Flood Damage will KILL YOUR TV!

April 6, 2016 at 9:23 pm (Music, Personal) (, , , , )

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

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Review: Scary People by Kyle Muntz

February 23, 2016 at 6:33 pm (Bizarro, Review, Writing) (, , , , , )

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.

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Flood Damage is seXXXee. FREE TRACK for YOU!

October 15, 2015 at 7:56 am (Music) (, )

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!)

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Review – Pax Titanus by Tom Lucas

August 11, 2015 at 5:26 pm (Bizarro, Review, Writing) (, , , , , , , )

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.

It's time to GET BIG!

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Flood Damage – Instructions For The Assembly Of God(s)

December 1, 2014 at 4:18 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

FD instructions back cover FD instructions front cover

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:

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/instructions-for-assembly/id943570235

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/music/album/Flood_Damage_Instructions_for_the_Assembly_of_God_?id=Byupnemnnpjxrgbi7woj2q3yqpu

EMusic: http://www.emusic.com/album/flood-damage/instructions-for-the-assembly-of-gods/15460594/

Spotify: https://play.spotify.com/album/7J8BMa5vL9uu9S06ctExVg?play=true&utm_source=open.spotify.com&utm_medium=open

RippleTunes: http://rippletunes.com/album/Flood-Damage/Instructions-for-the-Assembly-of-God-S-/943570235/t0

Deezer: http://http://www.deezer.com/album/9201563

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!

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Review: The Church of TV as God by Daniel Vlasaty

August 3, 2014 at 5:50 pm (Bizarro, Review, Uncategorized, Writing) (, , , , , )

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.

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Show Me Your Shelves: Michael Allen Rose

May 22, 2014 at 3:29 pm (Uncategorized)

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.

Bizarro Central

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.

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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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Review: The Laughter of Strangers by Michael Seidlinger

May 13, 2014 at 8:51 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

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.

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Review: The Cheat Code For God Mode by Andy de Fonseca

April 30, 2014 at 10:11 am (Bizarro, Review, Writing) (, , , , , , , , , )

The Cheat Code For God Mode is what Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One SHOULD have been, but wasn’t. Whereas Cline’s book was content to play on our sense of nostalgia and use fond memories to cover up lazy writing, de Fonseca invokes the same rich tapestry of pop cultural memories by creating its own unique mythology. The tropes and references in Cheat Code are just far enough removed from our reality to be sharply satirical. Andy could have gone the lazy route and dropped in the ostriches from Joust but instead we get a delightful 8-bit chicken named Mort. It’s touches like this that make the book sing.

At the same time, The Cheat Code For God Mode is also what The Matrix COULD have been, if that trilogy had a sense of humor about itself and didn’t end up disappearing up its own butt as it hobbled along. Instead of Keanu spouting neologisms about the internet, we get an interesting science-minded protagonist, her hilarious best friend, and an amazing barking chicken. We get roaming herds of LOLcats. We get All Your Base memes and turtle bacon. We get originality and a razor sharp ear for witty dialogue.

The story goes like this: Victor and Margy find an old video game system with a scribbled on disc that controls their universe. Needless to say, figuring this out is half the problem, as they cut a Grand Theft Auto style swath of destruction through their town. They need to travel to the old internet to find answers, and there they meet Tyson, a gunslinger type who has his own mysterious connections to the game. Of course there are also shadowy, dangerous people looking for the game and the people who are wielding it. From there on out, the story is anything but typical, however. Through clever use of this basic premise, de Fonseca ends up exploring the idea of who and what her protagonists are in the world and the very nature of reality.

There is one section of the book that gets a bit heady, when de Fonseca turns to some real talk about the singularity, quantum mechanics and many worlds theory. She keeps the densest parts of the topic brief, however, and is in and out leaving behind just enough information to set up further action in the narrative. It could have been difficult or off-putting, but thanks to some skillful and well-paced storytelling, it’s a lot like Neil deGrasse Tyson is sitting on the couch playing video games with you while you’re both stoned. It’s through this clever writing that the story really comes to life.

This book is part of the New Bizarro Author Series, and as such is subject to a word limit, but the pacing is perfect and the story never feels rushed or like it’s out of the author’s control. There are moments of hilarity, laughing out loud on the bus stuff, especially when Victor and Margy get into their fugues of scrappy wordplay. There are also moments of genuine emotion. I have never felt so strongly the fate of an 8-bit chicken. Trust me when I say you don’t need to have an encyclopedic knowledge of gaming culture, the internet, or quantum physics to enjoy this. It’s a delightful tale well told, which makes it perfect for any reader who wants to think, laugh and maybe even learn something about invincibility.

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Review: Janitor of Planet Anilingus by Andrew Wayne Adams

October 13, 2013 at 4:52 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

If I were to ask you what Catholicism, theoretical cosmology and licking asses have in common, there’s a possibility that the jokes would write themselves, and yet many would remain confused, wracking their brains and softly punching their genitals in consternation, trying to find the elusive connective material between the three. When a solution began to present itself, I would introduce mutant bees that sting with the power of a hundred aphrodisiacs, and then, just to put the cherry on top of the metaphorical anus of meaning, and to continue to defy the agile tongue of understanding, I would tell you that you can’t transubstantiate into a living pig without some complications. Then, I would tickle you until you peed your pants. The look on your face at that exact moment would be the same look you would have during your reading of Janitor of Planet Anilingus by Andrew Wayne Adams. Like me, you also wouldn’t be able to put the book down until you had completely devoured this smart, hilarious, and completely bizarre story.

Writing with a wit and wisdom that defies the seemingly crass subject matter, Adams brilliantly executes one of the best satirical novellas I’ve seen in a long time. The universe is filled with planets that cater to very specific sexual acts, all run by a bureaucratic Catholic Church from their headquarters on the sun. There are legends of an old era, an existence that wasn’t ruled by the church and not every waking moment was dedicated to sexual fetishism and debauchery (outside of Lent, of course). Nobody knows what happened to make things the way they are, and Adams deftly works this central idea into an epic mystery that underlies the entirety of the book. His prose sings with a combination of perfectly crafted comedy and dire science fiction, with a great witty edge that cuts to the heart of religion, sex, class and any number of other subjects central to the status quo. This is a manuscript that doesn’t mind wondering aloud “Does love exist? What is the nature of existence?” while throwing a poop joke and a load of raunchy sex acts at the reader without batting an eye.

The characters are fun, and easy to identify with, especially the titular hero, Jack. When Jack, the only person on the planet, left to clean up the mess during Lent, finds that he is not alone, things begin to go absolutely insane. Nimue, the unnaturally speedy and strange woman from the water, Jack’s boss Bishop Eichmann, who appears from the ground as a pile of holy debris and Virgil, a dangerous man working for a mysterious behind-the-scenes power structure add so much colorful character to the cast, it’s almost criminal. The shifting alliances and over-the-top comedy of these characters propel the action of this book, and somehow Adams is able to keep everything consistent and driven, despite the madness. There are some obvious parallels here as well between Janitor of Planet Anilingus and other works. Like Dante’s Virgil of the Inferno, Jack’s Virgil leads him through a sort of hell. Toward the end of the book, tropes from the Alien films and other sci-fi classics are turned inside out and exploded. There are plenty of the usual bizarro genre gross-out moments (such as the symptoms from what might or might not be an STD) but they’re written so hilariously that the reader can’t wait to see what’s next, scatologically speaking. I can not say enough about how much fun I had reading this book, and would suggest that anyone who wants to laugh until they poop themselves pick this up post-haste.

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