Sloughing Off the Rot

Rated 4.00/5 based on 7 reviews
John the Revelator awakens in a cave with no memory of his prior life. Guided along El Camino de la Muerte by a demented madman and a philosophical giant, John sets out on a quest to fill in his blank slate and slough off the rot of his soul. Sloughing Off the Rot is part dark comedy road trip, part spiritual quest, and part horror story. More
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About Lance Carbuncle

The Dr. Reverend Lance Carbuncle was born sometime during the last millennium and he’s been getting bigger, older and uglier ever since. Carbuncle is an ordained minister with the Church of Spiritual Humanism. Carbuncle doesn’t eat deviled eggs and he doesn’t drink cheap beer. Carbuncle doesn’t wear sock garters. Carbuncle does tell stories. Carbuncle’s stories are channeled through a pathetic little man who has to work a respectable job during the days in order to feed the infestation of children in his house. Carbuncle's first novel, Smashed, Squashed, Splattered, Chewed, Chunked and Spewed, and his recently released Grundish and Askew are sold through and More reviews of Smashed, Squashed, Splattered, Chewed, Chunked and Spewed, and Grundish and Askew can be found on Amazon and

Learn more about Lance Carbuncle

Also by This Author


roustie reviewed on Aug. 25, 2013

Much like Orbit Beach by Jane Etarie, this is definitely not a book for everybody. Sloughing Off The Rot begins with our lead character, John, waking up in a cave with no memory of his prior life, and follows him along a journey on the road called El Camino de la Muerte as he sheds the rot that has overtaken his soul in his mortal life. His body, laying in a hospital bed in the corporeal world, wastes away while John discovers what it is to be a good person on this different plane that he now inhabits. He’s accompanied by a crazy madman named Santiago, a gentle giant named Joad, and a few other interesting (and sometimes despicable) characters along the way.

The book is a mixture of self-journey, dark humour, horror, and some parts that are just so grotesque that it makes your stomach turn. While you know where this book is eventually going to take you, you sure as hell can’t predict what side-journeys it’ll take you on along the way, or what kind of people you will meet. The world and characters are all extremely inventive, and Carbuncle’s adept writing of the two are what really make this an enjoyable story. I can honestly I’ve rarely encountered a book littered with so many unique characters, and Carbuncle has absolutely no fear when it comes to creating something that is both touching and disgusting (and that is meant in the best possible way).

Full review located here:
(reviewed 43 days after purchase)
Georgia reviewed on July 10, 2013

Sloughing Off the Rot by Lance Carbuncle is a story with an odd mix of genres.

First Paragraph:

"And that night John went to bed without eating his dinner. Zonked on zolpidem and single malt scotch, wrapped tightly in his super-special 1,000 thread counts sheets and nestled comfortably on his newfangled memory foam-reclining- adjustable king-sized bed, John blacked out just after lying down. Peaceful nothingness swirled around him, tossing off flecks of gold and strands of cool blue. The ten thousand things fled and left in their place a cozy void."


John wakes up one morning to discover himself no longer in any recognisable place. His comfy bed replaced by hard ground and his soft pillow by a rock. He is pondering how he woke up in a cave, and the strange, dark hole a few feet away when a voice comes to him. The voice tells him he is "John the Revelator", followed by some Proclaimers' lyrics and some very ambiguous, unhelpful comments.

The voice tells John he needs redemption. To reach it, he must follow the path, never straying lest he lose the path and become lost to it forever.

The moment John exits the cave, he is met by a strange 'prophet-like' being, in the form of an almost naked hippie, who calls himself Santiago. Santiago is there to guide John, to walk beside him on the journey. However, Santiago is not the most stable of people, and John is now thoroughly confused. He can remember nothing of himself or his past, and he certainly wants nothing to do with this crazy, little man or his plans.

Lost in a desert, John just wants to find his way home. A burning bush tells him that he must follow the path to do so. This is John's second chance. He must follow the red-brick road of El Camino de la Muerte (The Way of Death) and never stray, if he wants to return. What happens on it and where it takes him is up to John.

With little choice, John sets off with the 'wise' Santiago at his side. Along the way they meet a vast assortment of characters. They are hunted by the zombie-like 'lunkheads'- who are men stripped down to nothing but their base desires. They are not the only wants hunting him.


A very weird, sometimes off-putting story. The best way to get through it is to not question it and follows John's example- just go with the flow. There's an odd mix of humour, fantasy and disturbing, adult horror. There are graphic scenes that may not be for the weak of heart, but there is also plenty of warmth to offset it. Though there are horror aspects, the character' reactions makes them seem less threatening and sickening. In fact, the characters just brush them off like nothing. They're almost horror without the horror.

Reading this book is like entering one of Salvador Dali's paintings- it's bleak, beautifully grotesque and utterly beyond description. Freud would have a field day. It's a bizarre mesh of adult versions of Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz. Especially the latter. It can be hard to know what's going on, and there's a confusion to match John's own.

There are also a lot of Christian undertones (even John's name), all added in in a playful, semi-mocking manner. Not in a offensive way (though I'm sure some would disagree), more in a misplaced, I-think-there's-some-relevance-to-this-but-I-can't-find-it kind of way. Pop culture references are also blended into the mix, adding to the complete acid trip that is this book.

