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All- Monster Action! by Cody Goodfellow

Cody Goodfellow’s cheerfully unhinged 2012 short story collection has just been re- released by King Shot Press and now is your chance to get in on the action. Goodfellow- never the most grounded of writers to begin with- throws an insane number of ideas at the reader and the results are both exhilarating and exhausting. And while the title, gorgeous design and general VHS aesthetic may give the unsuspecting punter the impression that this is some sort of B- movie tribute or pastiche, the book is rather more complicated than that. Goodfellow is a polymath who is often seen as part of the lovecraftian tradition and / or the bizarro scene and, technically, both classifications stand. But they don’t quite convey what makes his work special.

Goodfellow has a biologist’s interest in the minutiae of blood, lymph and cell secretions; and an Adult Swim animator’s obsession with the gross- out possibilities of same. Genetic mutation, near- future extinction events, psychoactive abuse, interspecies sex and- yes- giant monsters are themes that recur in this collection. The motif of hapless mortals trying to get it on with monsters comes up a lot, to nauseating and occasionally sensual effect (Wha!? OK, maybe that’s just me). More to the point, the writing is rich and confident and often hilarious (which counts for a lot, especially since a lot of this stuff can be read as discordianist satire of the corporate sector, the Military Industrial Complex, etc., etc.). There is even a cool Hellboy story, which is appropriate since the imagery is pretty Kirbyesque to begin with.

It all culminates in the self- titled novella, which builds and builds layers upon layers of synæsthesia- inducing monster mayhem until it goes way over the top and into space. Subtle, it ain’t. It’s like gorging on an opulent feast, or watching the collected oeuvre of Stuart Gordon in one go. An acquired taste. But if you are like me and enjoy both Naked Lunch and Rick and Morty, then these gore- encrusted stories will make your day. Highly recommended.

PS: It should be noted that the book comes graced with gorgeously grotesque artwork by Nick Gucker and Mike Dubisch, which makes the whole package irresistible.

(-Dimitris Kontogiannis-)

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