Showing posts with label carlton mellick III. Show all posts
Showing posts with label carlton mellick III. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Book Reviews: Carlton Mellick III - Warrior Wolf Women of the Wastelands & The Menstruating Mall

My rant about the relevance of horror fiction nowadays is a perfect excuse to kick off some book reviews I’ve been meaning to post for a while without finding the time.  Yes, I’m another (sort of) horror writer writing about other horror books, but I’m also regarded as the great unwashed self-published slime by anyone who’s anyone. 

Ooh, someone’s chip on their shoulder is showing.

No community connections here.  Unless it’s one of my eXcessica/Literotica stable-mates, in which case I’ll put a ruddy big disclaimer at the top of the post.

First up some Bizarro from the mutton-chopped master of madness, Carlton Mellick III

Warrior Wolf Women of the Wasteland.

Okay, so this is where the hype comes from.  And it’s deserved.  An awesome ride that’s hugely entertaining as well as making mincemeat out of more serious books tackling similar themes.  I love the verve and confidence.  It’s like Mellick is saying, ‘Look, I can create a future world based off of McDonald’s Happy Meals, fill it with furry chicks, giant wolves and multi-armed mutants, and it will still have more to say than any number of serious, dull and downright miserable SF dystopias.’

In a post-apocalyptic future, survivors are living in a walled city surrounded by wasteland.  Authority is what you’d expect if a multinational fast food conglomerate bought the government, judiciary and police force.  There are troubles in happy-happy-we-will-fuck-you-up-if-you’re-not-smiling utopia.  Men are growing extra limbs and the women turn into wolves if they get too sexually aroused.  Just as with everything else defective in modern consumerism, when this happens the unfortunates are thrown out to fend for themselves in a wasteland where female werewolf biker gangs battle mutant armies led by a man with a giant hamburger for a head.

There’s gratuitous weird sex, furry apocalyptic bikers and all kinds of imaginative craziness, but throughout it all Mellick keeps a solid grasp on the fundamentals of plot and character.  Despite the odd building blocks, the story holds the reader’s attention without floating off in a cloud of nonsensical froth.  The only criticism I have is how eager the survivors were willing to throw in the furry bikers.  Mellick does give reasons for the survivor’s actions, but they didn’t seem that strong given how eager the wolf women were to kill them or worse.  It’s a minor blemish in an otherwise thoroughly entertaining read.

I’d love to see this made into a film, but as it would require every litigious corporate fast food behemoth to go out of business first, I suspect it might be a long time coming.  We can all do our part—don’t eat burgers, buy a vindaloo instead!

The Menstruating Mall

This is a shorter read.  Ten characters are trapped in a mall that appears to be menstruating.  Weird shit happens, some of them die, and then the mall and survivors start to change into something else.  Not as strong as Warrior Wolf Women as there isn’t much underpinning the story other than skewering some obvious stereotypes and being weird-as-fuck for the sake of being weird-as-fuck.  Fast, fun and inventive, but by the end of it I found myself sharing the same sentiments as one of the cast when they had their “Screw this, I’m outta here!” moment.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Recently, I Have Been Reading... #1

One of the most important pieces of advice they give to writers is to read lots. This was something I used to do. In my teens and early twenties I was a voracious devourer of books. Then I fell out of the habit. Juggling a full-time job with writing and other hobbies doesn’t leave a lot of time left over. Plus, I tend to think time spent reading is time I should be spending writing, especially when self-imposed deadlines start looming. Sometimes it’s good to eat a few books to blast the cobwebs away though. This is what I’ve munched through on my kindle lately:

Christopher Fowler – Hell Train
One of my favourite horror writers from back when I used to read more voraciously. This is an enjoyable romp featuring Brits abroad being ghastly and clueless, and meeting imaginative and bloody ends on a train bound for Hell. Well, sort of. It’s a story within a story of a writer pitching a script to Hammer at a time when the studio was falling out of favour (They’re better now). Part of the fun is trying to guess which famous Hammer actor Fowler has in mind for each character.

Carlton Mellick III – The Morbidly Obese Ninja
I’ve been meaning to check out the Bizarro (sub-?)genre for a while. Mellick is the granddaddy when it comes to fucked-up weirdness. This is a manga-esque tale of a 700-pound corporate ninja. Short, but it zips along and Mellick does a great job of providing a rational underpinning to his very weird world.

