Saturday, December 31, 2005

REVIEW, JANE'S GAME, a bizarro novel by Mike Philbin

JANE’S GAME
a bizarro novel by Mike Philbin
Review by Kyle Kucek for Insidious Reflections

The technicians at the Fountains Institute for Molecular Research thought they knew what they were doing when they wrote Jane's program; they had written and rewritten her so many times why should this time be any different? JANE'S GAME by Mike Philbin is a brutal piece of psycho-sexual horror fiction - you have been warned.

That is the synopsis given for Mike Philbin’s bizarro novel, “Jane’s Game”. But it doesn’t even summarize the insanity that ensues when reading this 190-page opus of mayhem. And you have been warned.

The book starts off with a description of Jane, the female protagonist, who is a beautiful model who has just stepped out of the limelight. After that you’ll find that the pace kicks up a notch and hardly ever lets up.

There’s humor, there’s violence, there’s sex-- there’s a ton of plain crazy shit that happens that are hard to simplify into one storyline. Basically, an artist, Paul Kasparek, comes across a naked Jane in his studio and raises her, but discovers that she isn’t what she seems. Some of the best scenes are when Paul is dreaming, which features a unique narrative.

One of the novel’s strongest points is description. Throughout the novel, especially the dream sequences, Philbin details with intricate words and plenty of interesting metaphors and similes.

The weak points were at times you couldn’t tell if it was a dream sequence or not since there were so many at once. There were also a few typos here and there, but not a big issue.

Overall, Jane’s Game is a great novel that can be enjoyed on many levels, especially if you enjoy fresh, inventive ideas presented in an interesting way. The plot summary does not simply sum up all the madness that occurs, and you have to read the book itself to truly know what you’re missing.

Philbin is definitely an author to look out for, with bizarre tales and subject matter that are sure to assist you in realizing there is some truly original work out there in the independent world. Kudos, Mike.

Be sure to check out his independent publishing company, Chimericana Books, for Jane’s Game, Chimeraworld #1, #2 and #3, Horror Quarterly, The Best of Chim+Him+Her, The Life & Death of Hertzan Chimera, and more.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

TWITCHER HEAVEN

Nah, it's not a story of terminal ataxia or some hitherto unknown skin infection, it's about the birds, man. The feathery variety. I've just spent a pleasant week of eating and drinking in France with my French family. It was quite an event diligently working towards the next fine meal and the next stunning wine. But enough of Xmas excess.

We had a couple trips around in the car and apart from the usual pigeons and seagulls and wrens and sparrows, France (even the north where we stayed) has quite an abundance of exotic birds. Special among these were buzzards (with wingspans as wide as the car) and kestrels and (flocks of) black cormorants and white herons (one of which we found frozen to death on some walk in the country, all skin and bones) and some wierd crested birds by the hundred that I've never seen outside of France. The star of the ornithological show?

A sole Kingfisher.

I've noticed them speeding past in a blue blur every so often in England when walking beside river or canal but I've never seen one perching and hunting and eating like I did in France. I got within a couple of steps of it and observed its twitchy behaviour for a few minutes before it sped off in search of another great French meal; another great fish wine.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Chimeraworld #2 promo!

Yeah, like where did that come from?

It's the first time I've ever seen this (done by Anthony Cain who had a story in CW2) but it's a scorcher. Maybe I could convince Anthony to do us one for the release of Chimeraworld #3)

Check out this (belated) Chimeraworld #2 promo.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

MURDER FOR WEST OXFORD CYCLISTS:

It's literally a murder gauntlet for cyclists trying to use the cycle lanes into Oxford in the morning.

It's an epidemic of reckless driving that has almost ONE CRUSHED CYCLE PER WEEK down the Botley Road. Cars cutting across traffic, neglecting to check the cycle lane. Even cars turning left, ignorant that there's a cyclist alongside them.

This morning, a cycle crushed on the corner of the junction opposite Eggs Etcetera. A few meters into the junction a car. In front of that car a body. The notoriously dangerous part of Botley road used to be the railway bridge, with idiots dropping people off in the standing lines of traffic right into the path of cyclists forced to squeeze through where the cycle lane DISAPPEARS - there have been a couple of fatalities here, while I've lived in Oxford. But now the epidemic of asshole drivers has stretched back along Botley Road itself, all the way back to the Park & Ride junction where cars 'pretend' to be turning left to the Park & Ride then jump the lights to queue jump into the traffic jam into town.

And it's not just going into Oxford - driving back at night on the 'cycle lane' out of Oxford up Botley road is just like a game of Russian Roulette. I have passed many an accident and almost ended up a victim of car mania myself. I was nearly killed at the notorious ToysRUs junction by some car who was queue jumping on the inside lane and speeding across the cyclist right of way lane. It's total and utter madness.

We gotta ban cars from the centre of Oxford now - this is just plain crazy. They're literally murdering cyclists on Botley Road.

