Birth: The Exquisite Sound of One Hand Falling Off a Turnip Truck (Chakra Kong Book 1) by S. T. Gulik, 290 pages, Sausage Press, November 26th 2016, Genre: Satire/Dark Humor/Science Fiction/Adventure. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.
Review by Leigh Holland.
This is not a book, but a prophecy, written no more than one hundred years prior to the events it will inevitably depict. This is important because quite frankly, I’m getting tired of all the old, rehashed prophecies of ages past. Yes, yes, who can forget the words of Jeremiah, “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Inspirational, straightforward. Come to think of it, I rather like that. At any rate, this book depicts our absurd future in the most absurd manner possible. What else should we expect from a prophetic magical cockroach?
This is a gospel of Max, a highly unlikely, unheroic hero. He awakens in the (not so) distant future in a tub of ice, wounds on his sides sewn up with dental floss, and his kidneys removed. How can he survive such a thing? Well, for that explanation, you can click the link to the appendix where you can learn about The Divine Disturbance, an event that transformed human consciousness for ten minutes, rose zombies from the grave, and made people who were dying able to live without vital organs. This event stems from the hair metal band Poison Candy getting irritated that they were underappreciated. There’s more to the explanation, feel free to read the appendix to find out. I did. At length. It was hilarious and absurd.
Max has a nymphomaniac girlfriend and a pet cheek worm named Cakey made from his DNA. The cheek worm, not the nympho, is made from Max’s DNA. He’s called Cakey because he’s addicted to snack cakes, which are FUD. FUD is what we eat in America now. It’s not real food and the folks of the future differentiate between the two. Max and Cakey go to buy Halloween costumes. The store is attacked by a group of Iites (see Appendix for more info, basically mutants who live in the sewers and leave nobody alive). Somehow, Max and Cakey kill all the Iites and survive, placing a giant target on their heads. The Media wants him to do speaking shows to cash in on his fifteen minutes of fame while the Riot Nrrds, enemies of the Iites, want him to help take down their foes and the entire government. What does Max want? Well, Max just wants everyone to leave him alone and to go back to his normal, boring, self-interested life. Unfortunately for Max, with a target on him, he has no choice but to choose to be a hero. Well, sort of.
By the time I reached the end, I reflected on how this, at times, presents a completely inconceivable future. At other points, I realized how true some aspects could be. FUD exists now, it’s just not labeled as such. Even if it were, it wouldn’t change a thing. People would still eat it in large enough quantities for its producers to remain profitable. The Media is not one conglomerate out for money and to distract the populace, it’s six, but one day it could meld into one. Will anyone stop it? No, probably not. None of the rival factions and parties presented in the book are any better or worse than the others, just different, and equally corrupt and after power. That’s always been true and always will, despite our very human tendency to label such parties and factions as “good” or “bad” depending on our own views.
I loved this. If you love Absurdist literature, you’ll love it too. This is a roller-coaster ride of utter oddness that begs to be ridden. The author uses a lot of surprising, ridiculous similes and metaphors.
Some of my favorite lines from the book:
The air hit his face like a fat hooker’s cleavage.
Pope’s eyes burned with grandiose delusion you could light a cigar on.
Max wasn’t sure if it was her tone or the pricy alcohol, but his nervousness left as fast as a conservative grandmother at a John Waters film.
You can find this book at Birth.
After defending himself against a group of mutant terrorists, Max is caught in a web of global conspiracies, terrorist networks and esoteric gibberish at the heart of an underground war for global domination. He doesn’t like humans, but the only way to free himself is to liberate mankind by destroying the shadow government who want him dead. Birth is the first in a trilogy of epic, black comedies. The next book is entitled “Sex (Or Busier Than A Three Legged Cat Trying To Squeeze Blood From The Tip Of An Iceberg)”.
About the Author:
S.T. Gulik is a magical cockroach. He started his life as a common wood roach in 1681, living in a small castle outside of Dublin. One day, a human alchemist blew himself up while trying to brew the elixir of life. S.T. survived the blast, but the fumes cursed him with self-awareness and immortality. A lot has happened in three-hundred-thirty-five years. Everyone he knew and loved has died. Vampire movies make him cry. On the upside, he’s had countless adventures and learned many things. He worked for the goddess of chaos for one-hundred-twenty-three years. About thirty years ago she turned him human and disappeared, which is fine because humans are smart and likable. Oh, and he writes absurdist fiction. That’s important. Gotta mention that.