Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Review: Die You Doughnut Bastards by Cameron Pierce

I read a large chunk of Cameron Pierce's collection, Die You Doughnut Bastards, while feeling sick. After reading the title story and then trying to take a nap, I had a fever dream of being attacked by evil breakfast pastries.

I'm glad I let myself recuperate a little before I finished it.

The title story is funny and enjoyable in its own right but it isn't as fucked up, nor does it have the punch, as most of the other stories and poems in this collection.

My favorite story in this collection is probably "Disappear". A pregnant woman wakes up to find that she is no longer pregnant and her husband doesn't take this news any better than she does.
They had prepared for anything, but not for this.
Soon they find that they are not the only ones whose baby has gone missing. Once they learn who the culprit is, they set out to get they set out to get their baby back.

I think this story really shows how well Pierce balances his absurd humor with genuine emotion. This story remains absurd throughout yet doesn't hold back in showing how the situation affects the couple. They are sad, angry and confused and so is everyone else who lost their baby. The resolution is both funny and touching in the extremes the couple will go to retrieve their child.

"Lantern Jaws" is another favorite from this collection. This Lovecraft meets coming-of-age tale doesn't have the absurd humor of many of the other pieces but probably has the best fleshed out characters. In this story, a young man meets his first girlfriend who has the strange quirk of always wearing a surgical mask. Over time, he learns the secrets that she and her family are keeping. Like Lovecraft, the story ends with a sense of futility, but Pierce's story here is sad rather than horrifying.

"Mitchell Farnsworth" has the least "weird" elements in it and is also one of the funniest. It's a simple story of a woman recounting her days with an ex-boyfriend but the descriptions of their antics are hilarious.

"The Human Centipede 2 (UFSI Sequence) by Tao Lin: A Novel" is another very funny piece. As the title suggests, the story is a riff on both The Human Centipede 2 and on the writing of Tao Lin. Besides the obvious humor in juxtaposing the two, Pierce has some great lines here.
Martin stares at the bleeding foot of the boy as if it is a Gmail message from someone he doesn't like. Martin doesn't like a lot of people. That's why he wants to build a human centipede.
Of the poems in this collection, I'd say my favorites were "Strawberry Airplane" and "The Happiest Place on Earth". It's interesting to contrast the two. The former has Pierce using traditionally "beautiful" imagery while the latter has Pierce finding beauty in some very ugly imagery.

The only piece in this collection I would say I didn't like is a poem entitled "The Honesty of Marsupials is a Marvelous Thing", which I found to be an uninteresting word game.

This is an excellent collection and I highly recommend it, especially to fans of bizarre and surreal fiction.

Buy Die You Doughnut Bastards by Cameron Pierce here.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Have Some Links

Interested in the Bizarro genre or weird fiction in general? Check out this writing workshop. Hurry though, enrollment closes this Monday.

This Des Moines based lit mag is seeking submissions. Hit them up if you're looking for a place to submit a story.

The world didn't end in December, of course. That is a shame. Why are we sitting around with our thumbs up our asses waiting for the end of the world? Why don't we take some initiative?

Take a hit of LSD.

Does modern pop music sound a bit samey to you?

A leftist explains his distaste for liberals.

This is what other guys named Ben were doing with the internet back in the 90s. 

A critique of Islam from a different standpoint.