Monday, December 19, 2005

HAMMOND GALLERY FEATURE ARTIST:

Apparently, I'm the featured artist over the Xmas period at the gallery of online surrealism known as THE HAMMOND GALLERY

:)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

WRITER NEWS:

On a more serious note, I'm not sure what I'll do as a writer. You see, for the last few months, I haven't written one single story. I wrote myself a list of 'great' story ideas back in July, when I was working in a video store part time. I did try to flesh out a few of these ideas but nothing ever came to fruition. I did get 45,000 words into a novel called PLANET OF THE OWLS but that still refuses to resolve itself to the expected 60,000. Maybe I need a fresh pair of eyes on it. I dunno. I just finished final polishing on the Chimeraworld #3 galley (to see paperback publication January 14, 2006) - but this is only an editorial duty. There's been no decent Mike Philbin output since, well, the anniversary of the death of Hertzan Chimera back in August.

I'm sure there's no connection but (since I started my new job in the games industry at the start of October, I've been unable to string together a decent paragraph - even this entry is difficult for me). Maybe it's time to let fate take its course and just stop.

:)

Just stop.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

CHIMERAWORLD #3, FINAL READ THROUGH:

Having just finished the final re-read of the corrected Chimeraworld #3 galley up to TRUE CROSS, I'm gonna call it a night and head off to the land of nod.

As I was re-reading the galley, it struck me that (while the beginning and end of the book were nailed) the middle of the book jumped around a little too skittishly, hence this slight re-arrangement of the running order.


THE TEST - Ralph Greco, Jr.
THREE-HEAD FULL FISH TANK – Dean R. Winters
FEED THE MACHINE - Michael De Kler
SPREADING THE LOVE - Jenny Ashford
MISFORTUNE SMILES TOO - Nicholas Alan Tillemans
CAVE DWELLER - C. C. Parker
FAMILIAR FACES - Joshua Scribner
CHANGED HIS MIND - Sean Logan
PATIENT VIRTUES - Chet Gottfried
MOUSER - D.L. Snell
KEY MAN - C.L. Russo
CRUSH FREAK – Anthony Armstrong
STENCH MAN KILLER BOY – Paul Pinn
AT THE SOUND OF THE TONE - Tim McDaniel
TRUE CROSS - Will McIntosh
TEN WARNINGS - Michael A. Kechula
MR. ARNOLD’S WINDOW - Kevin James Miller
MEESTER CLIN & THE SECRET OF THE PAIN-MAKERS - Richard Pitaniello
THE BARK THAT BITES - Richard D. Moore
BALLOON - Liam Davies
WHAT SOLDIERS DO - Tonya Price
I FEEL THE NEED - Glen Alan Hamilton
TOP O’ THE NEWS - David L. Tamarin

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

WEBSITE, CHIMERICANA BOOKS:

There's a new website called CHIMERICANA BOOKS which allows me (as publisher/editor) to expand upon the 2005 titles and offer some surprise news about forthcoming releases in 2006.

My first feature is THE WRITERS OF CHIMERAWORLD #3 - yup, you got it, all 23 writers of this year's anthology (ready for publication January 14, 2006) shootin' their bizarro mouths off.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

CHIMERAWORLD #4 GUIDELINES:

2006 is different in that I want to publish TWO Chimeraworlds this year. With the ink on the contracts yet to dry for CW3, the comprehensive guidelines for Chimeraworld #4 (things to do in a bizarro car) have just been uploaded. Publication date is Xmas, 2006.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Life And Death Of Hertzan Chimera:

The Life and Death of Hertzan Chimera
A review by A.P. Fuchs


For over a decade Hertzan Chimera terrorized the online writing world both with his brutal brand of fiction and his brutal personality. That was until August 2004, when Mike Philbin, Chimera’s secret identity, killed off the fictional writer and decided to write under his real name. Which leads us to The Life and Death of Hertzan Chimera, Philbin’s much-delayed autobiography on his literary creation.

In short, The Life and Death of Hertzan Chimera is basically divided up into two halves, the first being a history on Chimera and how he came to be, the last being a series of interviews where Chimera acts as both interviewer and interviewee.

The reason this reviewer picked up the book was more so not because I was a fan of Chimera’s work—I had only read a handful of short stories; I will state that based on what I read, I enjoyed Chimera’s writing and was more than impressed with his insane amount of creativity--but because I was interested in getting a behind the scenes look into what most would consider a demented psyche. But I was only partially satisfied in my quest. The first half of the book gave insight into Chimera’s childhood, who he was and how he came to be, which was interesting but wasn’t really explored in the detail I had hoped. After each section I was left wanting a little bit more. But this is also coming from a guy who enjoys long-winded fiction and detailed explanations so it could be just me.

