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SKUNKVILLE SAGA by John Morton

SKUNKVILLE SAGA

War & Peace for the YouTube Generation

By John Morton

Pub Date: Aug. 16th, 2012
Publisher: Manuscript

A relentless, bizarre phantasmagoria rattled off in a series of bloglike episodes.

Few reading experiences match this one. Its structure, reminiscent of a radio play, allows for its author, a kind of human spambot, to push the threads of fiction as the text continues to be written and posted online even to this day. To say this book has a nontraditional plot fails to capture the vast gulf between it and most works of fiction. It doesn’t develop so much as continue, endlessly, deeper down a rabbit hole of absurdity and nonsense. It constantly breaks from typical storytelling: When characters die, they often reform as cyborgs or clones; real-world places are radically different than in reality; real people, including the current and former presidents, arise as characters, even though the story takes place in a kind of nightmarish realm. There’s a plot in there somewhere (a looming robot-aided apocalypse, the pursuit of busty women, etc.), while characters include a doll with a corroded face, a dog-headed man, a talking bulldog restaurateur, Dr. Derriere, a killer robot, a picture of Justin Bieber as a “mischief scout,” a godlike being known as the Great Badger, and many others. Despite being totally unpredictable, the novel isn’t terribly exciting, since characters have few humanistic qualities and are instead fantasias acting on the author’s whims. In the madcap atmosphere, the narrative sometimes veers into deeply disturbing, offensive territory, as it invokes everything from cultural stereotypes a near-constant sexualization and objectification of women. The comical tone struggles to adequately address such weighty subjects, although there doesn’t seem to be much interest in political correctness, so the text broaching these topics is intentionally flippant at best. Some readers may enjoy this bizarre brand of humor, which requires full immersion; however, most readers will find the zaniness tiring and its subject matter and aesthetics beyond the bounds of taste.

This otherworldly blog-novel will appeal to only the most adventurous readers.