Holy Fuck, Another Damn List?

‘Tis the season for creating lists and such, and yes, I’m here to add another one, but I thought I would simply list the books of 2011 that I suspect I’ll still be talking about after this year is over. (How’s that for a lazy snappy lead-in?) I settled on four of them, with a few more honorable mentions. The first book listed here is technically from 2010, but I don’t care because it was published in December of ’10 and I say it’s close enough for rock and roll. And I didn’t read it until this year. So there.

1. By the Time We Leave Here, We’ll Be Friends, by J. David Osborne

This is the book voted mostly likely to send you swirling down the toilet bowl of depression. Yes, it’s that dark and that bleak. And it’s fucking cold, too. Set in a Communist Siberian gulag, you should consider throwing on a hoodie-footie before reading this, lest you catch your death of cold. But goddamn, is it beautifully written. Osborne’s style is as clipped, considered and no-nonsense hardass as the world he creates, and that’s why this works so damn well. If you want something original, compelling, smart, violent, and yet beautiful at the same time, I implore you to grab a copy of this one.

2. Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

And now for something completely different, Cline’s first-person love letter to all things 1980s. I was never the biggest gamer back in the day, and even less so now for that matter, but I was very familiar with the Atari and video arcade staples of my youth – Qbert, Pac-Man, Missle Defense, Galaga, etc., so there was enough here I could recognize. There are also several old school game references in this one that didn’t resonate with me, but enough ’80s movie minutiae to make me do a little pee-pee in my pants. I really dug the nostalgia and consider this to be a perfect read for an ’80s child like myself. Good times.

3. Nightjack, by Tom Piccirilli

Back to the darkness, this is a story of a guy with dissociative identity disorder who tries to solve his wife’s murder while juggling his multiple identities in his head, each of which is written as a separate character. In lesser hands, this would be a mess, but Piccirilli does a marvelous job of making each identity their own person, with an arc that fits into the puzzle of a plot. Great writing, great characters, and a tense, violent crime story that has me wondering why it took me this long to read something from ‘Pic’.

4. Rico Slade Will Fucking Kill You, by Bradley Sands

Another personality disorder type story wherein a popular action movie star can’t suppress his ultra-macho, throat-ripping asshole of a character, the eponymous Rico Slade. Funny, but with some surprising heart for what initially appears to be a simple Bizarro weirdfest. (Read my original review here)

Those are the four books from 2011 that I dug the most. Other releases from this year that I enjoyed, are worth mentioning, and definitely worth your time are: Flashback, by Dan Simmons; Hooray For Death, by Mykle Hansen;  Already Gone, by John Rector; Crab Town, by Carlton Mellick III; Embedded, by Dan Abnett

Book review: Rico Slade Will Fucking Kill You, by Bradley Sands

Rico Slade Will Fucking Kill YouRico Slade Will Fucking Kill You by Bradley Sands

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bradley Sands will fucking entertain you. Because that’s what Bradley Sands does. He writes funny books about disturbed movie stars who think they are the action heroes they portray in their movies. He writes about these guys doing things like back-flipping, and throat-ripping, and catch-phrasing, and face-kicking, and other good shit like that.

Bradley Sands doesn’t care if you laugh or not. Bradley Sands doesn’t give a shit about entertaining you. He just does it because he’s Bradley Fucking Sands, and that’s what happens when he writes a book. It entertains you, and you laugh.

Bradley Sands clearly watched a lot of action movies to prepare for writing this book. Bradley Sands has definitely seen “Roadhouse” and “The Last Action Hero” and possibly “Action Jackson” though maybe not, because that was a more obscure Carl Weathers vehicle that came out right around the time “Predator” was made. Carl Weathers wasn’t the star of “Predator” but he definitely parlayed his presence in that movie and his turns as Apollo Creed in Rocky I, II, III, and IV into his own headlining role.

The star of “Predator” was Arnold Schwarzenegger. There’s a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger on the cover of Rico Slade Will Fucking Kill You, which is Bradley Sands’s book. Arnold’s hair in the cover shot is on fire, which is also how Bradley Sands’s hair was while he was writing this book. That’s why Bradley Sands is bald now. Perhaps he should have called the book Rico Slade Will Fucking Bald You, but probably not because that’s not as funny and too much of an inside joke to be the title of a book. But his hair was on fire while he wrote it. And he was going Mach 2.

That’s another reference to an 80s action movie. That was from “Top Gun”. That movie starred Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer and it was about Navy pilots repressing their homosexual desires for each other by wearing hair gel and sweating a lot and playing volleyball together. Neither Arnold Schwarzenegger nor Carl Weathers were in that movie. No one as manly as those two, or Rico Slade for that matter, was in that movie. Rico Slade would fucking kill everyone that starred in “Top Gun”. Chip Johnson, the actor who plays Rico Slade, would have loved to be in “Top Gun”, but not Rico Slade. He would have the flight deck of that Navy aircraft carrier covered with the blood and ripped-out throats of “Top Gun” actors, because that’s what he does, and that’s why you need to read this fucking book.

