Tag Archives: g. arthur brown

PHP 001 released today! 

26 May


G. Arthur Brown’s Governor of the Homeless (w/ illustrations by Sarah Kushwara) is available for order starting today through June 26th. There are only 26 copies available and 6 have already sold. If the remaining 20 copies are sold before June 26, Governor of the Homeless will be on sale indefinitely through major online retailers; if not, the book will only be available on our Storenvy site until  the remaining 20 copies have been sold. A HUGE thank you to the blurbers, those who have preordered, the early reviewers on GR, and folks who have posted about it on social media! 

It is available for sale here

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PHP – 001 Governor of the Homeless by G. Arthur Brown

4 May

PHP.New.Var1(1)is pleased to announce the release of goth-cover-amazon2

It is available for pre-order now on PHP’s Storenvy shop.

“G. Arthur Brown is at the forefront of a new generation of writers. One of my favorites.”

— Brian Keene, best-selling author of The Complex and The Rising

“G. Arthur Brown–already respected as a syntactically immaculate weaver of tales both comical and absurd–now ventures into the darkness to deliver us the strange and unsettling horrors of Governor of the Homeless.”

— Jeremy Robert Johnson, author of Skullcrack City

Review: The Four Gentlemen of the Apocalypse (The Strange Edge; 2015)

24 Jul

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Four Gentlemen of the Apocalypse

“The Ballad of Terror Tiny Tim” by Douglas Hackle

This one has a hilarious and shocking twist in tone and content about midway through the first chapter. I won’t spoil the exact shift, but I will say that the narrator’s desire seems particularly at odds with the fate of his handicapped son during a Little League game. I empathized with the son at first, having, at one time, been the worst player on a Little League team as well back in the late 1980s.

During chapter 2, I thought about the difference between Comedy and Bizarro; the difference is: darkness. Yet it is an absurd darkness, not necessarily a pure and unrelenting darkness with sick humor as in the film Heathers. So we have dark absurdism grounded in a palpable American experience, at least in this one; the literary movement contains practitioners from other countries as well. The dungeon scene was unforgettable and offers a new meaning to the concept of portion control.

In a Bluebeard-style room, we meet a surprise guest. The satirical rap sessions caused me to chuckle and wonder if that genre of music would ever cease dominating the charts and the radio. Yes, there are current gems (Run the Jewels comes to mind), but in most rap the lyrics often plummet in at least one of the following four annoying directions: misogyny, narcissism, materialism, or sentimentality. This is parodied effectively in this ghoulish tale by Douglas Hackle.

“The Canal” by Dustin Reade

Bizarre waterways and a fridge full of frozen cats greet the reader like an invitation to an alternate dimension at the beginning of this tale.

Bathing cat corpses is routine as is sitting next to a cockroach smoking a cigarette on the commuter train homeward. Once back in our vicious narrator’s humble abode, we witness a bizarre and sadistic ritual replete with the skinning of discoveries from the local canal. This lurid passage is certainly not for the squeamish; nor are the after-effects resulting from wearing the skins, although the disgruntled neighborhood is undoubtably aware of his presence afterwards.

The chapter entitled “Cat People” was my favorite, featuring hairless cats lumbering about on two legs while wearing robes. One might feel as if she’d jumped off a diving board into a sea of psychedelic nightmares by this point.

Further fun adventures lay in store with a visit to the library with a cat lady and various other men in cat suits who also abide by Bartleby’s famous mantra. I particularly liked the moment when, on the verge of getting fixed, Russell witnesses a nurse torn apart to reveal stethoscopes and surgical instruments as her internal organs.

“I Took One Apple to the Grave” by G. Arthur Brown

This is the most dreamlike piece in the book so far, despite there being less fantastical elements than in the others; Brown’s wicked sense of humor is more subdued than in other works I’ve read of his. This one has passages that alternate between a fairy tale mood and a bleak Dostoevsky scene.

I wanted to hear more about the three brass dwarves swimming until they found a black swan. The image of a tiny hand emerging from a lanced boil is not one I’ll soon forget.

Angel Hair: five golden cigars. I wonder where this whimsical but dark tale will lead.

Two men wait for a diamond ship to rescue them while talking to a snowman who may very well benefit their conditions by stabbing them.

