There are a few books I’ve read that defy genre, ask me where they belong and I could not tell you. Books like Ash Cinema by Edward Rathke and Feast of Oblivion by John Myers remind me of We are Wormwood in that way and others (disclaimer: these books have nothing in common other than the way they made me feel while reading them.). Books like these make me want to put aside the 80’s B movie influenced stories I write and really create something that can make an impact on someone. With some parts Bizarro, some fantasy and quite a bit horrific, this book is romantic as much as it is tragic.
The story centers around Lily, at first a child then a young adult. We get to see the life she thinks she has with her mother as it becomes the life she actually has with her mother. Autumn Christian does a great job showing that child like sense of hanging on a parents every word, the belief that what they say is the complete truth. But with her mother’s mental illness it makes it that more tragic, and that much harder for Lily as she grows up. Once she’s older, she sees the things her mother always said to her in a different light. As a young adult she leans more towards her mother’s mental illness as the reason things were the way they were. The demon with the Wormwood eyes, Saga and the Excorcist, are they real, or figments of a broken mind? Lily can’t help but worry that she, too, will suffer with schizophrenia just like her mother.
Between stories and dreams, drugs and hallucinations, it’s difficult to tell what may be reality to Lily. Christian’s voice is extremely effective at this. Along the way, we meet an eccentric cast of characters such as Cignus the artist, his sister Saint Peter, and Lily’s friend Phaedra, who gets a little light shown on her background with a short story at the end of the book. As the drugs became more intense, Lily and some of these companions take a road trip to escape the Nightcatcher, but no one can run forever.
Christian has a poetic style that is almost beyond me. Her words straddle a fence to another language I wouldn’t be able to comprehend were they to fall on the wrong side. It has cemented this book towards the top of my list for best books I’ve ever read. I look forward to jumping into something else she has written.
I don’t believe I have read another author who writes quite like Autumn Christian, and that is not a bad thing at all.
Buy it here We Are Wormwood
Anyone who reads bizarro fiction knows the names of Danger Slater and Kevin Strange. They’re both known for writing some really awesome stuff. I, for one, am a fan of both of them, so I was pretty excited to read their double novella.
First up was Kevin Strange’s Computerface. The basic story of Computerface is something you may have seen before either in movies, or books. Machines have taken over, and they are destroying all of humanity. But that is just a bare bones plot element. This is Kevin Strange, he doesn’t put out books that are like anything you have read before. The actual story of Computerface is about a man who wakes up with no memory of who he is and where he is. He is immediately thrust into a situation he doesn’t understand, where a machine is trying to slaughter a woman. Even though he saves the day, he is accused of being one of the machines. This mistake comes from the fact that unbeknownst to him, he has an Ipad grafted to his face. Strange takes this bizarre Sci Fi scenario and makes it as terrifying as he possibly could. His robots are fueled by the pain and torment of humans, and he has created some very nightmare inducing killing machines. I really enjoyed the progression of main character Computerface as we learn with him who he was, how he became what he is, and what he ended up being. Fans of Strange’s other work will find a nice little surprise at the end.
The second half of this book, Danger Slater’s novella Roadvoltution, takes another familiar scenario, but quickly turns it into something original. Essentially it’s a survival horror story, but this time the monster is our roads, bridges and tunnels. As the roads rise up and bite each other like vampires we have a miss-matched group trying to stay alive while the concrete and pavement monsters kill anything in their paths. Slater does a great job with the would be survivors of this story. His characters are quirky and entertaining, and very real life.
Both of these novellas are excellent. Kevin Strange and Danger Slater are putting out exciting and entertaining work. If you like anything else these two have put out then you will definitely like Stranger/Danger.
Buy it here Stranger Danger