Kumquat

23. Juni 2014

So, recently, Jeff Strand, who, as many of you might know, is my favourite writer of all time, of ALL time, made this terrific offer of getting his new novel Kumquat as a preview, for free, and the only thing I had to do in return is consider saying something nice about it on the internet, which, of course, I would have done anyway, so I volunteered, and he sent me the file, and I read it, and …

Well …

It’s a story about a guy, ordinary guy, not very ambitious, kind of a slacker, really, but very nice, smart, funny, you get the picture, who meets a very special woman, finds out she’s going to die from an aneurysm, possibly soon, falls in love with her, and they decide to take a trip to a hot dog stand very far away.

I’d go into more detail, but I don’t know how much I’m allowed to tell you, so I’ll limit myself to this short summary. Also, there’s really not much more to tell, because … well …

Do you know that feeling of listening to a podcast by people you really like? You don’t particularly care if they talk about interesting stuff or if they convey relevant information or say particularly smart things, but they’re reasonably funny, and you like them, so you enjoy listening to them, but if someone else would ask you, you probably wouldn’t wholeheartedly recommend the podcast, because … well, you might even feel a little embarrassed, because deep down, you know there’s not a lot worth recommending?

That’s Kumquat for me.

Not a lot happens in this book, at least not a lot that’s interesting, and while I found some humor in being led on to expect some big development again and again, only to find it resolved two pages later, this started grating after a while, and the end was a complete disappointment to me. Yes. Still. I read the whole book and was still disappointed in the end. I still thought he might turn this around and give me something great. That’s how much I love Jeff Strand, and that’s how much I trust him. Goes to show what a great idea trust is.

Oh, but wait, there’s one thing that I wholewheartedly loved about Kumquat. It’s this quote:

The only reason people eat escargot is because it’s socially unacceptable to just drink a cup of garlic butter.

That quote alone was worth the time. To me, at least. It’s pure genius in its simplicity and truth. So that’s something.

But talking about quotes, I just need to mention the Exit Red quotes at the beginning of each chapter. Exit Red is a fictitious SF series which both protagonists consider the greatest thing since the separation of heaven and earth and follow religiously. It’s kind of important to the plot, for certain values of „plot“.

„Infinity is a hell of a long time to live with regrets“

„I think you mean eternity.“

„Shut up.“

–Exit Red, Season 6, Episode 6

I learned to hate those, although I have to admit, this might just be my thing, although I don’t think they were particularly entertaining, but mostly it’s because I hate this tumblresque hyping of TV series (even fake ones), I don’t have any rational argument against it, it’s completely alright, and I realize I should be glad that other people find joy in their fandom, but I can’t help it, it simply makes my blood boil. It might be because of Breaking Bad. Because I hate Breaking Bad. I fucking hate it. So much. Wait. This doesn’t have anything to do with Kumquat anymore, does it? I’ll resume talking about Kumquat now. Sorry for this.

So, here’s what I have to say, in a nutshell: I love Jeff Strand’s style. I love his humor. I love how all his characters share that sort of humor, and how their dialogue and their actions reflect this. And if you love all of that as well, then by all means, buy Kumquat. But if all this is true for you, you’d have bought it anyway. If you’re not yet a fan, first: What’s wrong with you, moron? And second: Please buy another one. Buy Dweller. It’s a wonderful, funny, bizarre, sad, surprisingly touching, wonderful, extremely wise story about friendship with a monster, romance, and probably life in general, all rolled in one. Or buy Wolf Hunt, it’s quite possibly the best werewolf story ever written. And if not that, it’s the funniest, for sure. And then, once you are a fan … you’re going to buy this book, and maybe then you can come back here and tell me what’s great about it, and what I missed. I hope you’re going to like it more than I could. I hope you’ll give it the love and understanding it needs and quite possibly deserves, but I was unable to give. I’m sorry, Kumquat. I’m sorry, Jeff. I let you down. But we’re still friends, right? Still meant for each other, right?

Right?