An island of wild ponies who can swim but also bite and kick, spoiling dreams. Or a girl writing in code about her grandmother before being pecked to death by geese. Such nightmarish stories lie almost buried within this transfixing tale.

The mysterious wolves, talked about frequently in this tale’s first section, do eventually emerge; yet I refuse to spoil the details of their grotesque entrance.

The scene with the Winter Witch will certainly cause your toenails to curl and your eyeballs to explode. Either that, or Brown’s deranged imagery will haunt your dreams forever.

Horses flicker in and out of existence and wolves float into a child’s coffin. Characters are deemed redundant and then, in a rather aggressive metafictional act, are whisked from the story retroactively.

I did laugh out loud during this one when the conversation took place about the significance of certain characters with hilarious names like Glasscock, Bracgirdle, and Bonebrake.

I loved the sophistication of this story’s odd but cohesive structure; it sort of resembles an experimental film made by a ghoulish Monty Python team. It’s my favorite of the quartet on display here.

“Wizard and Robot in the World of Sand and Bones” by S.T. Cartledge

Girl Robot and The Wizard Made of Glass must fight against the influence of sand during their otherworldly but love-fueled journey.

They search for dragons in the sky as they discover dragon bones in the ruined sandcastles of former homes.

This one has a more lyrical flow than the other three.

The odd reality created herein fuses corporeal diffusion with sailing trips through sandcastle skies alongside dragons and a wizard who ages more quickly based on the level of strenuousness contained in each of his magical tasks. Yet, luckily, a dragon bone heart may await his resurrection.

Read The Four Gentlemen of the Apocalypse

Review: I Like Turtles by G. Arthur Brown (Strange Edge Publications; 2014)

4 Jan

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“When Television Ends”

A woman in a burlap sack. A hickey bestowed by a theatre critic neighbor after a life-size puppet show because the television stopped working. A ludicrous flash of supercilious nonsense drizzled in cheesy effects.

“The Advantages of Smelling Bacon At The Moment of Death”

A truly absurdist bizarro mini western. You will laugh. You will cry. But most all: prepare to be dazzled. Also: the description of a bacon-wrapped limb may cause hunger pains. Be prepared to be estranged from your own instincts.

“A Short Call From Ionesco, Act 1”

An irreverent mini play that offers a flash of Ionesco while barely containing him.

“Funeral Disease”

This one reminded me a bit of “All You Zombies” by Robert E. Heinlein because both stories feature time-travel paradoxes coupled with gender confusion. Although this one appears more outwardly macabre, I found Heinlein’s tale to be more sinister and this one to be more black comedy.

“The Marvelous Marble Midget and The Mites”

A hilarious parody (or celebration of) performance art or the creation of a new type of art that could be deemed ‘living art’–the last line of the story, however, could decidedly alert the more prudish set of the general readership heading for the hills for their pin-striped stockings and ant helmets.

“The World Wasn’t the World Anymore”

While the line regarding the hippie chick being cute enough to overlook the fact that she was a hippy chick might leave SOME rolling in hysterics, others may find a simply devious satirist at work here, underming the very foundations of civility.

“Make a Better Brody”

Referencing both Jaws and ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ in the same short piece, our narrator must have been drinking the intoxitating sea water of dead manatee from the very beginning to have such lucid fever dreams.

“The Rape Cake”

A very disturbing premise with a shocking ending. This is not the sort of party you’d wish to attend.

“Brain Harvest”

Clevery subverting the it-was-all-a-dream cliche ending, this one has an ending with a simply monstous twist.

“Grape Will Be Fine”

An undercurrent of sadness uppercuts this litlle ditty about the depressing sight of inedible food and the complicated requests that can sometimes utter from lairs of senility.

“Holy Olivia Orphanage”

A lot of layers to this one, actually. Multiple ghosts are created from one murder, including a five-headed ghost with distinct voices depending on the speaking head. The last line resounds with pathos.

“A Rest Room İncident Amidst Gripping Conversation”

İf you’ve never been to a women’s restroom or a Genesis concert, this could be the story for you–unless, that is, you don’t like severe and sinister endings.

“His Blind Friend Daniel”

Sort like a proverb with a cryptic message. The spot where the lesson or moral should go is a blurry banner asking you to descend a hallucinated ladder to its opening steps.

