Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Fellow on the Balcony by G. Arthur Brown

"The party that's going on down there," the fellow points to a small group of nuns standing below the balcony upon which he and I both stand, "doesn't invite anyone to join it. It just keeps going on in the same fashion, like black and white reruns."

"Of the Flying Nun?" I joke.

"That was in color, moron!"

He seems indignant, so I stop smiling and take a sip of the punch. It tastes like something evacuated due to extreme weather systems.

"It's more like... The Munsters. They can't figure out that Marylin is the only normal one. I think that show could have run for another thirty episodes--more. I bet they could have pulled off two hundred episodes. Batman put it out of business because it was in full color!" He slams his fist down onto the railing. The nuns look up at him and then titter to each other, probably speculations about what G-d must think of this fellow.

This man has hair that I could never manage. It's sculpted, but the sculpture is boring and currently on display overseas where children are taught how to drink alcohol right from the womb.

"The Flying Nun was Spanish," I lie.

He takes out a dog-eared pad of paper. "I'm writing this down," he says and starts writing.

When I look at his pad, this is what I find, the beginning of a short story:

The Map of Canolune

I saw it for the first time on an outdated map I found amongst my uncle things, tucked behind a Middle-Eastern oil lamp at the back of his steamer trunk. I was in my early twenties, no longer a boy but still a romantic at heart. I think then that I knew I had uncovered my destiny accidentally, which is how these things always operate. The mystical city of Canolune was marked out by the Dutch cartographers of the 17th Century quite clearly amongst extant locales on that crumbling, yellowed paper. My late uncle was not available for questioning, so the detective work ahead would be quite challenging. I decided to call together my only close friends, have a large breakfast, and make plans to uncover the secrets behind the map and the possible existence of Canolune.

Hamilton and Theodore munched on sticks of toast before I unveiled the purpose of our congregation. Hamilton was the cautious third son of a formerly very well-to-do banker. He was lean if not scrawny, his clinging suit had been pressed, albeit imperfectly, and his fair hair attempted to mimic current fashion. Theodore didn't need to try to be fashionable; his father was an Old World aristocrat who imported suits from France and Italy. Theodore smelled of musk and manliness, and he was dark, handsome, and always up for adventure. I showed them the map and after many moments of scrutiny and consideration, they both agreed it looked authentic.

"We should get one of the professors at the University to verify this before we go off gallivanting," Hamilton offered.
I informed him, "I do not think sharing this secret would be the most beneficial route to take. Secrecy will be necessary until we have proof that Canolune is real, so that we may get the credit. We cannot tell anyone else what we are up to, do you understand me?"

Theodore, looking very distant, said, "Western Asia isn't exactly civilized. We'll need guns. My father has many hunting rifles. I'll see what I can do about something heavier. And dynamite."


I tell him I'd already read that story years ago, in a porno magazine that I had found.

"Well, I thought I'd go ahead and write it just in case you never had," he says nervously. Then he looks at the nuns again. "Don't tell them, will you?"

Friday, December 21, 2012

Review: Haunt by Laura Lee Bahr

Haunt by Laura Lee Bahr.

You Don't Know What This Book Is

You don't know why you bought this book. (I met Laura Lee Bahr, but you didn't, so why did you buy it? It's a mystery.)

You start reading this book. You don't know what it is. But you can't put it down. It's like being led by the nose. It's like being in love. You keep reading in hopes you can figure it out.

But then you give up trying to figure it out, because there is no way to figure out magic, and you just enjoy the ride, enjoy being led by the nose. The book smells great, by the way, so you don't mind. Once all is said and done, it's one of your favorite books ever. If you are ever remotely cool, that is.

So, if you are even remotely cool, you should buy this book. And then you have the excuse that I told you to buy it, and you won't have to wonder so much. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Last Librarian by S.T. Carledge

The Last Librarian

The smell of new books? That's a distant memory. Old books with dog-ears and yellowed pages and coffee stains are all I know. Old books with flimsy, faded covers and dust and words unread for years and years and years. As of yesterday, I have started eating the books for sustenance, but I don't think the paper and ink is good for my body. They have little nutrition to give. I never liked Dickens, so he will be the first to go. I eat Great Expectations while sitting by a fire made from Dostoyevskys on the third floor. By now I have used up all the varnished timber hand railings on the stairs and balconies. I am glad for the change, as the fumes from the burnt varnish made me light-headed and I almost fell two storeys down one time. I have made a toilet section in fine arts, and use DaVinci to clean the excrement from my backside.

I am the last librarian left in the world.

I spend every morning taking books off the shelf and reading them. And I spend every afternoon sorting through the returns and putting them back exactly where they belong. But there are always more books in returns than those books I've taken myself. I think there is someone else in this library reading my books. I did not read the Lord of the Rings last Tuesday. I did not read Nineteen Eighty-Four two days ago. I did not read the Hunger Games this morning. Yet they still appear in my returns pile. And I think they're moving things around. Taking books from one shelf and putting them on another where they don't belong. I go to bed on a stack of John Grisham novels and dream about lawyers doing dangerous and exciting things. I wake up and find Winnie the Pooh has been moved to the non-fiction section in between the Mr. Men books and Harry Potter. Calvin and Hobbes turns up in philosophy. That one seems about right. I pile up my books to read and eat this morning and pluck Mein Campf from children's fiction.

My work is never done.

Copyright S.T. Cartledge 2012

Kitten by G. Arthur Brown (New Bizarro Author Series 2012)

My first book is out now from Eraserhead Press.
You can buy it at Amazon, Amazon UK, Waterstones, Amazon Canada, Book Depository, and other places, I'm sure. But if you live in the US, UK, Canada or Elsewhere, these links should be convenient for you.
Here's a link of me reading awkwardly from the book!

Here's what some people have to say about this book:

"If you want to read a fun book, get Kitten. It's crazy! It's hilarious! It's AWESOME! It's one of the Bizarro-est Bizarro books EVER!...  It flows well, and the wittiness peppered throughout constantly stimulates the pleasure-center of your brain!... I'm going to have to give Kitten the Kramer Award in Literature, which I made up right now. Well done, G. Arthur Brown (more like Great Author All-Around.) Thank you for doing this to us. I applaud you." -- Vince Kramer, Gigantic Death Worm

"One part a nightmarish family saga, and one part a fantastic, surreal voyage of discovery for a kitten. It's a seriously fun mix of grotesque humour and sombre existential horror." -- R.A. Harris

"This is bizarro written with sincerity. It's funny in a quirky, heartfelt way. It's complicated. It's got depth... I'd call it slow-burning bizarro." -- S.T. Cartledge, House Hunter

Being part of the 2012 New Bizarro Author Series is a special honor, not only because all the books are fantastic first books from talented, promising authors, but because we are the first class to go international. Links to my fellows can be found on the right-hand side of my blog. Buy all these books now from Amazon!  They all qualify for the 4-for-3 deal, meaning if you buy them all, you get two other qualifying books!  It's totally awesome.