A review of Tumor Fruit, by Carlton Mellick III, followed promptly by a review of Diegeses, by D. Harlan Wilson.
Tumor Fruit is Carlton Mellick’s island survival story. It’s also a science fiction novel. Set on another planet passing through our galaxy, a space shuttle full of Earth tourists crash lands in the acid-ocean of planet Barrack. Mellick’s writing is too bizarre to be real, but in Tumor Fruit (and Cuddly Holocaust) Mellick plays the devil’s advocate as if to say “obviously it couldn’t actually happen, but what if it does?” This is what you get when you have a story that is set in the real world and the world has since been transformed into bizarro. He plays this to his favour, evoking a visceral horror that is part strange and surreal, and part real.
There is a wide range of characters with fascinatingly strange backstories which carry on while the survival situation just gets worse and worse. It is out of this world, which makes the situation far more grim than your average island survival story. Everything is more deadly, more poisonous, more apocalyptic. And the survivors are going all sorts of crazy.
It’s a massive bizarro novel. It’s terribly grim and violent. It’s packed with mutant alien monsters and psychotic characters. It’s explosive. I loved it.
Diegeses is the same old D. Harlan Wilson we know and love. His writing flows from one sentence to another to another real smooth and yet the events which occur may be violently absurd or incredibly jarring.
Diegeses is a story told in two parts: The Bureau of Me, and the Idaho Reality. The Bureau of Me is focused on the specific happenings of a man named Curd, where the Idaho Reality covers everything outside of that. Curd is in it, but he is not the centre of it. If you know D. Harlan Wilson, you know ‘reality’ is something he likes to play around with. So what is Diegeses about? There is Curd, who seems to be an ultraviolence magnet. Then there’s the guy that plays Curd in a soap opera, wrapped up in self-indulgence. Sex and violence go hand in hand, and the story reads like a film – highly visual and focusing on the events as they occur moment to moment. In spite of this, if it were a film, it would be wildly abstract and difficult to grasp at exactly what it is.
As is expected of D. Harlan Wilson, Diegeses is fast-paced and ultra-violent. It is visceral and grotesque. It walks in, shoots up the place, blood and exploding body parts, fucks the secretary, then leaves.