zine, [zeen] noun. 1. abbr. of fanzine; 2. any amateurly-published periodical. Oxford Reference


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Review: Bust Down the Door and Eat all the Chickens #6


via HorrorScope by Miranda Siemienowicz on 9/22/07

Issue 6 of Bust Down the Door and Eat all the Chickens, the small press absurdist magazine edited by Bradley Sands, presents its usual gamut of strange, hilarious and downright nonsensical stories.

The most experimental, by which is meant ridiculous, is Bryson Newhart's "Too Much Psychic Jesus Blood", a piece of writing that is impossible to describe, but contains thoughts and images such as psychic gardening, surplus limbs, megaphones, airborne horse shodding and micturitional tintinnabulation. It seems to be about some kind of war, but the content is hardly the point. What is the point, however, is dreamy, meandering use of language that propels the reader forward despite an utter lack of tangible logic, only wavering towards making sense for a sentence or, at worst, a paragraph at a time. By the time you finish it, you're sure you've read it but can't remember a word.

Far more sane are such stories as "How the Discovery of a New Element Reflected the Relationship of Those Who Unearthed It" by Julius Henry, essentially the transcript of a conversation occurring during the event described in the title. The drawback here is that it is not always easy to keep track of which of the two parties is speaking, a feat that is required for the proper enjoyment of this piece. A nice ending, for all that.

Some pieces are written like ordinary stories, where the words make sense and the characters do things that are reasonably easy to follow. In D. Harlan Wilson's "The Silo" - the first chapter of Wilson's upcoming novel Blankety Blank: A Novel of Vulgaria - the protagonist drives a nail into his hand during his supervision of the erection of a silo in his front yard. Similarly understandable is "Robo-Trippin'" by Joey Goebel, the longest story in this issue. Here a young boy, ostracised by his friends, is built a robot by his father as a substitute playmate. The drug use, the debauchery and the general devastation is just an interesting aside.

"Scratch" by Jeremy C. Shipp is the most carefully structured story of the issue. Some nice images, like a wind-up microwave, complete the basic storyline of a man whose decisions about family come back to haunt him. The re-use of significant sentences gives the story a sense of completeness without sacrificing the obligatory suspension of reality.

Some stories deliver little. Ryder Collins' "Mr. Man Opens a Whole Can Of..." is a whole lot of talk about practically nothing, without any of the evolving imagery of outright absurdism, and "Clive Confesses", by Anthony Neil Smith, lacks maturity in the writing as it tells the story of a number of accidental murders. Rather than making for an entertaining black comedy, it is tacky in its content and fails to impress with its craft.

In Issue 6, Bust Down the Door and Eat all the Chickens delivers a reasonably rounded array of its trademark absurdist fiction. The presentation, as always, fits the contents of the magazine to perfection, with delightfully appropriate colour cover art. A light, carnivalesque read.

Bust Down the Door and Eat all the Chickens
Editor: Bradley Sands
Publisher: No Girls Allowed Press
Available online for $US10.99 (includes shipping to Australia).


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