Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Book Review: All Monster Action by Cody Goodfellow

I have had to be very careful when reviewing books written by Cody Goodfellow, or released by Swallowdown Press's mastermind, Jeremy Robert Johnson. It may sound like hyperbole to say that Swallowdown is in the masterpiece business, but look at the releases thus far: Bram Stoker nominated Siren Promised (co-written by Johnson and artist Alan Clark), and Wonderland award winner Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars by Cody Goodfel

low, are indeed worthy. Then you add the other releases, like the darkly poetic Deadheart Shelters by Forrest Armstrong, and the disturbing debut by J.David Osbourne, By the Time We LeaveHere We'll Be Friends,' you have a catalog of masterpieces.

Swallowdown has a focus on horrific dark bizarro, and Goodfellow's new short story collection might be the most gonzo of releases that the press has done. That doesn't make it any less of gem and fits perfectly into Goodfellow's expanding catalog of fucked up weird-ness.

All-Monster Action is a solid collection divided into two parts: Coming Attractions, which includes monster stories, two of which are science fiction, flavored with Goodfellow's gruesome special sauce. The second part is Our Feature Presentation,the title novella divided into three parts. I personally think the highlight of the collection are the two science fiction stories, The Wage of Dinosaurs , and the truly disturbingly gross Care and Feeding of Sea Monkeys. As gross and disturbing as that story is, Goodfellow made me laugh with uncomfortable disgust in almost every story - not the least of which was the description of the monster on page 51.

If Goodfellow's descriptions are not gross enough for you, Nick Gucker (Previews), and Mike Dubish (title story) provide amazing illustrations to add the depth and awesome-ness of this package.

The title novella is a straight gonzo satire/tribute to classic Japanese giant monster Kaiju movies. This novella is chock full of insanity in a way that only Cody Goodfellow can make work. If I tell you that a mad scientist survives by turning himself into an influenza virus, and that the Earth's cities become monsters themselves in order to survive, you mike think that sounds a little too weird. Goodfellow is a master at many things, but what makes his fiction special is that no one else can take ideas that are so weird, disgusting, and at times ridiculous, and make them work quite like he does. There is no author in genre fiction that is more deserving of the title Mad Scientist. That is what he is, a straight up mongoose poop crazy mad scientist of prose.

Is it perfect? Well, All Monster Action might be a little longer than it needs to be, but you'll be laughing and enjoying the ride along the way. I don't see Cody Goodfellow's becoming a household name (unless you live in a really cool house), or mainstream, but there is no doubt that he is one of the best things to happen to horror, science fiction and bizarro fiction in the 21st century. Are you going to be able to say you were there in the early days? Read this book.