Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Book Review: Archelon Ranch by Garrett Cook

Archelon Ranch by Garrett Cook
Legumeman Books
111 pages

This is a weird book, but you knew that going in right? It's a bizarro novel by Garrett Cook who won the first ever bizarro showdown at the first bizarrocon so I knew it would be weird. In a way I would say this novel is a mix of dark city and Adaptation. Bernard the main character is being used in an experiment, the world seems to be trying to convince him that he is a hat. Sometimes other objects, all the while he is being shot with hallucinogenic mud.

The point is not that he is an object, as in a hat, or a dresser drawer. He is object, - protagonist of a novel. As he goes to greater levels he loses more of his sanity, and it's up to his brother Clyde to save him. Clyde is an interesting character,and he knows it. I mean literally he knws he is a character, he is aware that Garrett Cook is writing the book. It seems he has read a lot Garrett's work, and is fairly critical.

So if you have not figured it out it gets a little weird from there. There is a religion that believes in following the word of our author, and Clyde is trying to save Bernard from all the cruel intentions of the author putting him through the experiments.

Is this a horror novel? well I can't say it is not, but I was expecting something a little more horrific,maybe a little darker. That being said it is a great dip in to meta-fiction. If anything was missing, was a feeling that Garrett Cook as a author, and creator of this work was out of his mind. He did such a great job with this novel i felt he was in complete control. He wrote a brilliant piece of meta-fiction but because it was so well written I felt he was solid and in control of the work. That is impressive, but the novel lacked the bat-shit crazy-ness of say Phil K Dick in Three stigmata, where it was so crazy I had no idea where it was going, that novel just felt dangerous. We could have used a little more of that feeling of danger. That is not an insult, Cook is just to good to be that out of control.Well crafted bizarro meta-fiction. Read it, you'll be glad you did.

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