes over and through the rest of the book like static on a TV, always struggling against the solid footing given to the reader by the interspersed monologues of "normal people," Gravey's "boys," and how they were drawn to our disoriented narrator, the thing inside Gravey.

“The World occurs because of god,” the book starts. “In our year here god is not a being but a system, composed in dehydrated fugue. Under terror-sleep alive we hear it heaving in and out from the long bruises on our communal eternal corpse, consuming memory. The wrecking flesh of Him surrounds, holds us laced together every hour, overflowing and wide open, permeable to inverse, which no identity survives.”

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Tuesday
Sep092014

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
Author/Publisher: Haruki Murakami / Knopf
Release date: August 12th, 2014
Grade: 4 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Pawl Schwartz

Tsukuru is colorless. He has a tight-knit group of friends that define him this way, their names all being Japanese for a different color, and his meaning ‘Gray’ and ‘Builder,’ which he is. Tsukuru builds train stations, and gets an almost aspergers-esque glee from doing so.

When Tsukuru comes back to visit his hometown, his group of friends quite vocally cast him aside and ask him never to contact them again, which he accepts without question. For years afterwards, Tsukuru lives in Tokyo, never visiting home, and never asking why he was excommunicated, living a very Murikami-esque lonely existence, only without the Japanese joy-in-simplicity attitude that most Murikami characters are imbued with. Tsukuru is in a dark place, a lonely place, and he plans to do nothing about it. That is, until a new girlfriend forces him to confront his childhood friends and get some closure on the situation, to free Tsukuru from his constant misanthropy and fear (not to mention, erectile dysfunction).

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Monday
Jan272014

Annihilation

Annihilation
Author/Publisher: Jeff Vandermeer/Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release date: February 4th 2014
Grade: 5 out of 5 Meatballs
Reviewed by: Pawl Schwartz

If you are reading this article and have never read Jeff Vandermeer before, well, you’re in for a treat. Annihilation may be both the best place to start with him, as well as the first book in what may be a modern classic of post-apocalyptic sci-fi. I’ve followed him since 2006’s The City of Saints and Madmen, which has to be right up there with Bradbury as far as quality interconnected short story collections go. The Strange Case of Mr. X in particular sticks with me because of how clever it is and how wonderfully it sums up what Vandermeer does well. In that story, the author of the short story collection we are reading is being held in an insane asylum within the world he has created, scrawling fantasy stories about our real world. Jeff Vandermeer is a master of the uniquely weird, the gory, and pulling twisted narrative out like a loose stitch. The best thing about him though, is that through all of this, he is as fun to read as a comic book, but it would have to be an Alan Moore comic, because goddamn is Vandermeer verbose in the best possible way.

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