The latter half, the interviews, left me cold, I’m afraid. The ones where Chimera himself was being interviewed were fine and had a place in the book, but the ones where he was interviewer read more like filler than needed information. As I read the interviews, one of the biggest things I kept waiting/hoping for was an explanation for Chimera’s distaste with the current state of horror and, more importantly, his hatred for the mass market press. Though these were explained, they were explained briefly and I was hoping for something more in depth, a more thorough argument about horror being a lost art and all that’s left is cookie cutter fiction.

On the whole, I would recommend this book to those looking for a glimpse into the mind of Chimera and what made him tick. What I am looking forward to, however, is where Mike Philbin is headed now that he’s free of Chimera and is able to just be himself without always putting on a show. That, of course, is the secret to any great writing: honesty.

Soon Philbin will have his day.

A.P. Fuchs

Monday, December 05, 2005

BUKKAKE STORY: silverthought press - bukkakeworld novel

originally a 2005 blogpost, updated in 2008:

On my old website there used to be a tooth-some choke-some story called BUKKAKEWORLD where the noise pollution of modern living is replaced with the milky onslaught of said Japan-originated face-seeding fetish. Looking in the hit counter, I see that my site receives a LOT of hits from this search term

bukkake story

my old website used to rank at #1 on page #1 in Google for this search term. Wasn't I proud? But what sick fucks are out there searching for stories, about bukkake? I mean, we all know what's gonna happen. Right? The face is gonna get plastered with manmilk. Where's the story in that. Right?

Or is there more to BUKKAKEWORLD -- that's a link to the 2008 NOVELISATION of the original bukkakeworld story, that's what. Get ready for the world to fuck your fucking face, you corporate slave.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

PALAHNIUK PURSUITS:

Yeah, when are they gonna bring out the Xmas boardgame Palahniuk Pursuits? I just finished reading 'Fight Club' (yeah, I know I'm a bit late but...) and I've now read a few Palahniuk novels. You know, they say that a writer that researches his material can convey a stronger character. Hmm...

From what I've read, 'Palahniuk' seems to be ALL RESEARCH - a genre of fiction obsessively addicted by the ephemera, the nik-nak, the detail. You find it hard to appreciate BIG PICTURE when your face is being pushed down into the blackness of data. His books read like research. They read like proto-books - as if Chuck could go back into his back catalogue ten years from now, once we've all 'got it', once we've all understood that Chuck is a clever writer who spent too much time on the internet or in libraries, and rewrite all the stories into one massive "Tales of the City"-esque tome of purest quirky joy.

Until he completes said mass rewrite, just bring out the fucking boardgame already.

REPORT: BFS OPEN NIGHT:

I don't know why more people who are interested in British Fantasy don't attend these BFS Open Nights. They're FREE and anyone whose anyone in the BFindustry is there. The last one I went to, I was chatting with Simon CLark for an hour or so - now if I was a Simon Clark fanboy, this might have been a really important part of my stalking life. As it was, Simon Clark's just a real nice (and tall) northern bloke to have a chat with.

Last night's BFS Open Night (at the Devereux, just off The Strand) was no exception as it was jam-packed with the British Fantasy industry's major players and up-and-coming young upstarts. The evening was compered by Telos Publishing's David Howe. The shiny-faced Stephen Jones was there. Michael Marshall Smith. Peter Crowther. You get the idea. Notable absentees DF Lewis and Paul Pinn.

Chris Teague (Pendragon Press) was guest of honour, using the occassion to launch his writer Lavie Tidhar's new novella "An Occupation of Angels". Also in attendance were Paul Kane, Marie O'Reagan, Pam Creais, Gary Couzens, Quentin S Crisp and his girlfriend, the really drunk bloke with the piercings, white hair and leather jacket who Tony Richards and I had to scrape up off the pavement last time was there again propping up a corner of the room, Katy Bennett, Mark Samuels and his wife, Stuart Young... there were more people than this, obviously.

But the majority of my evening was spent in the sparkling company of Allen Ashley and some loud-brash New Zealander (I told you I was shit at remembering names). Rather than talking about which books we're bringing out next and boring each othere with the pathetic marketing tack, we actually just had a real good and entertaining chat about "the british fantasy scene" which I explained leaves me a little cold, I introduced the concept of the Bizarros to the two of them and the night sped away quickly. To the loud-brash New Zealander (whose company I really enjoyed), please try to enjoy your job placement in Aus, it can't be all that bad.

:)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

MOVIES, KONG 2005:

with the glut of remakes infesting the multiplexes (aka Death to Creativity Inc.) I was SO not looking forward to Peter Jackson's KONG remake. But then I went and subjected myself to the emotional trauma of the Quicktime trailers on the Apple site. And Jackson's done something quite remarkable - where he really fucked up with Golem (which I hated completely) in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, he seems to have hit the Kong nail on the head. Jackson's Kong has to put its personality across without the annoying schizo whine of Golem and (for fuck's sake) the battered old perfect father figure he's created for Kong, timelessly fatal, is beyond touching. It brings a tear to my eye and a tightness to my throat just thinking of how stunning his depiction of 'that big lug' is.

Bravo!