Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Notable Star-Worthy Shorts - 3 In Review

The Venus Club; A Horror shortThe Venus Club
Author Katie M. John
Winner of Indie Horror
Spring 2011
Winner of the Indie Horror Writing Contest Feb 2011.  A dark & haunting Gothic tale, set amongst the abattoirs & Gentleman's clubs of Victorian London. Born into the cruel world of Victorian London, Eleanor learns that the world is purely a choice between fear or control. And, when Eleanor meets the mysterious Kate, Eleanor is introduced to an entirely new appetite for both.

Review: A well-orchestrated exercise influenced undoubtedly by traditional Dickens.  Author Katie John gives the main character a tragic background so gruesome and imaginable it screams Victorian London.  The only thing missing from this short is length.  I was immediately taken in by the prose, the circumstance, setting and players of the game.  However, due to the quickness, parts of the story were rushed and lost the 'what's lurking in the shadow,' suspense. I think if slowed down, these already macabre and horrifically attractive elements would be enhanced.  The guts and bones are there and ripe for a bit of meat.  I can't classify it as a novel, yet -- but it is a notable short with full-length novel potential!
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Author McCarty Griffin
Pammy has had enough of Bobby, her abusive drunk of a husband. One lovely spring day, she decides to kill him, despite the fact that they will soon be divorced and he will, at least in the eyes of the law, be out of her life for good. Indulging in homicidal daydreams for years has led her to devise her own perfect and completely bizarre plan.

Review:  Author McCarty Griffin gives an authentic voice to main character, Pammy, a woman conflicted about killing her abusive ex-husband.  This is more than a tale about a woman wronged.  Half-inch is a short work exploring the complexity behind feeling trapped and setting yourself free. It examines what it means to be caged by another person's actions and also by our own.  It is debatable and worth discussing if Pammy's solution brings her any true freedom or peace -- or does she simply transfer from one inescapable circumstance into another?  Every action and decision has a consequence.  Do we make choices based on what is best, or what is less worse?  Do we only think in terms of what is tolerable verses intolerable?  Sometimes morality is separated by a half-inch and it is the unforeseeable that exists in this space that determines the direction our future takes.
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Another Book by McCarty Griffin
Monster Story
Michael Jordan and the Slam Dunk Suicide CultMichael Jordan and the Slam Dunk Suicide Cult
Author Nick Vandermolen
Its been called "...The most wildly offensive book of 2011," for its themes and dialogue. Its mere plot summary has been labeled truly "dangerous territory," by fellow authors and sports fans alike. Nick Vandermolen's Michael Jordan and the Slam Dunk Suicide Cult will test your boundaries, force self-exploration of accepted racial and cultural taboos, and might even release these tensions with laughter at the absurdity of it all.

Review: This is by far one of the more interesting, daring and agreeably pointed commentaries on sports cultural and children.  Thematically, it is solid and drives to the hole the 3-points: exploiting race, perception and sports (sport figures) as a religion. This will spark all kinds of discourse, but cannot deny the honest examination of the seedy underbelly of false hopes and racial worth. To refuse the impact of influence is as naive as ignoring it. Fantastically constructed dialogue shapes each character instantly, and charges the text with an abrasiveness that, unless you have no pulse, will inspire some type of emotional response. This is a wonderful example of an absurdist short -- not just because it is silly. It does contain comical elements that will likely piss you off while making you laugh hysterically. It tightly shoves the human condition into words that simply can't be ignored. MJ and the Slam Dunk Suicide Cult embraces the desire to write freely and to allow controversy to fall where it may.
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Another Book by Nick Vandermolen
Nan Bu Nan Publishing
I Hate Chicago

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