Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Review: Shit Luck
4 Stars - Strongly Recommended, esp for those who are looking to get into the Bizarro genre
Publisher: Eraserhead Press
Released: November 2016
When I was younger, much much younger, I had a recurring dream in which I would awaken early in the morning, flat on my back in bed. When I opened my eyes, I noticed that the bedroom ceiling had dropped, so low that if I had attempted to sit up, I would bash my head against it. But as my eyes began to adjust to the grey morning light, I realized that it wasn't the ceiling. It was a huge spider's web. And as I peered more closely into it, and to my left and right, I could see things suspended in the webbing. Arms. Ankles and feet. Thighs. All oozing blood down the various strands that held them in place. Was that my sister up there? My parents?
At this point in my dream, I would start to panic and then I would hear a scuttling sound from further down the wall, towards what was the corner of my room. I knew it was a giant spider and I knew once it sensed I was awake, it would come for me. So, gathering all of my courage, I would roll myself towards the end of my bed, and softly lower myself to the ground, where I would crawl my ass across the floor and start to slide down the stairs to the living room. I could barely breathe, and I was constantly looking over my shoulder to see if the spider was coming, always hearing that strange clicking and tapping noise that I imaged was coming from its forelegs and monstrous, salivating mouth.
The spider would never get me - some times it would give chase and I would wake up before I got downstairs. Other times, I made it all the way down the stairs, through the living room, and into my parents room before I could hear it approach.
You need to understand that I am fucking terrified of spiders. This dream was hell to me. And when I would wake up from it, I remember wondering what would happen if I died in the dream, what if that spider finally caught me? What if there was no heaven, what if I got trapped in this dream, in this terrifying, panicky escape from becoming some giant spider's dinner, that just kept playing on a continuous loop, until I finally lost the will to fight it and just let the damn thing get me?
Tiffany Scandal's SHIT LUCK brought this dream right the fuck back to mind. Her nameless protagonist is having the shittest shit day ever. Her boyfriend dumps her in a text, her car breaks down, the rental she picks up is vandalized and set on fire, and when she gets to work, her boss fires her. When her bff hears the news the next day, she drags our girl out to a frat party in an effort to cheer her up. But all it does is depress her more, until she notices a strange, older man wallflowering it up and attempts to strike up a conversation. A few drinks later, she's laying on the dance floor, dying.
What follows is pure fever dream perfection.
Our now-dead protagonist is met by a doughy dude who is also dead, and he proceeds to school her on the rules of the after life. There is no heaven. There is no reunion with her loved ones. There is no haunting or spooking of the living. Only an infinite series of increasingly bizarre worlds in which she will randomly "spawn" into each time she dies. Like in a video game. With unlimited "lives". She will remain in her current body, and that body will continue to age. Until she turns to dust and disappears forever.
And oh yeah, that strange, older man who she tried chatting up at the party? He appears to be chasing her from world to world, where she continues to die at his hands. Over. and. Over. and. Over again.
It's like my spider dream, only much more gory and glorious. And try as she might, there is no escaping the brutal deaths her pursuer has planned for her. It's perfectly told and it's fabulously fast paced. I read the entire book in one sitting.
It's quite the departure from her previous novel JIGSAW YOUTH, though I get the feeling Tiffany has sprinkled some of her own experiences into this character's backstory.
It's also quite the little mindfuck and I highly recommend it as a gateway book into the bizarro genre. There is gore and bodily fluids and lots of cursing, without all the gross hardcore body horror shit.
Tiffany's one badass book writing bitch. And I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!