J.F. Gonzalez and Mark Williams – Clickers

Entertaining pulp horror. Crab things with scorpion tails and venom that makes limbs burst like overripe bananas emerge from the sea and threaten a New England town. Ultimately, the clickers are fairly dumb critters and it’s easy enough for the (well-armed) townsfolk to keep them under control once the initial surprise has worn off. The things that follow the clickers out of the sea, not so much…

Wrath James White – Like Porno for Psychos

Whoa, this is some good shit. A collection of some really nasty short stories. If you like my work, but want something even darker, this might be up your street. It’s definitely more on the horrifying rather than the arousing side, but I found it encouraging (for me anyway) that’s it’s possible to fling around the cocks and pussies and not be stuck in the porn ghetto. Faves for me were “Feeding Time” and “Nothing Better To Do”.

Brian Keene – Kill Whitey
A dock worker rescues a stripper from a seemingly unkillable Russian mob boss. A fast-paced page-turner that reminded me of the early Koontz thrillers-with-a-supernatural-twist I used to enjoy reading.

Cameron Pierce – Gargoyle Girls of Spider Island

Another Bizarro piece and…um…yeah. A group of teens borrow a yacht, get attacked by pirates and end up on an island where the girls look like centrefolds by day and turn into rapacious, raping, vagina monsters by night. It’s short and starts right in the action, but I’m not sure what to make of it. Part of me thought it was too silly, with characters more suited to a cartoon, and another part of me thought it was fucking hilarious. Probably best to think of it as a horror comedy—like an XXX version of one of Peter Jackson’s early splatter movies—to fully appreciate it. I suspect Bizarro might be beyond the comprehension of my simple little brain.

Curse you, Cameron Pierce! You made me feel old.

This gets a sex scene. It's the woman.

Edward Lee – The House
Lee is the master of hardcore fucked-up gross-out porno-horror. This is two novellas, “The Pig” and “The House”, in one. “The Pig” is the better of the two, a disgusting yet blackly hilarious tale of a luckless filmmaker falling foul of the mob and forced into making “speciality” porno’s. Nearly every taboo is gleefully transgressed in some style and the ending is satisfying.

“The House” isn’t quite as strong. While it also has moments of memorable grossness (Shake-a-Puddin’, blergh), Lee never escapes the straitjacket of Haunted House conventions.

Ah, that was good to blast out some cobwebs. If anyone has any similar suggestions for things to read, feel free to pop them in the comments.

(Oh, and don't worry I'm about to try and outdo Lee, WJW and others in nastiness. I know my niche and what I'm good at :) )

Friday, August 06, 2010

A Bizarro challenger emerges

This caught my attention in the Guardian a week or so ago. They describe it as the literary equivalent to cult movies, which piqued my attention as it brings back fond memories of staying up late to watch whatever weirdness was showing on Channel 4 or Alex Cox’s Moviedrome. Titles like ‘Shatnerquake’ and ‘Ass Goblins of Auschwitz’ are clearly not meant to be taken seriously, but are they not as bad as they sound, so bad they’re good or so bad they’re just terrible?

They have a nice website and I liked the two articles by Carlton Mellick III. Good storytelling is universal, no matter how weird the concept might be.

I noticed they also feature a few of Edward Lee’s books. I remember his “Mr. Torso” being far beyond anything else in Hot Blood IV for sheer deranged inventiveness.

Ah, is this where all the horror writers ran off to when their genre was overrun by sparkly vampires?

And yeah, the mercenary bastard in me was wondering if this was a market I could try and hawk my wares in. One of the book ideas I’m chipping away with at the moment does have the working title: “Porno Fighters from Planet Earth” :).

Also I see it as another challenge. Even though it’s fairly juvenile, I often write with the aim of trying to take on and beat the worst excesses of Japanese manga/anime for weird and freaky sex. It’s an impossible mission. Every time I think I’m getting close I run across another Apocalypse Zero and realise I’ve got a long way to go.

I hadn’t really thought about films/books from the west. I thought they were lacking that essence of WTF imagination. Only goes to show I wasn’t really looking hard enough... :)