Top 5 Bücher 2012

14. Januar 2013

Katja fragt, und überschaubare Relevanz antwortet. Dies waren meine Top 5 Bücher 2012: [Spoilerwarnung: Ich halte zwar nichts von Spoilerwarnungen, habe aber nicht genug Leser, um zu viele durch sinnlose Rücksichtslosigkeit zu vergraulen, und man ist ja oft genug gezwungen, gegen die eigenen Überzeugungen zu handeln, dass es auf diese eine Mal nun auch nicht mehr ankommt. Also, falls ihr nicht von selbst drauf kommt, ich werde über die Bücher reden, die ich hier vorstelle. Also, über den Inhalt und so. Wenn euch sowas stört, solltet ihr keine Beiträge lesen, in denen Leute über Bücher reden.]

Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »


Restebloggen zum Wochenende (74)

25. September 2011
  1. Wie madove ihre Dreitagescrushs hat, habe ich meine Zweiwochencrushs, oder so. Diesmal ist es Thatguywiththeglasses, insbesondere in seiner Inkarnation als Nostalgia Critic. Besonders empfehlenswert finde ich seine Nostalgia Commercials. Wer schon immer wissen wollte, was eigentlich ein WonderBoner ist, der ist hier richtig.
  2. A propos Crush: Jeff Strand lässt uns wissen, was er als CEO von Netflix anstelle einer Entschuldigung als Reaktion auf die Kritik an der Preiserhöhung veröffentlicht hätte:
    You whiny spoiled brats think you’re getting ripped off at that price? Shouldn’t you be saying “Holy f***ing s**t! We live in a world where I can pay sixteen bucks and watch as many movies as my eyeballs can handle without melting!”?
  3. Was mag wohl im Kopf eines Menschen vorgehen, der erst schreibt:

    „Auch wenn schrille Töne seit nunmehr drei Jahrzehnten fast überall auf der Welt zur medial verstärkten Begleitmusik nahezu jedes Besuchs eines Papstes gehören, so lassen sich die Deutschen auch diesmal wieder nicht an Respektlosigkeit übertreffen. […] Doch was wäre gewonnen, wenn die katholische Kirche und ihre Repräsentanten nicht mehr als Urheber alles Bösen in der Welt und als Projektionsfläche jedes noch so absurden Verdachts dienten? Die Welt verlöre das letzte Vorurteil.

    Und dann:

    „Wenn Benedikt von der Ökologie des Menschen spricht, von einer Natur, die er achten muss und die er nicht beliebig manipulieren kann, dann in dem Wissen, dass es außerhalb dieses Glaubens keine Vernunft und kein Heil gibt.

    [Hervorhebung von mir]

    Mir fällt dazu nicht viel ein, außer vielleicht: Seien Sie frohen Mutes, Herr Decker, Ihre Sorgen sind unbegründet. Die Respektlosigkeit der Papstkritiker kann offenbar durchaus übertroffen werden, und auch Vorurteile gibt es noch reichlich. Alles ist gut.

  4. Passend dazu, Hugh Laurie für eine bessere Welt:

    [via Fichtenstein mit mehr Dank, als ich in Worten auszudrücken vermag]
  5. Mit Dank an Katja für den Hinweis: Unintentionally sexy church signs. Obwohl ich bei einigen nicht sicher bin, ob nicht vielleicht doch ein bisschen Vorsatz im Spiel war.
  6. Zynæsthesie mit einem anderen alternativen Ende zum Papstbesuch: Verratzt
    „„… zunächst nur Erstaunen, teilweise Heiterkeit, dann jedoch blankes Entsetzen, das in lautes, ja tränenreiches Wehklagen mündete, als Seine Heiligkeit Papst Benedikt XVI. in seiner lang erwarteten Rede vor dem Deutschen Bundestag die Konsequenzen zog, sein Amt niederlegte und zugleich die Auflösung der Römisch-katholischen Kirche…““
  7. DasSan zeigt uns (mit Hilfe von Savage Chicken), wie man sich Reality TV ansieht. Funktioniert meiner Meinung nach auch mit nahezu jedem anderen Fernsehgenre.

