Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Book Review: The After-Life Story of Pork Knuckles Malone
2 Stars - Recommended Lightly - to fans of extreme bizarro literature, cause this one is fucked up in some weird ass ways. Not recommended as an entry novel to the genre.
Publisher: Bizarro Pulp Press
I've read my share of strange shit over the years.
I mean, being a fan of bizarro literature, that kinda comes with the territory, you know? After a while though, you get to picking and choosing books and publishers that are a perfect fit for your specific tastes, because lord knows there's a wide variety of subgenres under the Bizarro umbrella, and if you're not careful, you may end up reading some shit that'll have you throwing up a little (or a lot) in your mouth. It's like the equivalent of accidentally purchasing a death metal CD when what you were looking for was a soothing rock ballad. Sure, the howlish grunts of death metal music tortures your ears, but that's nothing compared the pain and suffering the freakish words of hard-core bizarro will inflict upon your brain. Permanent scarring. I kid you not. You will never be able to unsee the images those words painted behind your eyes. Not ever.
Even still, as careful as I am, I sometimes find myself reading a book that starts off pretty ok, and little by little pulls back the thin veil of normalcy it had hid behind, the wicked smile on its face growing brighter and brighter as it shows you more and more of its seriously fucked up shit, but sloooowly, so as not to scare you off. Cause, that way, it knows you'll be like:
"Huh. A story about a boy and his beloved pet pig. That sounds cute. And when it gets slaughtered it possesses its honey glazed ham parts and causes the people around it to become ham-hungry zombies? I think I can get into that."
"Weird, that van driver's nose leaked some green gooey shit when he picked up the boy and his hammy BFF. Oh hell, I'm already waist deep in the shit, I might as well just keep on wading through, how bad could it get"...
"Uh. The kid's aunt and uncle dress the meat up with pineapple ring eyes and deer antler ears? And start singing thrash metal songs with ' ham ' as lyrics before they start puking green shit on each other? And the haunted pig meat is sending subliminal memories straight to the kid's head? Aw hell, up to my chest in it now and it's really not that bad, I mean, I can handle this, as long as it doesn't get any weirder"...
... and then, with a sudden whoosh, the weirdness plunges you completely under, your eyes stinging with the rush of it, mouth and nose sucking it all in and bubbling it all back out as you silently scream at its betrayal:
"Damn you book! Your description didn't say jack shit about an oozing honey glazed ham meat mask. Or meat tenderizers tied to guys' dicks? And a drag queen with WHAT in her crotch???? What the fuck IS this shit?!?!
In The After-Life Story of Pork Knuckles Malone, MP Johnson covers so much ground so fast, that at times I felt like I was suffering from literary whiplash. I hung in there for awhile, open and receptive to some of the stranger shit that was he laying down, willing to forgive some of the more gross and disgusting parts, but the final third of the book just completely lost me. Chapters 17 through 22 felt like a totally different book. I guess I just saw other directions he could have taken the story, and was bummed that he had chosen to take it in the direction he did.
Ah well. And with such a pretty, tame cover to boot. MP, you sure did a good job hiding your crazy up front. Here's to hoping you haven't ruined ham for me....
Do you smell it too?