“Leg Shopping”

This one was similar to the humor and surreal nature of Daniil Kharms’ work.
It is what it says it’s about, but what he does with the legs once he buys them–that’s the icky part.

“Astounding Adventures of Cyril Bright Ch XI: A Place Beauteous of Which I Dare Not Speak”

Polaroids serve as evidence after mind-altering experiences; however, there are times when you could do without reminders of ALL that has been placed inside your mouth.

“Look Alike”

A man walks into a coffee shop who like–Now wait a second here. Are you expecting me to spoil the surprise, the punchline, and the grand reveal? You must be mad.

“A Phone Call From Ionesco, Act II”

Violence ensues in lieu of true therapist methods, and all because a doctor was unable to take off his lab coat and so alter his profession.

“Diff’rent Stroke Fan Fic #1: The Look-Alikes”

Arnold is mistaken for Barrack Obama by a young girl yet his butler, as it turns out, is even more smitten to keep the lie alive than anyone–with disastrous consequences.

“Band of Bass”

‘Like a Beatles-esque Gang of Four with three basses’ is how our narrator’s friend’s college band is described in this tale, however the sad but cryptic refrain of ‘I pulled your mother’s pork’ serves to beckon this particular Brit’s untimely demise.

“The Weeping Consort”

Turkish men make mechanical cats. The craftsmanship is fine, yet we are strolling down a picture-perfect postcard of a seaside strip known as ‘olden days.’

“Getting Plugged In”

Men able to multiply should be trusted, yet in the future maybe you too will allow one sincere version of a such a man to paint your black patent leather shoes in white-out before plugging an appliance cord into your head.

“The Special Doctor”

There’s a war in your mouth, but the doctor’s mouth remains sealed as if a forbidden dungeon and it still beckons and sings with lock-jawed vengeance.

“Hell Block”

A lone red pubic she discovers in your tightie whities leads to a curse which leads to a store selling faux remedies where our heroic optometrist meets a tranny and they live happily ever after. Oops. Spoiled that one. The synopsis just read too wackily not to spill the beans.

“Wet Land”

When wearing silk garments, always remember to make three faces at once when lazing about in a camp of air mattresses.

“The Missing Edge”

Reading teen magazines in the park, a girl recalls cutting out her sisters’ eyes and her mother’s tongue.

“Cop Boxer”

A dream-like tale about a boxer in the ring with his gloves glued together facing an unsympathetic opponent as an audience of trolls cheer for blood.

“Transexual Meth Addicts With Marshmallow Eyes”

This hilariously titled piece does indeed contain what it promises. This has to be the first time I’ve encountered a death-by-breast scene.

“It Happened By Mistake”

Talking tables are threatened to be sharpened into pencils, but that description makes this sound too goofy. This is surrealism with a sense of terror like Max Ernst’s work.

“The Hare in the Hair”

A hare who wants only to eat hair may get loose in your lawn and call forth the hair from your hare’s fur, follicle by follicle.

“Astounding Adventures of Cyril Bright Ch XXIII: A Meeting With the Chancellor of Mysteria”

Another wacky chapter from a manuscript. The uptight Victorian style of the writing in these uneventful chapters serves as a contrast to some of the darker stories.

“The Russians”

Gogol may be hidden in nesting dolls, and Daniil Kharms appears. I theorized earlier that G. Arthur Brown must be a fan!

“James Franco v. Shea Lebouf”

Two celebrities with bloated egos (hold on, that s redundant) battle it out while nobody watches (for a change).

“The Fellow on the Balcony”

Below nuns converse. Above a yarn is spun, yet the nuns may find its source deplorable due to the looming centerfolds.

“A Public Luncheon”

The question to be or to be answered: will he dine ON a monkey or WITH a monkey.

“Life (The Car Model, Not the Thing You Lead)”

Ill-made chocolate milk rotates onto a scene of philosophical arguments.

“The Trouble With the Bleeding Hearts”

Brown here makes a metaphor literal, puns, and takes us on a magic carpet ride of grotesque absurdity.

“Sorcerer or Genius”

This one has the tone of a lab report, speckled with evil acts that only a sorcerer of the black arts would commit.

