Shock Totem #10 (Jan 2016)
- Shock Totem #11—Available Now!
- The State of Shock Totem Publications, or We Are Not ChiZine Publications
- Closing for Submissions
- Shock Totem Returns!
- Apex Publications Acquires Shock Totem Book Line
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 8
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 7
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 6
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 5
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 4
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Tag Archives: Cole Alpaugh
As we enter 2012, let’s take a quick look back at some of our favorite things (that we could actually remember) from 2011.
Skullbelly, by Ronald Malfi
Bear in a Muddy Tutu, by Cole Alpaugh
“Map of Seventeen,” by Christopher Barzak
Animosity, by James Newman
Full Dark, No Stars, by Stephen King
The Zombie Feed, Vol. 1, Edited by Jason Sizemore
FAVORITE MAINSTREAM NOVEL/NOVELLA/NOVELETTE:
Mrs. Peregrin’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs
There Is No Year, by Blake Butler
11/22/63, by Stephen King
Tie between Treachery in Death and New York to Dallas, by J.D. Robb
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
The brilliant work of Darrell Schweitzer
Gemmy Butterfly Collection™
The Memphis Morticians
The Parlor Mob
Lie to Me
Dystopia, by Iced Earth
Bad as Me, by Tom Waits
Thirteen, by http://www.megadeth.com
Unfortunately, for various reasons, we couldn’t all give picks for certain categories. I didn’t read a single novel last year that actually came out in 2011, for instance. So no Novel pick from me. Sarah didn’t read any small-press novels/novellas/novelettes that came out in 2011, so no pick from her.
And the old gray matter just failed us on other things. Which of course means right after this goes live the answers will become clear…
Anyway, as you can see, we have varied tastes that extend well beyond horror. Check out some of our picks; you’ll probably discover something great.
I was instantly hooked by Cole Alpaugh’s The Bear in a Muddy Tutu. You can’t read the first sentence and not know that you’re in for a trip. The opening character, Billy Wayne Hooduk, leaves his morbidly obese mother and his timid life behind as he sets out to be God and start a happy cult of his own. After a traveling circus act goes horrifyingly wrong, Billy Wayne shoots a dangerous tiger, declares that he is God, and takes charge of the circus. If this doesn’t give you a taste of the delight in store, nothing else will.
I was enchanted by the sometimes distasteful but always likeable characters that populate this book. We spend time with cult-leader wannabe Billy Wayne, a broken journalist who is searching for his missing daughter, a gentle dancing bear who delights in delicious smells, and the traveling pesticide guy who unknowingly played an important role in Billy Wayne’s life. Each character manages to have their own unique voice without losing the continuity of the narration. The chapters are creative, interesting reads and I didn’t find my attention flagging. That’s always a good sign.
The writing itself was a joy. The winding narrative was sometimes a little difficult to wrap my eyes around, and at other times it was almost painfully beautiful. Either way that it ran, it was interesting and full of quirky whimsy. In fact, that’s how I would sum up this entire book. Quirky whimsy. Joyful heartbreak. A story of broken people who find a way to hold themselves and each other together.
I’d recommend it if you want a charming, bizarre tale with a satisfying, fate-driven ending. It reads a little like Christopher Moore but with more heart. If you are annoyed by flights of fancy, then you’ll want to stay away from The Bear in a Muddy Tutu. It’s fanciful, beautiful, and escapist to the core.