Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Huh?’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: March 2022] Jailbroke

This was the third of three books by Asman that I received at work.  It was also the least enjoyable of the three.

The story is a simple one.  Set in the future when humans are not the greatest species on the planet (they go by Terrans now), a spaceship that is run primarily by AI is ferrying humans around.  Using Asimov’s first principal, the AI, who are now vastly smarter and more useful than thehumans, cannot harm the humans.  Their existence is predicated on the fact that are have to help the humans.

Until, that is, one of them is accidentally fed biofuel that has a human part in it.  This jailbreaks their programming and allows them to kill humans indiscriminately.

Since this is a spaceship (a bottle episode), there’s not a lot that can happen.

In Nunchuck City, Asman delighted in violence.  In this story, he delights in gore.  Like the way he describes in loving detail how the space drill works on someone’s skull. (more…)

Read Full Post »

SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: March 2022] Nunchuck City

I rather enjoyed Brian Asman’s book Man, Fuck This House.  And since I had copies of two of his other books at my desk, I thought I’d give them a try too.

Nunchuck City is a very different books from House.  It is an over-the-top comedy/ninja story.  It doesn’t exactly travel in cliché as much as it explodes the clichés and goes past them into hilarious territory.

As long as you know what you’re getting with the book, it’s a really fun and funny (and fast) read.

Plus, Asman has a ton of fun with local businesses as well.

The story is set in Turbo City.  Skip Baxter, the Most Dangerous Man in Turbo City (even if the city won’t see fit to let him register his fists as Deadly Weapons) is about to get his ass kicked.  This is no surprise.  Baxter learned everything he knew about Karate from watching a three day binger marathon of kung-fu movies, declaring himself a sensei and opening a gym.  He got his ass kicked by eight-year olds.  But you can imagine his pride at realizing that he taught those kids to kick his ass.

But this time he is about to get his ass kicked by an actual Ninja, Kundarai Saru.  Saru intends to kick the ass of everyone in Turbo City until he can take on the mayor.  There is a law in Turbo City that anyone who can defeat the Mayor in battle will become Mayor.   And once Saru is Mayor of Turbo City, nothing can stop the rest of his plans.

Then we meet Nunchuck Nick.  He was trained to be a ninja.  But he found that he preferred cooking.  So after an incident he’d prefer to forget, he moved to Turbo City with the intent of selling the best Fondue in the world.  He parked his food truck right in front of The Crepes of Wrath, a popular creperie in which the waiters were mean stand up comedians who would personally insult you while you ate.  (more…)

Read Full Post »

SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: March 2022] Man, Fuck This House

Okay, so this book has the best title.

I didn’t expect a lot from it, but I thought I’d give it a read. not really knowing exactly what to expect with a title like that.

So the novel is a horror story.  And it isn’t all that funny (it’s not supposed to be).  The simple summation is that a house becomes possessive of the person who is taking care of it.  The house wants to make that person happy and is content to get rid of everyone else.

So a family has moved to this house on a cul de sac in New Mexico.

There are two children.  And older daughter and a younger son.  I was a little bummed at the outset to learn that the son consumed his twin in the womb, because it seemed so ripe for cliche, but Asman did some interesting things with that idea.  The daughter is an aloof teenager.

The husband is kind of a goof and not really all that present.

Really, the story is about the wife and mom, Sabrina. (more…)

Read Full Post »

SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: March 16, 2022] In the Jaws of Life

The version pictured here is not the one I read–there’s no pictures of it online!  My copy was translated by Celia Hawkesworth and Michael Henry Heim.

This book is a collection of short stories from throughout Ugrešić’s career.

The book has three (or 8) stories in it.  I discovered Ugrešić through The 2021 Short Story Advent Calendar (story #2).  “Lend Me Your Character” was weird and cool and was probably my favorite story in the collection (it’s here as well).

When I read a little about Ugrešić, I found that she was born in Croatia, but left the region when the war in Yugolslavia broke out, saying she was post-national and refusing to acknowledge her Croatian heritage.  She currently resides in Amsterdam.

Her stories are wonderful mash ups of fairy tales, feminist theory, “traditional women’s writing” and a lot of sexuality.

“Steffie Speck in the Jaws of Life (a patchwork novel)” (1981) [trans C.H.]
This story has so much going on that it’s easy to overlook that it’s a fairly straightforward story, just with a lot of filigree tacked on.  The story opens with a “Key to the Various Symbols” and includes things like — dotted lines with scissors (cut the text along the line as desired); slashes (pleats: make large thematic stitches on either side of the author’s seam); four equals signs (make a metatextual knot and draw in as desired).  And so on.  And the contents is actually listed as “The Paper Pattern” which lays out each section according to a sewing pattern.  Each section heading is given a parenthetical comment (tacking, padding, hemming, interfacing).

When you start the story you see that the symbols are indeed throughout the story, although honestly after a few pages I gave up trying to figure out what they might mean.