“Where Babies Come From”

When paying for somebody else’s bar mitzvah photos with an eighty dollar bill, remember to remind your wife to stir the sauce every 15 seconds or your baby might impregnate itself, grow wings, and fly away before it is to be sacrificed.

“Fat Cat”

Imagine a tale in which your cat losing weight contributes to your own weight loss.

“The New Absurdist”

An Irishman and an African American woman argue about who or what a mystical train might contain.

“Poor November”

November gets personified as a wounded woman trampled over by the greedy December-lovers as our quaint narrator sips eggnog beside the roasting television watching low budget sci fi movies.

“Astounding Adventures of Cyril Bright Ch XXXIII: A Change of Lighting and of Fortune Also”

This chapter would make a great premise for a novel: the sun has gone out and unknown monsters roam the world.

“Blood Poison”

After tattooing names and numbers to his children’s bald heads, a man and his friends make scarecrows come to life and attempt to play baseball with them. This tale then develops into an eerie realm where madness prospers like a field of eager flowers.

“Last Night with Marvel”

Loved the magical realist element of this one. A chinese restaurant that is literally a hole in the wall. Very lucid and characteristically irreverent.

“What It Means To Mow”

A maniacal and funny piece about a man convinced his mowing is a primeval act of great importance and that his client is secretly trying to poison him.

“Bad Days”

A burst of a post-apocalyptic tale told in three dimly synchronous fragments.

“Geordio’s Rooster Flock”

Roosters dislike their eggs even though they can’t lay them. They can lay little golf ball-like things that act as a psychoactive drug on the narrator’s consciousness.

“Sweat Bees”

An unsympathetic but helpful Jesus saves our narrator from an unwholesome fate but fails to notice the poisonous sweat beads zigzagging after him in the sky.

“This Year’s Exhibition”

The Einstein-haired scientists may have had an adverse reaction to sex, but at least the horses end up having a grand dinner of neighing and cavorting because the exhibition did not fulfill the promise of last year’s.

“Barbarous Hellstorm”

A conversation about a way to make a wacky sequel to Braveheart.

“Window in the Wife”

This takes seeing through someone to a whole new level, yet when her glass gets cracked he notices the other men leering in at him.

“Writing in Tongues”

I do wonder what the ancient script on the dead boy’s tongue said.

“A Phone Call From Ionesco, Act III”

We return to the theme of enemies and friends living inside of bodies as the mini play concludes.

“A Vision of the Future”

Several terrifying visions of the future unfold, including a disordered misinterpretation of the Robin Hood franchise and tiny toilet attendants to assist with the eggs .

Overall, a miraculous and astounding collection of bizarre ideas. I preferred the stories that were slightly darker and lucid and contained self-contained worlds of Brown’s unbridled imagination rather than the ones that contained too many pop culture references. The best ones are like glittering hieroglyphics, turning the world inside out through puns and unexpected shifts in logic and reality.

Get I Like Turtles.

Learn more about G. Arthur Brown here at his blog.

Review: Kitten by G. Arthur Brown (Eraserhead Press; 2012)

15 Dec

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Kittens who are not kittens who throw up stamps are not as dangerous to one’s sanity as the cat lady living next door with over 20 imaginary cats defecating all over her house. Yet this dead girl who emerged from the trunk of their attic existed because of the grandfather’s experiments.

This whimsical novella is compact, tight, excellently written, and hugely inventive. It also features time travel and is consistently surreal, in the classical school of painters and filmmakers sense.

When a dead boy is used as a puppet on an island run by children, the goofiness that exploded like napalm in the previous 25 or so pages vanished and offered a brief respite and a ray of hope for the more sinister first section of Kitten. There was a medium modicum of darkness during an Alice in Wonderland-driven segue through riddles threatening cracks in comforting logic, the blanket of which we clutch ever so tightly as the moon erupts his warty smile.

There were some interesting quasi metafictional moments as well–an awareness of certain characters coupled with a near willingness to break the fourth wall as they compared the transpiring events to Guy Maddin and Gogol.

In the end, we ride a sleigh backwards and discover the frozen icicle fingers of the ghoul dangling just beside the sleigh’s bells.

Check out more mind-melting work from Arthur G. Brown.