Monday, December 19, 2011

New Myths

There are a plethora of ezines online offering free fiction, poetry and artwork. I would like to recommend one of superior quality: New Myths.


The current issue features fiction by Victory Crayne, Lindsey Duncan, Monica Friedman, Bruce Golden and Jaelithe Ingold. Poetry by Shannon Connor Winward, Mary A. Turzillo, Marge Simon and Michael Fosburg, a non-fiction article on the placement of space stations by Nancy Fulda, and an atmospheric illustration by Eleanor Leonne Bennett. There's also an interview with poet S. Bradley O'Blenis.

Check it out!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ritual at the Pillar of Tears

Ritual at the Pillar of Tears is the latest Welcome to Weirdsville Adventure posted at Welcome To Weirdsville.

Go check it out!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Announcing the debut of - the home of Welcome to Weirdsville original cartoon art and stories! For decades I've been traveling to the strange world of Weirdsville and hanging out with the Weirdos that live there. It's finally time to tell their stories!

Approximately every week I'll be posting a new Weirdsville Adventure as well as a picture that illustrates the story. You can even BUY the original art! This would be a perfect gift for that slightly off kilter friend you have... or maybe yourself.

So, check out the website, read the stories, marvel at the weirdness! The first Weirdsville Adventure is titled "The Magic Bubbleman Transports Some Friends to the Moon."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Book Review: Jimmy Plush Teddy Bear Detective

immy Plush Teddy Bear Detective is a poignant tale of loss, redemption and acceptance. This might seem like a strange way to begin a review of a book of stories about a hard boiled detective who just happens to be a three foot tall teddy bear, but it's true. In this volume of five stories by Garrett Cook the author gives us a look into a strange world where furries are prostitutes, animals and toys can talk and crime, corruption and violence are commonplace.

It seems that Charles Hatbox, the world's worst pulp writer, has changed bodies with Jimmy Plush, the aforementioned teddy bear detective, in an attempt to escape his gambling debts. His adventures in Nero City deftly skewer noir fiction by the likes of Dashiell Hammett, Elmore Leonard and Sax Rohmer with references to the Marx Brothers, Wizard of Oz, Doc Savage, Edgar Rice Burroughs and about a million other things thrown in along the way. As I read these stories I imagined the voice of Humphrey Bogart coming from the diminutive ursine detective and not a single line rang false.

Cook knows his source material like the back of his hand and twists the conventions of crime fiction to great advantage, creating an entirely new genre along the way. Each story is fast paced and witty, never letting your attention wander. The first four stories in the volume are expertly crafted noir tales that take the reader careening through a crazy world that is at once terrible and absurd, but it is in the last and longest story, “Jimmy Plush in the Tomb of the Martian Pharaoh” that Cook really shines.

The story is not only the strangest, it is also the most heartfelt. As Plush and his companions blithely plow forward on their quest the world they inhabit becomes nothing less than hallucinatory. The twists and turns come quick and fast and force our imagination to stretch, flip and turn inside out. Then on page ninety something incredible happens. We learn the details about poor Charles Hatbox's unfortunate situation and we start to care about him. Beyond all chance, in this bizarre, absurd world, author Cook makes this character REAL. I identified with Hatbox's life story. How Cook can do this in a world filled with toaster headed creatures and tin cowboys baffles me, and fills me with admiration at his talent.

Every book Garrett Cook has published has shown a new level of his mastery of the craft of writing and this tome is no exception. When an author can make me feel real honest emotions about a man trapped in the body of a teddy bear, that's an amazing achievement. This silly little volume of quirky detective fiction filled me with hope- hope for myself, hope for the the world and hope for the future of literature.

Decades ago, when I was in my teens and twenties, my friends and I were fans of authors like Tom Robbins, Kurt Vonnegut and Richard Brautigan. These authors turned the world on it's side, challenged us to reassess our ideas about things, and look at the world around us in new ways. Garrett Cook and his compatriots in the relatively new genre of fiction that calls itself “Bizarro” do exactly the same thing. It's gratifying to see that there are writers who are still pushing the boundaries, and doing it well. I hope that more and more people will check out this new literary movement and find surprising new worlds that can expand their reality.

On a final note about Jimmy Plush, author Garrett Cook has cleverly left a hole in the middle of the book should he wish, in the future, to tell more adventures of the furry little gumshoe. Just like any good pulp writer would have done. Bravo to you, Mr. Cook. Any adventurous reader who likes to be surprised, enlightened and entertained at the same time should check out this book.

Jimmy Plush