NBAS ’11: Party Wolves in My Skull by Michael Allen Rose

No writer should be able to pull off such a high-octane adventure as Rose has in his first outing. And further more, it’s completely absurd that something like this, something that reads at break-neck speed and refuses to quit, wasn’t shoved in my greedy little hands sooner. Now that I’ve been introduced to the work of Michael Allen Rose, I can honestly say that I want more-more-more! Party Wolves in My Skull is the adventure novel featuring renegade eyeballs, murderous walruses, penguin footed hotties, and a pack of attitude laden wolves jammed into some guy’s skull that I’ve always been looking for.

Yes… I demand a lot from my fiction.

From Amazon:

Norman Spooter awakens one morning to find that his eyeballs have fallen in love with each other. They proceed to tear themselves out of his head, steal his car keys, and take off for parts unknown. So he does what any of us would probably do in that situation… he goes back to bed, hoping it’ll all resolve itself. Unfortunately, in the middle of the night, a pack of WOLVES moves in. The worst thing is, they’re party wolves…

BUT they gave him a security deposit, so he decides he’s going out to get his eyeballs back.
He joins forces on his epic quest with a woman named Zoe, who has a mysterious secret almost as crazy as Norman’s Party Wolves. Besides, she needs him too. She’s on the run from her psychopathic ex-boyfriend, who happens to be a dangerous sociopath, a classic car enthusiast and, worst of all, a fully grown walrus.

The road trip/chase novel is flipped on its head with everyone chasing everyone… explosions, battles and madness are the drivers in this particular race, along with a few stops in such places as the Motel Sick and a cult town in North Dakota featuring some dangerous hooded guys who’ll pretty much marry anything to anything. With violence and insanity nipping at his heels and a race against the clock to get his body parts back, this could turn out very badly for Norman Spooter.

For any of those folks reading who have a soft spot for a Rebel Without a Cause style of attitude in their fiction, Party Wolves… is right up your alley. Featuring some of the greatest characters on this side of the genre, Rose has penned what will undoubtedly go down as one of the funniest, most creative renegade animal stories you’ll ever come across. Complete with a cast of characters so damned strange, this novel touches on everything from love and hate, all the way to justice and revenge. There’s not a damned thing wrong with this story except for its short length. I would have loved to see something far longer, and hold out hope that Rose may expand on this story at a later date.

The visuals are stunning and colorful, making it easy to see this as a graphic novel or even an animated series on The Cartoon Network, for sure. The emotional value present Rose’s dialogue is what makes this piece feel so damned full. Every corner of this writer’s canvas was painted inexplicit detail, eliticiting screams of laughter at the whimsy of these folks, and tears of sadness when any of the characters feel even the slightest bit of sorrow. This is a true gem in genre fiction, and will undoubtedly win many crowds over.

Now, Rose creates some of the most interesting characters in this story, and has no problems showing his ability to ‘play God’ with them. The author offers up a penguin-footed heroine, a murderous, love-scorned walrus, a man whose eyeballs have abandoned him in an act of political defiance, and a pack of wolves who like to party, and just so happen to become the tenants in the previously mentioned man’s skull. The fact that Rose went with a slapstick gag just prior to the introduction of the party wolves makes this pairing that much more hilarious.

I would get into more intricate detail about the wolves themselves, but I don’t want to spoil the fun for those of you who are going to check it out. Let’s just leave it with the fact that they play out a wicked example of a 50’s tough-guy gang, and use their secret abiblities (and their shame) to entertain and ravage readers with a very unique style. Rose really hit the proverbial nail on the head with this one.

You can grab a copy of Party Wolves in My Skull in paperback and also for your Kindle. Make sure to visit Rose’s website and check out Eraserhead Press for more awesome Bizarro Fiction. If you’re looking for even more Bizarro information, visit Bizarro Central for all of your weird needs.


Dreadful Tales Gets Weird

Over the past 3 weeks, I’ve read no less than 12 of the most insanely off-the-wall books I’ve ever seen. That’s a lot to digest in such a short amount of time – approximately something like 1200 (or more) pages of the weirdest shit you’ve ever laid your eyes on. And that’s also on top of the books I’ve checked out in the mean-time, and the 100 years of Horror articles.

