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Book Review: Quicksand House

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When you hear about a book called “The Faggiest Vampire,” you can’t help but be intrigued, especially if you are eight, which I am. So, one day while I was “researching” a post for this site, I looked into the works of Carlton Mellick III, the author of the aforementioned. His book titles are all pretty remarkable–funny and shocking. But I was most intrigued by his “sci-fi”-horror story, “Quicksand House.” The premise–two children who’ve lived their entire lives in a huge nursery venture out into their enormous house, dodging “creepers” in search of their parents (whom they’ve never seen)–sounded so claustrophobic and sad and creepy to me. I bought the book.

The author is not without talent. He’s clearly passionate about his weird stories, and I respect that kind of passion. He’s also got one hell of an imagination, almost Kingsian in scope. (Yes, I just made up the word “Kingsian,” deal.) And occasionally, he really has a way with words. His description of the paper mother of his dreams (because she’s only existed in his drawings of her) was creepy and sad. She always gave him paper cuts as she stroked his face. Because she was made of paper. Clever, really. And the book is not devoid of cleverness and humor. Papercuts I like. It’s the shortcuts I like less.

As I mentioned earlier, the book has a sort of sci-fi element to it. Granted I have not read much sci-fi so I’m hardly an expert on the genre, but my understanding is that it it supposed to be part science, part fiction. Mellick is down the fiction, notsomuch with the science. ┬áIt always seemed as if he were trying to get from point A to point C by bypassing point B. For example, we’re told women now have antlers and go into heat occasionally. We are never told how or why this happens, it just happens. Similarly, we are told that “evolution” has made newborns disgusting worm-like creatures who suck blood from their hosts (usually an older) sibling. Again, we are never told how or why evolution went down this path, we’re just supposed to accept it and enjoy the weirdness that ensues because of it. Well, I can’t do that. I’m really into the weirdness, but even weirdness needs some basis in reality. I need to know why things are the way they are. Bear in mind, I watch daytime soaps. I am pretty great at suspending disbelief, so the fact that I had a hard time doing it here should tell you something.

And then there’s the no editor factor. I don’t think this guy has one and he needs one–DESPERATELY. He actually used the phrase “on accident,” which almost made me put the the book down. But I persevered. Until I read…bear with me here…I’m recalling and paraphrasing…”as he left he could hear her squirming and pouting.” Apparently in the future, pouting has become audible. More of that weird evolution, I guess.

I won’t even get into the cheesy cover art. There’s only one master of the antlered-women genre and it’s me.

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