I have recently decided to try to finish the first draft of my novel Little People, Big Guns, which almost certainly qualifies as bizarro, this coming summer. I decided to do some research into the genre, so I bought Erik Williams' horror novel Bigfoot Crank Stomp, which I first became aware of after meeting representatives of Eraserhead Press and Deadite Press (they're all part of the same company) at the World Horror Convention last May. It was a short novel and a quick read, so here's my review...
A group of meth-cooking petty criminals have captured Bigfoot and for some reason have gotten him hooked on methamphetamine. They intend to get him high and then burn down the cabin around him once they're finished cooking one last batch of meth, but some drug-dealing rivals interfere. Bigfoot gets loose and goes into a withdrawal fury and it's up to some local sheriff's deputies, a traumatized Iraq veteran, and a random camper to put a stop to him. Think a deranged, comedic cross between Breaking Bad and Harry and the Hendersons...
*One thing I like about bizarro fiction, even though I haven't read much of it, is that the plots are really creative and often hilarious. For example, Eraserhead put out a novel entitled Shatnerquest in which a bunch of nerds try to rescue William Shatner after the apocalypse--only to find he's grown into a Godzilla-sized monster and is rampaging around. Bigfoot Crank Stomp certainly fits this tradition, as the plot by itself amusing by virtue of just how ridiculous it is.
*One character gets high and a significant chunk of the story is told from his point of view. I've never done any sort of drug (let me make this quite clear) so I don't know how it feels to be intoxicated, but I like how the point of view shifts all the way to bugnuts insane. And some of the decisions the character made in this condition made me laugh out loud.
*The novel is never boring. It's a quick, entertaining read.
*There are some good descriptive passages, like how Bigfoot's roars and screams sound and how a man who fell off a cliff is described as looking like "he tried to kiss the inside of a tree trunk at high speed."
*It's never explained just how the first set of criminals captured Bigfoot in the first place, or why they decided to get him hooked on meth. People who do drugs often make extremely questionable decisions, but we have scenes from the point of view of the meth-cookers who got their hands on Bigfoot and we still don't get so much as "it seemed like a good idea at the time." A character lampshades this by saying they'll probably never know (in response to a character who's astounded someone actually did this), but still.
*The scenes from Bigfoot's point of view refer to meth as "food." But wouldn't it differentiate meth from the more normal sort of food it eats? Perhaps some kind of modifier of "food" like "happy food" or "sleepy food" or something. If anything, even if Bigfoot is a being of less-than-human intelligence, it would differentiate between the food that it eats and something that goes up its nose.
*Another group of characters are introduced a little over halfway through the story. It would have been better if they were at least mentioned earlier. Perhaps as clients of the drug dealers, or someone whom the sheriff is suspicious of? Think Chekhov's Gun.
*The novel isn't very long--according to Amazon it's 156 pages, but it cost $4.95. Marko Kloos's much-longer Frontlines e-books (as of this review Terms of Enlistment, Lines of Departure, Angles of Attack, and the forthcoming Chains of Command) are around three times as long each at the same price. Although the novel was a quick read and entertaining, it's far too short for an e-book price that high.
*Not sure how much staying power the novel has. When I reviewed Clive Barker's The Hellbound Heart (you can see that here), I criticized the purchase price for being too high for something that short, but I've re-read The Hellbound Heart at least twice. I'm not sure if I'll re-read Bigfoot Crank Stomp.
Although it's a fun book, it's too short for the purchase price and I don't foresee it having a lot of re-read value. If you've got Amazon's Kindle Unlimited, though, a borrow would be worth your while for a trip to the gym or killing a couple hours. Six out of ten.
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