The characters themselves are synonymous with the many different sides of people. The ego, the superego and the id. I'll leave it at that, so as not to spoil, but suffice to say they are a look into the human psyche. Though I will add that Santiago reminds me a little of a more explicit Zaphod Beeblebrox, minus the snazzy outfits, spaceship and extra head. He's quite charming in his own psychotic way.

Overall, I enjoyed this story. If this review got you interested, why not check it out? Though one tip? Don't overthink it too much, just let it be. Let it wash you through the pages, and only once you've finished the book should you think back and wonder what on Earth you just read.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the author. This is not a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% my own.
(reviewed 65 days after purchase)
BP Gregory reviewed on June 20, 2013

What are we reading?: Sloughing Off the Rot, by Lance Carbuncle.

Give me the short version: Wiped tabula-rasa clean, John embarks on a surrealist journey to not only rediscover, but literally recreate himself.

Are you looking for something different? I mean, really different?

Sloughing Off the Rot is a meandering lyrical re-envisioning of biblical allegory, pop culture, songs, catchphrases, states of mind and just plain linguistic fun. Lance Curbuncle writes with the supreme confidence of one who can hold a loose reign; swigning between wham and whimsy without ever relinquishing control. I was rather reminded of the first time I read Naked Lunch: how briskly staccato and yet still elastic and melting narrative suddenly seemed to feel.

Although I enjoyed the skillful to-and-fro of the language, through no fault of its own the story didn't really click for me - the elements that light my fire tend to be fairly specific. Don't be dissuaded from picking this up, as there's an audience out there waiting to go crazy for this book.

Favourite moment: Along the road, they encountered other men and boys. Santiago plucked an everlasting supply of worms from his bottomless bag and dropped them in the people's eyes. And the men and boys joined them and danced along the road, spinning and circling around John, as planets orbiting a sun."
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
brooke gould reviewed on June 4, 2013

Wow! Saga-trek story with constant obscene bits. Lovely.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)
Zach Israel reviewed on May 31, 2013

Honestly, I suck at writing reviews, as I just want to say, "this part was awesome, and in this part things happened that were awesome." Unfortunately with a novel like this you can't do that because this novel is a lot like a journey itself. I know that that sounds like pretentious garbage, but it's true. You can't take a piece out of this novel and describe it to someone who isn't reading it. That I think is the fundamental flaw, which stands out because I love this book like a fat kid loves chocolate, so pretty much how I love chocolate. Now onto my poorly written comments on the book that reads like the ramblings of an idiot child.

There needs to be a word that mean, “artsy,” that doesn't mean pretentious crap, because this novel is truly a piece of art. The journey of a man seeking wisdom and retribution boiled down to a simple mind screw painted with bodily fluids in a way that keeps the reader saying, “well that's unnerving, so what happens next.”

Not to say that this book is without flaws, as there are plenty. The book can drag in a few places, and then speed up, then slow down. This leads to a pace that can be a bit schizophrenic, but it's not too bad. Then in some of the speedy parts a thousand things will happen and I will have to reread parts of the book to get what's going on. There are a few early bits when I want all the characters to sit down, have a cup of tea, and decide who they are, basically this is one of those novels that you really have to read multiple times to digest everything, but it will always be a fun ride that will make you curl in the corner crying and laughing at the same moment more then a few times.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Byron Paul reviewed on April 30, 2013

What is Sloughing Off the Rot like? Take 2 cups of Stephen King's The Gunslinger and mix in 1 cup of each of the following 3 films: Alejandro Jodorowsky's El Topo, Lance Mungia's Six-String Samurai, and George Englund's Zachariah
(reviewed 36 days after purchase)
M.H. Dartos reviewed on April 21, 2013

Lance Carbuncle continues to surprise.

Continuing to paint with a wide brush topics and vistas that would sicken most people, you need only pay attention to the intricately layered concepts and neologisms he creates to glimpse the depth of passion he brings to the table.

What you will find within the fractured leaves of this work will excite, entertain, enervate, enliven and sicken with a generous smattering of comically offensive observations that cut across all stratospheres. It thus becomes clear that Carbuncle is an equal opportunity offender. Much like his groundbreaking work, Smashed, Squashed, Splattered, Chewed, Chunked and Spewed, you will at once be stunned, then flummoxed, and finally mesmerized as the twisted logic he spins coils you into a snare so tight to be an epiphany in sweet pain.

Yet churning beneath this smorgasbord of seemingly incongruous and tragic-comic elements is a palpable current of profundity: the search for self, identity, and what it means to be human. Not to mention a generous smattering of biblical allusion. Among the most noteworthy elements of the tale are its non-linear plot, and the influence on events of choices made by men, women and beasts. And as the word odyssey has come to refer to an epic voyage, it is a most fitting summation of this novel. What we have is a modern day Homer's Odyssey, with lead character John the allegorical Odysseus.

I don't know about you, but I find comfort in the knowledge that Carbuncle is out there laughing at this oddity called life for us sinners. Audacious, innovative and satirically precise humorists such as he are a rare find indeed. In short, this work is not to be missed.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
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