Wednesday, June 12, 2013
BOOK REVIEW: They Might Be Demons by Max Booth III
No one likes tourists, especially when tourists are demons from the underworld with a penchant for torturing and killing all humans.
When people say, "All hell broke loose", they probably weren't talking about They Might Be Demons. Although Hell doesn't exactly "break loose" in this book, it does take a little vacation. Destination? Earth. And while that may sound like a bummer as it is, just wait until you discover they've chosen YOUR town as the primary get-together spot. Oh crap, SPOILER ALERT!
Sorry for ruining the big surprise. But yeah, you're pretty much boned.
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The best satirical novels use the failings of a particular phenomenon in pop culture as the backdrop for a story; you'll often discover a touch of humanity to complement the witticisms--and criticisms--that are wrapped in the complicated Pandora's box which reveals truths and habits about our world we're not prepared to leave behind. Using the horror genre as his vehicle, Max Booth III deconstructs our fascination with destroying ourselves in compulsory fashion. If the creators of South Park decided to write a book about the horror industry, they wouldn't be able to write a more honest commentary about the sorrowful expectations of an entire race, depicted through the tragedies and failings of individual people.
Readers should be aware that this book doesn't ask you to think beyond the pages; woven within the surface level of this "collection" are stories that are entertaining as fragments of nightmare and humor. When this book arrived at my doorstep, I cracked it open like I normally might and glanced at the pages; I read a short story or chapter and found that I didn't need the rest of the book. Let's just say I started with a story that featured alligators. You can also read the book from cover to cover and you'll find a well-written, semi-coherent narrative. This is bizarro fiction, after all, so if you're looking for mass market drivel you can find it on the shelves of Wal-Mart...
Speaking of Wal-Mart, this book has a lot to offer if you're willing to explore the depths of its madness. I could probably argue with the author that this book is about zombies, not demons; or maybe the book is about nothing at all. I put aside all the other books I had already committed myself to because Booth gave me an opportunity to think what I wanted to think, even if it wouldn't make sense to anybody but myself. This is one of those rare books that inspire me to write a dissertation; I felt like I was speaking to the author while reading this book and some of the words seemed like my own. Booth has presented us with harsh truths and it's likely he had no intention of doing anything but writing a bunch of words about dinosaurs and clams. Booth is one of those authors who included blue curtains in the scene just because he wanted blue curtains, but in those curtains we can find reflections of our own twisted lives.
The book's structure shifts several times, and I might be able to explore further to see if there's a discernible pattern, or if the author let the story compose itself. There seemed to be an entire section where the emotions in the stories jarred me back to reality before sending me back into the surreal. The contrasting styles and voices in They Might Be Demons leaves us wondering who, or what, the demons are; the composition is just as important, if not more so, than the content.
I had two problems with this book. First, this book is not for sensitive people; the content is unapologetic and some readers will be turned off by its brutal honesty, which includes the way people speak. My other concern was that the book ended.
AMAZON STARS: 5/5