And sleeping.

And eating.

Not books… eating food.

Though… I could eat books…

Never mind. Eating books is a bad idea right now.

Especially after the announcement I’m about to make, and mostly cause I’m nervous about this.

What’s the announcement? Well, I’m sure you can see that the site has taken on a bit of a… different… look today.

That’s because we’re trying something different with our design (which will be ongoing for a little while) and celebrating Bizarro Fiction for the next 9 days here on Dreadful Tales! (January 23rd to the 31st)

Now, one might ask what exactly Bizarro Fiction is:

According to the most informative website on the genre, Bizarro Central‘s ‘About Bizarro’ page:

What Is Bizarro?

  1. Bizarro, simply put, is the genre of the weird.
  2. Bizarro is literature’s equivalent to the cult section at the video store.
  3. Like cult movies, Bizarro is sometimes surreal, sometimes avant-garde, sometimes goofy, sometimes bloody, sometimes borderline pornographic, and almost always completely out there.
  4. Bizarro strives not only to be strange, but fascinating, thought-provoking, and, above all, fun to read.
  5. Bizarro often contains a certain cartoon logic that, when applied to the real world, creates an unstable universe where the bizarre becomes the norm and absurdities are made flesh.
  6. Bizarro was created by a group of small press publishers in response to the increasing demand for (good) weird fiction and the increasing number of authors who specialize in it.
  7. Bizarro is like:
    • Franz Kafka meets John Waters
    • Dr. Suess of the post-apocalypse
    • Takashi Miike meets William S. Burroughs
    • Alice in Wonderland for adults
    • Japanese animation directed by David Lynch

Even though the Bizarros are underground cult outsiders they still have gained an incredible amount of respect in the publishing industry, having been praised by the likes of Chuck Palahniuk, Christopher Moore, William Gibson, Jonathan Lethem, Piers Anthony, Cory Doctorow, Poppy Z. Brite, Michael Moorcock, and Charles de Lint, to name a few, as well as the publications Asimov’s Science-fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science-fiction, Fangoria, Cemetery Dance, Publishers Weekly, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Details Magazine, Gothic Magazine, and The Face, among many others. They have also been finalists for the Philip K Dick Award, the Bram Stoker Award, the Rhysling Award, the Wonderland Book Award, and the Pushcart Prize.

Bizarro isn’t just weird fiction, it is DAMN GOOD weird fiction. And it grows exponentially every single day, so, love it or hate it, you’ll be seeing a lot more of it in the years to come.

We’re excited to bring you a look at 8 new bizarro novels from Eraserhead Press, and specifically from the minds of the New Bizarro Authors Series folks who fill the 2011 lineup (henceforth known as the NBAS ’11). For those of you who don’t know, this is a series Eraserhead Press has started in order to bring some fresh blood to the genre.

Here’s the idea behind the NBAS:

You hold in your hands now a book from the New Bizarro Author Series. Normally, Eraserhead Press publishes twelve books a year. Of those, only one or two are by new writers. The NBAS alters this dynamic, thus giving more authors of weird fiction a chance at publication. For every book published in this series, the following will be true: This is the author’s first published book. We’re testing the waters to see if this author can find a readership, and whether or not you see more Eraserhead Press titles from this author is up to you. The success of this author is in your hands. If enough copies of this book aren’t sold within a year, there will be no future books from the author published by Eraserhead Press. So, if you enjoy this author’s work and want to see more in print, we encourage you to help him out by writing reviews of his book and telling your friends. In any event, hope you enjoy…

Given the guidelines there, and the fact that I was contacted to review one of the books, I wanted to lend a little more than a helping hand. I’m a huge fan of bizarre tales and upstart authors, and it’s no sweat off my back to read a few hundred pages and talk about it. So for the next bunch of days you’re going to be checking out the weirdest that the genre has to offer (with other stuff peppered in), and reading about some of the fresh blood bursting onto the scene.

With that, let’s welcome Justin Grimbol, Vince Kramer, Constance Ann Fitzgerald, Troy Chambers, Spike Marlowe, Michael Allen Rose, Eric Beeny, and S.D. Foster to the fold. This week is gonna be weird