Yes friends and fans, after years of neglect by yours truly, gerbilprobe.com has been completely re-designed from the ground up and is live! The lovely Sauda Namir helped bring it to the modern internet age with a slick new design that is responsive, cool and easy to update. Check out my music, writing, performance and everything in between all in one place. Let us know what you think after you click around a little while!
(The media empire of Michael Allen Rose!)
Here you go, damage addicts! It’s time to change the channel. Break free of the mind control! Pick up the hammer and start smashing! KILL YOUR TV!
TV Land Murders is available on the album Instructions For The Assembly Of God(s) which can be found on most digital music retail sites.
You can buy the CD directly from the artist at http://michaelallenrose.storenvy.com
Everyone is turning into scary people. That’s the first thing you need to know. It’s hard to say exactly what else you need to know about Scary People, at least as far as the plot goes. If you ask me what it’s about, I’ll tell you that it’s about a guy hanging out with his friends, and the changes they go through over the short time we get to witness. So sure, let’s call it a bizarro coming-of-age novel, only the protagonist’s best friend Mathew keeps dying. But that’s normal, right? Sometimes your best friend chokes to death on his own vomit, or is hit by a falling anvil. He’ll be fine. Before you know it, he’s up and about, ready to fight the Lord of Darkness. And sometimes your on-again off-again crush is a fiftieth level barbarian with a violent streak for raping pirates and befriending ancient samurai. And sometimes aliens give presents to children to prepare for the day they invade to steal them all, because they’re probably pedophiles. And sometimes mobs mistake you for evil people and chase you down. But then sometimes, you just kind of hang out and drink eggnog in your friend’s basement. That’s how it goes.
Scary People is an absolute blast to read through, in case you can’t already tell from the above. There’s cartoon-like comedy and harrowing tragedy sprinkled in equal measure throughout. What separates it out from both “typical college kids hanging out” alt lit and alternately from weird and crazy “shock and awe” style bizarro is the clarity and precision with which Muntz crafts his language in this delight of a novel. Separated into short, almost poetic paragraphs and thematically relevant sections through smart use of white space, Scary People reads fast and propulsively, the prose simple but beautifully intricate in its structure. There’s a heady dose of experimentation when it comes to the style as well as form, with classic tropes twisted into shards of weirdness and fun surprises.
Muntz also shows he’s not afraid to get meta-fictional. An example: One prominent character is actually referred as the deus ex machina, however when the hand of God is needed to make things right, the classic trope of a character asking for a miracle is cleverly subverted when the quick fix is no longer available. There’s also a beautiful moment where the characters wonder if perhaps all their misfortune is because they are fictional characters in a book, but come to no conclusions. Ultimately, this is the magic of Scary People: the readers and the characters may know they are fictional, but that doesn’t make their problems any less real, or them less empathetic. When faced with a series of existential nightmares and bizarre happenings, all you can do is wish for better things and keep moving forward. Especially when the world around you is increasingly filled with scary people.
This one is a long time fan favorite. Even if you don’t know it by heart, you know it’s the one where I tend to get naked on stage, when we play it live. Enjoy and share!
(Buy the album at http://michaelallenrose.storenvy.com directly from the artist!)
The first thing you need to know about Pax Titanus is that Veritassian shlongs are huge. Veritassians also have four arms, can only speak the truth, and tend to be pretty tough. The second thing you need to know is that the universe is vast and uncaring, and kind of filled with jerks, like intergalactic kidnappers, slutty swords, betrayers and of course the biggest jerk of all, the emperor of space. When you read Pax Titanus, you’ll see these forces come head to head, following lovable protagonist Titanus (a Veritassian) as he battles through an alien gladiatorial gauntlet to save his son from dream the machinations of the aforementioned jerks and some dream leeches. That’s that first thing indicating author Tom Lucas knows his way around storytelling. Lucas tells a warm, grounded and hilarious story of love and revenge. Even with all the insanity described above firmly in place, he somehow manages to cling to a fastidious sense of internal logic that makes reading Pax Titanus an absolute joy.
Often times in a novella, the story feels squeezed into a smaller package than it deserves due to length restrictions. This is not the case with Pax Titanus. Lucas has wisely steered clear of a lot of extraneous complexities of plot and stuck with a clear and concise story arc. We see Titanus with his family, get forced into the tournament, grow as a fighter, get a coach, accolades from the crowd, and training, all of which leads from battle to battle until the climactic fight to win it all. The simplicity of story serves the book well, and allows moments of humor and character to gleam. One moment I particularly loved was when our hero is in trouble in one of the final matches and a message comes from his wife that gives him hope. The twist? His wife is a squid, who oozes various emotional secretions. I won’t spoil the moment here, but it’s bits like these that show the range of Lucas’s sense of humor and allow the style to come through the simple story, simply told.
This book comes recommended for any sci-fi fan, video game junkie or bizarro book lover. The sheer variety of the alien races, the bizarre and captivating descriptions of their quirks, and the imaginative fights are well worth the price of admission. Are you ready to crush some skulls? Tom Lucas is, and he’s been kind enough to share a knockout sledgehammer blow with his readers.