The story starts with the narrator saying that her friends told her to write “a women’s story.”  The author looks at several lonely hearts letters in the paper and picks the fifth one as the basis.  Steffie, aged 25, is a typist by profession.  She’s lonely and sad and lives with her aunt. (more…)

Read Full Post »

SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: January 9, 2021] The Panda, The Cat and the Dreadful Teddy

This book is subtitled “A Parody” but it does not say what it is a parody of.  And I genuinely had no idea.  I guessed maybe Winnie-the Pooh.  But I was wrong.  According to the reviewers it is a parody of The Boy, The Mole, The Fox & The Horse, by Margerie Swash and artist Emmanuel Santos, which I have never heard of.  Apparently it’s a book of positivity.

This book is a book of negativity.  The handwriting is really hard to read and the drawings are really crude (intentionally).  And then every other page shows Panda picking on the Dreadful Teddy, who is ever the optimist.

There’s few words per page like Panda seeing Teddy and saying “That’s the little arsehole I’m trying to avoid.”  And, “oh shit, it’s that awful Teddy.”

Then there’s the Cat who is kind of a mediator: “I find that Teddy is full of tolerance and empathy”  Panda replies, “I find he’s full of shit.” (more…)

Read Full Post »

SOUNDTRACK:  hiatus

[READ: December 12, 2021] “Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my seventh time reading the Calendar.  The 2021 Short Story Advent Calendar is a deluxe box set of individually bound short stories.

As always, each story is a surprise, so you won’t know what you’re getting until you crack the seal every morning starting December 1. Once you’ve read that day’s story, check this link where editor Alberto Manguel is providing daily commentary on each of the stories he selected for this year’s calendar.

This was the first story in this collection that I really didn’t like.  I once wanted to read all of Kafka’s stories, but this one was so remarkably tedious, that it took me a few days to read it.

The premise is that the village has a singer named Josephine.  And no one understands why her voice is so magical to them.  So he’ll try to find out why.

And that’s it.  For 24 pages. (more…)

Read Full Post »

SOUNDTRACK:  hiatus

[READ: December 7, 2021] “The Complete Gentleman”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my seventh time reading the Calendar.  The 2021 Short Story Advent Calendar is a deluxe box set of individually bound short stories.

As always, each story is a surprise, so you won’t know what you’re getting until you crack the seal every morning starting December 1. Once you’ve read that day’s story, check this link where editor Alberto Manguel is providing daily commentary on each of the stories he selected for this year’s calendar.

Manguel has this to say about Amos Tutuola:

He was educated in an English school but never quite abandoned his native Yoruba. Instead, he began to write stories and novels drawn from the collective imagination of his people in an English that is certainly not that of English schoolbooks, but is enriched by strange turns of phrase and an idiosyncratic grammar and spelling that the reader can follow easily.

That’s pretty interesting.

As is this story which is, indeed, pretty unusual.

Each small section has a heading which outlines the action.  First we meet the “complete” gentleman.  He was perfect in every way.  So much so that a woman decided to follow him. (more…)

Read Full Post »

SOUNDTRACK:  hiatus

[READ: December 1, 2021] “The Moon over the Mountain”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my seventh time reading the Calendar.  The 2021 Short Story Advent Calendar is a deluxe box set of individually bound short stories.

As always, each story is a surprise, so you won’t know what you’re getting until you crack the seal every morning starting December 1. Once you’ve read that day’s story, check this link where editor Alberto Manguel is providing daily commentary on each of the stories he selected for this year’s calendar. (more…)

Read Full Post »

[DID NOT ATTEND: October 29, 2021] Pure Halloween with Yves Tumor

Yves Tumor is a fascinating musician and I would really like to see them live.

I was really surprised when I saw this announcement that they’d be playing in Philly in a club I’d never heard of.

I already had tickets to see Mannequin Pussy for that night, but this show seemed to start after that one.  And yet, from this write up, I couldn’t tell what was going on or if Yves Tumor was even actually going to be there:

Making Time Pure Halloween™ Feat Yves Tumor
Warehouse on Watts
Fri 29 Oct 2021, 8:00 PM EDT

Dear Philadelphia….. I can fee THE THRILL of PURE HALLOWEEN PUMPING through my veins, Philadelphia !!! (more…)

Read Full Post »

SOUNDTRACK: hiatus

[READ: August 2021] World Piece 1

I saw this book at work and thought it looked really intriguing.  I liked Agroshka’s drawing style immediately and then the story really captured me,

It opens in a basketball game. Lucas Densen is a decent (but not great) player for his high school team (the Pulsars).  He makes a nice block, but he threw a terrible brick.  However, he’s really cute and quite popular with the ladies.

However, he’d really rather be spending time at his mother’s archaeological dig.  They haven’t found much stuff in this dig, but while Lucas is there the crew has a small discovery.  Lucas’ mother tells him not to touch anything, but when he sees something, he can’t help but grab it which sends him through a portal to another world where he is left holding the earth like it’s a basketball. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »