Pick of the Week (#11): Crab Town, by Carlton Mellick III
-Selection made by Rodney Carlstrom
The Book:In this town, everyone's a bottom feeder...
Five desperate criminals are robbing one of the last remaining banks in Freedom City, a town devastated by the previous nuclear war. But these are no ordinary criminals. They are members of the House of Cards, an organization designed to help the less fortunate citizens of the city. In a place where the poor are separated from the rich, jobs are as scarce as clean water, and even the doctors are as corrupt as the politicians, the House of Cards are a final beacon of hope in an otherwise hopeless world.
Featuring: radiation fetishists, balloon people, mutant crabs, sail-bike road warriors, and a love affair between a woman and an H-Bomb. This is one mean asshole of a city.
Welcome to Crab Town
The Author: Carlton Mellick III is one of the leading authors in the new Bizarro genre uprising. Since 2001, his surreal counterculture novels have drawn an international cult following despite the fact that they have been shunned by most libraries and corporate bookstores. He lives in Portland, OR, the Bizarro fiction mecca.
Visit the author's site at: wwww.carltonmellick.com
The Publisher: Founded in 1999, Eraserhead Press is an independent publishing company with a focus on Bizarro Fiction, with an aim to bring you the weirdest most fun to read books you'll ever find. For more information about Bizarro Fiction visit: www.bizarrocentral.com
To visit the publisher's site, visit: www.eraserheadpress.com/
My Comments: Crab Town was my first foray into the messed up mind of Carlton Mellick III, and I enjoyed every single sentence of it! I originally picked Crab Town up because of it's awesome cover, and then fell in love with it after reading the synopsis for it.
With Crab Town, Mellick has managed to pack 85 pages with as many ideas as possible, without taking away from the story. Each page pops with two to three concepts that Mellick manages to blend together so well, without taking the reader out of the ridiculousness of it. (After the first few pages, your mind quickly realizes and adjusts to all of the crazy, twisted ideas of the story.)
It doesn't take much to trip my trigger, and immediately upon opening the book, several things jumped out at me that grabbed my attention: crime (the House of Cards, a crime organization created to help the less fortunate), crustecians (for which a specific part of town is named after), post-apocalyptic setting (Crab Town takes place after a nuclear war), and the novella length format (short enough to enjoy in only a few sittings, but long enough to get a full story). And ultimately it's a story of people who have nothing, trying to help others who are in the same situation, told each chapter from a different main character's point of view. Add to it the fear of debt and the extremes that people will go to in order to demolish such a burden from their shoulders, and you have Crab Town.
Not only is the cover art beautiful, but the genesis of the novella was brilliant, and I'm glad all the more for picking this quick read up based solely off of the cover art. If you've got a taste for the strange, weird or bizarre, or you're unsure of what Bizarro is, then check out www.bizarrocentral.com.
So make Crab Town the SSP Blog Pick of the Week!
Pick up Crab Town today! Direct softcover and Kindle links below: