Li Xian Ng
on Feb. 7, 2014 :
I don't remember how I discovered Kuboa, but I remember falling in love with the artwork of all of the books on there. I feel like my reviews are pretty darn terrible when it comes to short story collections, because they are short and simple. There's not really much to talk about and my memory kind of sucks. The only stories I like tend to stay in my memory. Shifu, You'll Do Anything for a Laugh is probably one of the few short story collections that are actually burnt into my mind. My reviews probably won't do justice for any short story collections.
I kind of have mixed feelings for this collection. I give this author 1,000 points for originality though. The story in this collection are kind of bizarre and leave me with the oddest feeling, that is the biggest gem about this collection. However, there is something about the writing style that left me unsatisfied, I like that there are different voices with every story but I always find myself confused with what is going on. Maybe it's just me.
The originality of this work makes it likeable for me. The first two stories left me with feelings of sadness but at the same time I was like "Wait, that's messed up." The first one is about an anti-abortion guy who dates girls and provides support for their abortions, so I actually wondered if this story was a social commentary, very interesting. The first story and the second story both share the theme of wanting to impress others by faking your own self and that usually never works. Well, that's how I interpreted it. There's a story that's kind of like a western, where the characters play cards and then they die. Yeah, that's a good synopsis, but the ending was pretty cool.
In between these short stories, there's a novella or a novelette, I don't know the word count. It's a weird combination of vampires, living on different planets like Mars, possibly aliens, gladiators and a stadium, two vampire guys who are in love. Yeah, it's really out there, I actually wish it was longer.
I do like this collection, for it's originality and all that stuff, but I don't know, maybe some of it wasn't my cup of tea? I feel confused, this is a horrible review.
From my blog:
(review of free book)
on Feb. 4, 2013 :
I admit I dont quite know what to do with J. Bradley. He seems to be a poet who has watched one too many Tarantino films (not saying he did, I dont know) ; not thinking much about taking his meds while living on pizza and beer and watching poker games on TV.
It smells like plastic and hurt feelings is on the other side one of the best lines I can think of, and as a title almost a little too perfect.
It is a strange, and yeah bizarre collection of stories. The first I liked most: a guy paying every month for an abortion, being a ´moral support´ even he himself is a ´life-saver´. Just for being close to a young woman he is in love with who works in such a clinic. The morals going havoc have a comical, headshaking undercurrent. Its one of those ´you are sure you know why you are laughing now?´ tales.
A vampire, ancient Rome re-living on Mars tale, no less, doing the gladiator thingy left me scratching my head (ok, not quite) . Its also the longest story. Sure he punches hard but it never really made ´click´. The images seems always a bit going AWOL but plausibility is probably not what he is aiming for, so no biggy. Not for me, no.
A bizarre WTFery in words which seems more like doing the ´experimental´ stunt just for the sake of trying. (even thats kind of nonsense in itself and the word thrown around far too easily). His writing is strange, but in a familiar strange way - it sounds at least familiar but he turns it into an uncomfortable experience at times (his stories and the impact they have, not his use of language - quite a difference). At the same time I suspect there is something deeper hidden in his words which I didnt quite grasp. His protagonists are always on the edge: ready to kill to survive, not because it is pleasant. Its gory but the gore is like a pat on the back - see mate, thats whats going to happen. It aint personal, you know.
I appreciate Bradley´s writing though, stylewise anyway, but he isnt someone for instalove. More like someone you gotta get used to over time. Not a bad thing, having a friend instead of a lover.
(review of free book)