Book review: Black Hole Blues by Patrick Wensink

Black Hole BluesBlack Hole Blues by Patrick Wensink

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If I ever get narcissistic enough to create my own awards (and that may not be far off because I like myself a hell of a lot), I would have to give one to Patrick Wensink for Black Hole Blues. I could call them the “Steve Awards for Achievement in Bizarre Literature”. Who wouldn’t want to receive a SAABL? Nobody, that’s who. The award Wensink would win is for ‘Doing Something I’ve Not Seen Before’. Or maybe a shorter name than that, I don’t know yet, but he would win it because Wensink does it.

He wrote a novel with very novel Points of View. A sandwich. A guitar. A stolen automobile. A barbeque grill. A rather vulgar and pissed off atomic particle. We experience Black Hole Blues through the “eyes” of each of these things, and a few others. While that might seem at first like a stunt, and I suppose it mostly is, it still works. Wensink manages to give these things, these rather benign inanimate objects, their own perspective but also a dash of humanity that helps the reader relate to them. (And please note that this may have been done before, but as I mentioned previously, I hadn’t seen it before, and if I haven’t seen it, then it might as well not exist.)

Yes, the idea of a sad, forgetten and rotting club sandwich telling us a story is absurd, but that’s also what makes this book fun. The human characters are, without a doubt, the core of this story, but the real pleasure comes in reading what is already a goofy tale through completely different and inventive perspectives, and that’s why it stands out. You see the characters in different ways and learn more about them than perhaps we otherwise would have. These varying POVs are punctuated throughout and interspersed between the POVs of the human characters, but to be honest, I think the whole thing could have been written from the perspective of different inanimate objects because Wensink does it so well.

The other thing you need to pay attention to is the blog that goes with this book. If you haven’t visited Death to Kenny Rogers yet, you’re not only missing out, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Don’t disservice yourself. You really need to get weekly doses of Kenny Rogers’s evil. It’s a public service that will earn Patrick Wensink the SAABL for Humanitarian Service. Congrats, Pat! Two-time winner!

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News, Links and other filler in between posts of Muscle Memory 2

Catching up on some recent news and reviews that I forgot to post here:

1. Muscle Memory is part of the Amazon 4-for-3 deal – buy four books that qualify for the deal and you’ll get one of them for free (CLICK HERE). Also, there are tons of Eraserhead Press, Lazy Fascist and Deadite Press titles that qualify. Good time to stuck up on summer reading material. (SEE SOME OF THEM HERE and also HERE)

2. The awesome image up above of the raccoon playing a tuba was created by Kirsten Alene for my story “Varmits!” which you can read over on Unicorn Knife Fight. CLICK HERE to read it.

3. Karl Fischer posted a flattering review of Muscle Memory on his new tumblr site Electric Bazaar. READ IT HERE

4. If you snag a copy of William Pauley III‘s book THE BROTHERS CRUNK (attention NES lovers, attention!) and message Chris Bowsman that you have done so, Chris will send you a free PDF ebook of his own book A LIFE ON FIRE, an excellent little nightmare about a man slowly devolving into insanity. I’ve read and enjoyed them both, and this is a hell of a cool deal. CLICK HERE FOR SOME CRUNK

5. I’m on Google+ now – COME SAY HI

I think that’s all. I just finished reading ROBOPOCALYPSE, which started a little shaky but turned out to be a decent read. Now I’m starting Patrick Wensink’s BLACK HOLE BLUES which, after one chapter, has started out very strong. If it’s as funny and enjoyable as his blog DEATH TO KENNY ROGERS then he has a winner here. So far, so good. At the end of August, an interview of me by Mr. Wensink should find its way to WE WHO ARE ABOUT TO DIE,  so definitely mark your calendars and cancel all of your other plans for that exciting event.

OK, that’s definitely it. Unless you want to share something with me. Whatcha reading these days?

July 1, 2011: DON’T Burn ‘Muscle Memory’ Day!

It has come to my attention that a particularly annoying and poorly disguised person has launched a campaign to wipe my book “Muscle Memory” from existence by creating a “Burn ‘Muscle Memory’ Day” event. Now, I know as well as you that it makes no sense to try and buy up every copy of a book that is Printed on Demand, but there’s really no rationalizing with this guy. His response was this: “Print on Demand is an atheist myth invented by liberals, just like global warming and E. Coli and the Mars rover.”

So, there you go.

In response, I have decided to hold an alternate/competing event. Rather than burn copies of my book, I would be most humbly appreciative if you would instead post a review of it, on or before July 1st, on and Goodreads.

It’s true that I took some liberties with famous folks like Kirk Cameron and Terry Bradshaw in this story, but it will ultimately be up to you to decide if this was done is poor taste, or to solid comedic effect. Apparently, the subject matter of my book has struck a nerve with this person who calls himself Cam Kirkeron, but I think it’s pretty obvious who he really is. It’s a sad, pathetic attempt to stifle free speech and grab attention, and I say we all show this guy just how wrong-headed his actions are here.

Grab a copy of Muscle Memory from Amazon (follow this link) to decide for yourself if it truly deserves to burn, and let Cam Kirkeron know about it on July 1st. I have a feeling he won’t be going away without some convincing. Thanks –Steve

P.S. – While you’re at Amazon deciding what other books to add to your cart to get your free shipping, I would suggest two new releases: Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective by Garrett Cook – and – Black Hole Blues by Patrick Wensink