Why the fuck are you still reading this review and not Rico Slade Will Fucking Kill You? That book is way better than this review. Go on now. Let Bradley Sands fucking entertain you, already.

View all my reviews

2-Minute Drill: Bradley Sands

When this world grows dark, when men with pride and honor and integrity are in short supply, there is one to whom we can turn. A shining, heroic beacon in the night, a pillar of strength behind whom we can cower, whose legs we can clutch like frightened children while he fights for our freedom and survival against the wicked forces of tyranny and evil. That man is … not who we’re interviewing today. This guy’s name is Bradley Sands. He’s a writer. So, yeah, that pretty much tells you a lot right there.

The 2-Minute Drill is 5 quick questions and 5 quick answers from someone you probably haven’t heard of, but should hear from. This isn’t some rambling, long-winded author interview here. We dispense with the pleasantries and get down to brass tacks. We ask the tough questions and get the tough answers that you need to know. And if not, we’ll just make them up.

Bradley Sands is the author of It Came From Below the Belt, and the recently released collection of bizarro stories, My Heart Said No, But the Camera Crew Said Yes! He’s also the editor of Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens. Apparently, he’s never met a ridiculously long-winded title he didn’t love. Time to get our Drill thang on …

2-MD: Bradley, we hate to break this news to you, but it appears that some of your “friends” don’t think very highly of you. Now, brace yourself, because this will come as a shock… Your so-called friends went behind your back and published an anthology called ‘Bradley Sands is a Dick‘. Hey, don’t shoot the messenger here, we’re just trying to be of some help. What do you have to say to those “people” who did this to you?

BS: I am fully aware of my so-called friends’ actions considering I’m the one who published the anthology. I get my best ideas when I’m drunk. Andersen Prunty served as the submissions editor. His first name makes him sound like a dork, which is extremely appropriate. We received about two thousand submissions a week. It’s amazing what desperate, shitty writers will submit to these days. Andersen Prunty, the dork, made a great deal of them cry. Although it had more to do with taking his pants off at the funerals of their loved ones than rejecting their stories.  (2-MD: Ohhhh… so they went in FRONT of your back and published it. Those bastards.)

Bradley Sands, before his face shit out a huge hairball.

2-MD: Your photos online are very misleading. You look to be a clean cut fellow, but we’ve seen recent evidence to the contrary that you have developed quite the birds’ nest hanging from your face. Can you tell us what your beard smells like at this very moment and how many McDonald’s Happy Meal toys you have stashed in there?

BS: My beard smells magnificent, like heartbreak, helplessness, and Selsun Blue shampoo. No Happy Meals in there, but I do have a thermonuclear detonator.

2-MD: Regarding your book, “My Heart Said No, But the Camera Crew Said Yes!”, is this in any way based on your affiliation with the folks from Girls Gone Wild? And in the spirit of GGW, would you be willing to show us your boobs? How about for $20? The ladies out there would love it, we’re just sayin’. Think book promotion dude, c’mon. Don’t be a dick.

BS: I’m not affiliated with Girls Gone Wild, you moron (you really should have done research on me before writing these questions). I’m involved with their competitors, Accountants Gone Bananas. But it’s not like Girls Gone Wild is much competition for us. Watching boobs on TV can only be entertaining for so long. Eventually, it’s as exciting as attending a conference on environmental engineering. But watching accountants experience the throes of psychotic breakdowns never gets boring….And I will show you my boobs if and only if 200 people buy my book as a result of this interview. (2-MD: Pff – research is for weaklings, and … Wait a second… did he just say watching boobs can get boring? Really? Why, we are without words…)

2-MD: Sorry. We shouldn’t have called you a dick. Since we’ll be at BizarroCon together in November, I suggest we challenge the rest of those bastards who were talking shit about you to a tag team arm wrestling contest. And we can even play some Tag Team as our intro music. It’ll be totally sweet and badass.

BS: I arm wrestled (quote) bizarro author (unquote) Cameron Pierce during the first Bizarro Con a couple of years ago. I was about to win, but then he pushed my head into the hard metallic part of a chair. That guy is a spineless douchebag, and he’s publishing a book of mine around September or so. When I sent him the book for consideration, I included a death threat rather than a cover letter. Now what the fuck is your question here? (2-MD: This just in from the Department of Redundancy Department – a douchebag is, by definition, spineless. And what the fuck was your answer here?)

2-MD: OK, serious question: if a normal person runs across a Bizarro out in the wild, what are the best techniques to fend off an attack? The old field manuals all suggest boxing their ears and scolding them like a puppy, but when we tried that with Jordan Krall, it just made him hump our feet.

BS: Suggest they spend more than three days writing a book and they will lose control of their bodily functions. This will incapacitate them, giving you an opportunity to run away.  (2-MD: We are truly in awe of this answer…)

My God, what hath we wrought here? We’re not entirely sure, but it feels like a slice of awesome. It’s been some time since the last Drill, and now we remember why. Bradley Sands, you were a stout competitor in this round of electronic jousting and we thank you for participating. Now, get the fuck outta here.