Hallowed Be Thy Name

2. Juni 2011

(Dieser Artikel ist aus rational nicht zugänglichen Gründen in englischer Sprache verfasst. Ich bitte die Leser, die das stört, um Entschuldigung, aber nur ein bisschen. So wie Prominente das manchmal machen, wenn sie so tun, als würden sie sich entschuldigen, aber in Wirklichkeit nicht einmal bereit sind, den Eindruck zu erwecken, als würden sie eingestehen, einen Fehler begangen zu haben, und sowas sagen wie „Es tut mir Leid, dass einige von Ihnen sich von meinen Äußerungen angegriffen gefühlt haben.“)

I love Jeff Strand. I want to be like him. If he wasn’t so far away, I would probably loiter around his home each night and try to catch a glimpse of him, all the time trying to talk myself into the delusion that we are, indeed, quite close friends. I want his children. I mean, I want children with him, together, as a familiy. Not that I want to take the one he already has. Now, that would be creepy. Unfortunately, I’m male. I’m also heterosexual, so there goes that.

But should you read this, Jeff, and should you happen to be gay (which I have no reason to suspect, but what do I know?), please do not consider this my last word on the subject.

Now you know how much I love him, maybe it’s time to let you in on the reason: Jeff Strand is a writer. Scratch that. He is the writer. Which is also why I kind of hate him. Jeff Strand is exactly the writer I want to be. The only reason I am able to love him in spite of that ist that, at least, I’m slightly better-looking than him. That’s gotta be worth something, I guess.

He is funny, he is original, he paints convincing, interesting characters, he shows us their strengths and their weaknesses and gives us reasons to like them, whether they are good or bad, and then he kills them. His dialogues are quirky, amusing, and they are never just transparent plot devices to hand the reader some piece of information. His stories are fast-paced, violent, cruel, funny, touching, macabre, did I mention funny?, and absolutely insane.

Just reading the short descriptions provided on the cover should be enough to know that you want to buy all of his stories. For instance:

Wolf Hunt. Two thugs for hire. One beautiful woman. And one vicious frickin‘ werewolf.

The sinister Mr. Corpse. The feel-good zombie novel of the year.

Benjamin’s Parasite. A rather disgusting action/horror/comedy about why getting infested with a ghastly parasite is unpleasant.

Pressure. What if your best friend was a killer… And he wanted you to be just like him?

Oh, and he also has a blog.

If you’re still doubting, first: What the hell is wrong with you? Second:

„Do you have a cover story?“

„Excuse me?“

„For your family. You’re not going to tell them that a couple of hired thugs came over and broke your thumbs for stealing from a drug lord, are you?“

„I guess not.“

„Are you clumsy?“

„I… I can be.“

„So, theoretically, you could have tripped, put out your hands to break your fall, hit the floor, and snapped your thumbs, correct?“

„I’m not sure.“

George sighed. „Work with me, Doug. This is for your benefit. I’m trying to protect your marriage. You want your grandkids to know that you’re a scumbag sleazeball criminal? You’re way too old to start life from scratch, so you need to commit to the story, make it believable. Let’s practice.“

„I fell… and, uh, hit the floor…“

„That’s total crap. You need conviction, and you also need a sheepish demeanor. Look me in the eye and start off with something like ‚You’ll never believe this‘, and then hold up your thumbs. That’ll make it look like you aren’t trying to hide anything. It’s kind of a ridiculous story, so your performance needs to be spot-on.“

Douglas cleared his throat. „You’ll never believe this… but I was walking through the living room…“

„Hold up your thumbs.“

Douglas held up his thumbs. „I was walking through the living room, and I tripped on a dog bone–“

„Chew toy sounds better.“

„A chew toy. I fell and tried to break my fall, and I hurt my thumbs.“

„Nobody’s going to punish the dog for making you trip, right?“

„No.“

„Good.“

See what I mean? Now go and buy his books. All of them. Off you go!