The full length album “Instructions For The Assembly Of God(s)” by Flood Damage is finally here! Flood Damage is, as usual, Michael Allen Rose, but this one features contributions from Sean Payne of Cyanotic, Mike Reidy, Karen Righeimer and Myke Shuberg of WORM and Now I’m Nothing, Peter Propaganda of JiLt, Dorian Starchild of Psyclon Nine, Flood Damage regulars Michael Gerberding (The flying squirrel) and Miss Exxxotica Chicago 2013 Viva La Muerte as well as Zivity / Gods Girls model Sauda Namir and more!
PHYSICAL CD AVAILABLE AT THE NEW STORE!!! http://michaelallenrose.storenvy.com
You can pick it up on your online retailer of choice:
Any others you find, feel free to share in the comments! Machine rock industrial madness! Check it out and make sure you let me know if you dig it! FLOOD DAMAGE LOVES YOU!
Jeremy is turning into a TV. This isn’t a metaphor, much to his chagrin. It’s something that runs in the family. Unfortunately, his father turned into a TV and walked out of Jeremy’s life before the guy could really give his son much advice about his own impending transformation, so he spends most of his days working at the appliance graveyard and wondering about his future. Turns out, his future has been well planned out already, at least in the eyes of the cult that believes he’s their savior. And so, it is into this world that author Daniel Vlasaty takes us for a slice of poor Jeremy’s life.
Vlasaty wisely introduces his weirdness up front and then keeps the story tight and focused. It may be a strange world, but this novella rarely strays down tangential paths. The core story arc is solid. We follow Jeremy from his mundane day-to-day life to an inciting incident where the cult learns of his existence. From there we’re already most of the way to his forced coupling with the artificial TV woman, Eve, and his final, inevitable showdown with the cultists and their mysterious leader. There’s violence, humor and a few sprinklings of sex (up to and including a creepy cult leader lasciviously licking a screen over and over again). These themes are sort of the bizarro fiction triumvirate, but everything utilized here feels natural to the story without veering all over the place just for the sake of strangeness. It moves fast and smooth, and it’s a pleasure to read.
Some of the book feels rushed, which is often the case with the new bizarro author series, as the writers are subject to a strict word limit. Because of that, some of the character relationships are forced to develop really quickly. The romance between Jeremy and Eve, and his deep friendship with Benjamin the grumpy talking dog are examples of this, where our hero has very strong feelings about these characters he barely knows for the sake of the story. However, Vlasaty tells a good yarn, and he handles this problem by actually playing with the passage of time and speeding everything up within the narrative itself – a clever fix. This also leads to some explosive but efficient action writing in the places its needed, including a massive orgy of violence triggered by the birth of the “savior.” Of course, you’re going to have to read it to find out what I mean by that, which you should. Daniel Vlasaty’s The Church of TV As God is a fun and crazy debut novella, and fans of bizarro fiction would do well to tune in.
For those of you who missed this last year, Gabino Iglesias had me show him my shelves. If you know what I mean. Check it out. There are pics of me mostly naked with pirate hats and shooting targets. And books. Lots of books.
Who are you and what role do books play in your life?
I am Michael Allen Rose, author, musician and performance artist. I also make a mean baked Mac N’ Cheese. Books have been some of my best friends and means of seeing new worlds and perspectives since I was a kid. I was one of those weird kids who was just as happy sitting in my room reading as I was out playing with the neighborhood kids, if not happier.
You read bizarro as well as everything else out there: what are some of your favorite non-bizarro reads?
Around the end of my undergrad college years, I got really heavily into the existentialists and absurdists: Camus, Sartre, Beckett, Kafka, Ionesco and the like. I remain a huge fan of that philosophy and literary style, but I’m also a huge fan of humor writing and pop-culture studies. Dark comedy is…
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This book is so much more than a boxing novel. In some ways, it’s more than a “novel” regardless of genre. While the narrative our hapless protagonist “Sugar” Willem Floures spins does indeed involve his boxing career, it’s the methodology of the telling that truly makes The Laughter of Strangers glow with a unique and unsettling light.
The first half of the book is fairly straightforward, as we enter Sugar’s mind as he prepares for a major title fight. Author Michael Seidlinger brilliantly cracks the walls of his protagonist’s mind and allows us to see things from the inside. It’s a first person telling, but disjointed, fragmented; a novel written the way people think more than the way they talk. In this way, the prose itself reads like poetry, and is an absolute delight. The chapters in which fights occur are particularly well stylized, as bits of text stand out from the rest like individual jabs, hooks and uppercuts.
Halfway through the book however, there is an abrupt shift after a major event occurs in the life of Willem Floures. Most of the time, when a reader encounters an unreliable narrator, it’s due to some combination of tall-tale syndrome, guilt in the telling or nefarious plans, however in this case, it’s a painful symptom of a lifetime of being literally beaten to death. Is this what brain damage reads like? What’s real, what’s hallucination, what’s past, what’s future; there’s nothing clear from here on out, and we’re forced to confront a strange and beautiful mind that is fraying as we read. An absolutely fascinating and heartbreaking book. Seidlinger has somehow pulled off a novel that reads like a well-executed fight, with bobs and weaves followed by powerful, masterful blows.