There are several different ways to approach the reading of a Raw Dog Screaming Press book. All books from Raw Dog Screaming Press are throwing their metaphors and undercurrents at you, begging the reader to dwell in them. Interesting enough, Eckhard Gerdes is hard at work on a new book that instructs roughly sixty different ways to read the same text, I'm told. D. Harlan Wilson does not cater to plot hungry readers per se. Wilson works best when he's allowed to make roundabout digressions.
As evidenced by his new 'Memoir of Vulgaria,' Blankety Blank, we are facing a writer who can evoke howls of pity and tears of laughter on the same page, and generally within the same sentence. Malzberg, John Campbell Award-winning author of 70+ science fiction novels "Be not embarrassed to laugh out loud at this nasty book. Read this book and bask in the energy of a living imagination." Steve Katz, America Award-winning author of Swanny's Ways and Antonello's Lion "Blankety Blank is both vulgar and vulvaa masterful DJ mix of the sounds and sights of avant-pop, avant-porn, critifiction, and (yes) post-cyberpunk sensibilities. So, to quote Marie Antoinette, eat it!" Michael Hemmingson, Hollywood screenwriter and director and author of The Dirty Realist Duo: Charles Bukowski and Raymond Carver on the Aesthetics of the Ugly "With three offbeat story collections and the indescribably madcap Dr. Identity (2006) to his credit, Wilson has been duly anointed as speculative fictions most unpredictable stylist. Then Blankety Blank leaves his trail of blood across vulgaria, and its up to Rutger and Quiggle Estates odd assortment of faux superheroes to save everyone. Although this isnt everyones cup, iconoclasts will relish every word." Booklist "This is the fifth work of fiction from Wilson, a nearly unclassifiable Fabulist/Satirist/Bizarro/Post-Postmodern/Speculative writer and literature professor whose titles include The Kafka Effekt and Dr. Identity, or, Farewell to Plaquedemia.
I could read a whole book of nothing but those. I wish Blankety Blank had a book all about himself.
I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.) Regular readers know that one of the types of literature I try to take on here more than most other review places is so-called "bizarro" fiction (also known sometimes as "surreal," "Weird," and by a whole host of other names); but as you can guess, a big reason why so many review places mostly skip this subgenre is that it's a notoriously difficult one to analytically judge, with sometimes just a sliver-thin line between fantastic and only so-so in such projects, and with it difficult sometimes to even explain the difference to others. And see, this is a good example of why it's so notoriously tricky sometimes to review such books critically; because in this case the usual wackiness just never really clicked with me, feeling throughout more like a fairytale where nothing is really at stake (indeed, where reality doesn't even work the same way it does in our world), and so makes it a lot more difficult as a reader to connect with either the characters on display or the things that happen to them.
And there are better-known authors who don't do this so well, as far as I'm concerned (Mark Leyner, whose My Cousin My Gastroenterologist I think may get a nod in Blankety Blank, when the word "gastroenterologist" appears prominently early on... Mr. Blankety Blank is a registered serial killer who has just moved into Vulgaria, a suburb of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
I used this for a case study at uni this year for an essay on postmodern representations of suburbia. I mean, I already knew it was brilliant and sophisticated and clever, but it is fantastically beyond just about everything else Ive read this year.
They seemed to be better thought out then some of the vaudeville slapstick comedy used in the plot with the characters.
I'm a novelist, short story writer, literary critic, editor, playwright, publisher, and English professor.