Birth: The Exquisite Sound of One Hand Falling Off a Turnip Truck (Chakra Kong Book 1) by S. T. Gulik

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.

Other links:

Birth by S. T. Gulik

Book Description:

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.

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Mr. Bubbles and the Mystery of the Mayan Temple by Chris W. Sears

Mr. Bubbles and the Mystery of the Mayan Temple by Chris W. Sears, 58 pages, Fireplace Press, April 22nd, 2017, Genre: Science Fiction Humor. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.

Review by Leigh Holland.

Warning: If you’re looking for a mature, master work of literature, this book is not that. Mr. Bubbles and the Mystery of the Mayan Temple is an opportunity to let your hair down, lean back, throw back some pixie stix, and enjoy the laughs you’re about to experience. Take a break from being an adult and have a little fun with this .99 cent adventure.

The characters are ridiculous. The premise is ludicrous. The plot? Hilarious. Grady is a human pilot in need of money. Mr. Bubbles is a chimpanzee turned super genius by a lab experiment. By the end of this tale, they’re best buddies for life. Bubbles- I mean, Mr. Bubbles- hires Grady to fly and escort him through the jungle to a Mayan temple to find a missing link between ancient Mayan culture and modern medicine, an artifact he promises to share with Grady. They encounter problems with the natives and an enemy- a villain who thinks he knows everything and is a super genius. However, he is really just a clumsy bag of hot air. As the stakes are raised on their journey, they have to combine Grady’s skills and Mr. Bubbles’ brains to survive and be successful in their mission.

When I sat down to read this book, I thought, “Oh, boy, what will this be? Monkeys?” But I’m glad I read it. It was a short but fun read. I was sad there wasn’t more. If you want pure silly entertainment over a lunch break, this is the book for you.

You can find this book at Mr Bubbles and the Mystery of the Mayan Temple .

Alia Tero: The Many Lives of Darren Datita by Lull Mengesha and Scott Spotson

Alia Tero
May the Life Points Ever Be in Your Favor.

Alia Tero: The Many Lives of Darren Datita by Lull Mengesha and Scott Spotson, 424 pages, February 8th, 2017, Genre: Humorous/Coming-of-Age. Warning: May Contain Spoilers!

Recently, I took a course on generational differences. As part of the course, I interviewed three Millennials. I gained a new perspective; one contrary to how Millennials are typically portrayed. They aren’t naïve, they’re idealistic. They unapologetically stand for what they believe in. They switch jobs when they believe a new job can give them more useful skills. Millennials aren’t lazy; they’re turning away from the highly competitive world created by the Boomers towards their dream of a society where equality can be attained for all. Far from being fragile snowflakes, Millennials envision a world where cooperation trumps competition, where each person’s contributions are valued rather than compared and belittled, where multi-culturalism and diversity are celebrated. They aren’t inattentive and disconnected; they know that ideas shape society and the battlefield for hearts and minds is in cyberspace. They fight for the future on that modern battlefield, connected continuously to various social media. Technology use comes as naturally to them as breathing.

Alia Tero is an alternate Earth where the utopian vision of Millennials has been combined with libertarian political ideals. It’s a world with no government. Since power corrupts absolutely, any government would become a corrupt government. No government, no corruption. Each citizen receives the same salary and living arrangements, regardless of their role in society. Familial roles, professions, and cities of residence are changed every four months for everyone simultaneously, called “rotations”. Even children rotate to new parental figures because “It takes a village to raise a child.” Messages received on smart phones direct society, along with “Life Card” tracking chips inserted inside each citizen at birth. Much like modern social media, each citizen can “like” other citizens, awarding them points on their Life Cards, earning them status and rewards.

We follow Darren Datita from his last year of high school through his early twenties. Darren is an “everyman”, likeable and relatable. Drilled into the heads of Alia Tero’s children in school, the concept of perfect equality for all seems noble to Darren, hardly worth questioning. But as Darren moves through his rotations, he learns through experience that this utopia isn’t “perfect”. Humans being what we are, children still bully and exclude those who “drag the collective down” and adults are willing to cheat to gain “likes” and points. People who award more points get more attention from those in need of points. If a person hates a job or a city, they’re stuck for the rotation, having no freedom to abandon either.  Marriage and monogamy are considered detrimental to society. Parents don’t raise or even see their own kids. By the conclusion of the book, Darren isn’t the only one who sees the flaws in Alia Tero’s society.

Many of the situations Darren finds himself in are humorous and satirize modern society. The writing style is fresh and engaging. The characters are very human. Much of the exposition in the introduction could have been incorporated into the body of the book and what remained could have been condensed. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and I look forward to experiencing more of Lull Mengesha’s work in the future.

You can find this book on Amazon at Alia Tero.