Review: You Are Sloth! by Steve Lowe

Review

You Are Sloth!

Steve Lowe

Eraserhead Press, 2013

131 pages

HAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!! Bizarro is pretty cool and all, but this book mixes cool and dumb and huh and smart in the best way possible. It’s written in the second person point of view. YOU are Sloth! Why second person? Because fuck you is why! This is Steve Lowe at his funniest. You turn into a sloth, you get mixed up in some sort of moronic internet spam/bizarre sex fetish plot and you’re on the hunt for the broken-English-speaking spammer who put you in this situation. But it’s pretty difficult, because you’re a sloth. Why? The logic is a little fuzzy (who am I kidding, it’s VERY fuzzy), and you go through the thought processes trying to answer questions that are largely unanswerable. You go along for the ride. It’s in your slothy nature. The characters are cartoonish without seeming insincere. The plot gets more absurd as the story progresses. It’s fun, it’s wild, at times it’s terrifying/gross, but it’s always, always entertaining. Steve has constructed a book that shouldn’t work, all things considered. It probably COULDN’T work, if it were left in the hands of another author. What should be a gimmick is instead a crazy fun book that works so well. I’d imagine part of this would also come down to having Kevin Donihe on board as editor. I often find myself very impressed with the books he edits and the authors he chooses to work with. Steve Lowe is certainly no exception. You are Sloth! Buy Sloth Now!

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Review: Colony Collapse, by J.A. Tyler

Review, Uncategorized

Colony Collapse

J.A. Tyler

Lazy Fascist, 2013

128 pages

I’ve had this book sitting around for quite a while, but I only got around to reading it recently. I’m like that with a lot of books. Especially if I’m not overly familiar with the author. I started it a few times, but never really sunk into it. I bought it because it’s got that trademark Lazy Fascist aesthetic to it. The strange, vague plot description, the stunning cover design, and the promise of high quality, unique prose. This book reads like a dream. Or a puzzle. On the back cover, there is simply the word “Deathly” and nothing else. This book is about a man who is a deer lost in the forest. He builds a house with a chimney and gutters for the rain. He traps foxes and bears and burns them with the house to the ground. He is looking for his deer-brother. His brother has ten daughters that thrown death blankets over him. He imagines he has daughters of his own, made out of forest and mountain and sky. He searches for his brother, yet all he has to go off is a piece of paper with a black dot on it which signifies his own death. If this is not a dream or a puzzle, then the forest must represent some form of maze. It feels like the sort of book that each person would read and take away something different from it. The prose is very rhythmic and cyclic. It always comes back to being lost in the forest, building and burning houses, facing death, huddling under death blankets, imagining daughters, trapping and killing foxes and bears, and searching for his brother. Is this nature? Why is this family so elusive? What is the meaning of being lost and alone in the forest? Searching for family.

For a while I felt as though it were all about the character coming to terms with his own sexuality. He wants to have a family like his brother. He wants so many daughters. He is loved by a woman, but he is incapable of loving her back. He loves his imagined daughters, yet he cannot love a woman. A homosexual deer in the woods, abandoned by his family? Searching for his kind yet only discovering he doesn’t belong anywhere? I was having these thoughts later on in the book, yet by its conclusion I felt like this ‘theory’ I had wasn’t the solution to the puzzle, the riddle to the end of the maze. Instead, I don’t think this book can be summed up with one single crystalized idea. Nature is complicated. It becomes more complicated the moment you try to break it down and understand it. It becomes jarred the moment you try to build it up into something it isn’t. It’s about death and loss and family. It’s about love, searching for something, trying to figure things out for yourself. The prose is fantastic, the imagery is vivid, yet fluid – ever changing. Colony Collapse is introspective. Colony Collapse is mesmerizing.

Review: Chick Bassist,

Review

I finished reading this book yesterday. I read it on and off for about a couple of weeks. It’s not a long read, and you could easily bang it out in a couple of hours. I probably would have preferred it more like that. However, I found reading it in short bursts to be pretty engaging in its own way. What Ross has written here is a stylish, gritty punk-rock novella. Chick Bassist primarily follows Erin Locke: the Queen of Rock, Christian, and Robbie Snow. It frequently changes perspectives (third for Erin, second for Christian, and first for Robbie. Ross handles these shifts masterfully. Each character perspective has its own distinct voice, the quality of the prose is high.

The plot follows these three characters, ex-members of the recently disbanded rock trio “Heroes for Goats” as they go their separate ways. The characters, the plot, the scene, it all feels organic, authentic. Full credit to Ross, this book has captured what the music scene feels like in all its violent, self-destructive, anarchistic glory.