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Entries in fiction (4)


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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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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The Familiar: Volume 1, One Rainy Day In May

The Familiar: Volume 1, One Rainy Day In May
Author/Publisher: Mark Z Danielewski/Pantheon
Release Date: May 12th, 2015
Grade: 2.5 out of 5 Meatballs
Reviewed by: Pawl Schwartz

Danielewski is a hard author for me to ignore. New, original, inventive, experimental, and highly visual, using the language of Comics and Film to spread words around the page like a verbal Jackson Pollock, throwing traditional formatting out of eight different windows to get there. I loved House of Leaves but have been disappointed in everything he has put out since that work because of one large glaring flaw: Danielewski’s formatting play and dense, beautiful language (especially in Only Revolutions) often serve as pseudo-intellectual window dressing for a very simple or very underdeveloped story, like a cake made of icing. I’ve often wondered if I was tricked by this on my first go-round with Danielewski in House of Leaves, but on re-read, I’ve come to the conclusion that House of Leaves is in fact good, just not as good as I thought it was. The experimental window dressing in House of Leaves informs the story for the most part, except for the fact that it allows the novel to come to no conclusion by cloaking even the narrative in a guise of “the mysterious unknown” that is the source of the horror of the ever-growing house.

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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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