Burn, “Angel Dust Apocalypse”, Burn

Meth-heads, man-made monsters, and murderous Neo-Nazis. Blissed out club kids dying at the speed of sound. The un-dead and the very soon-to-be-dead. They’re all here, trying to claw their way free.

From the radioactive streets of a war-scarred future, where the nuclear bombs have become self-aware, to the fallow fields of Nebraska where the kids are mainlining lightning bugs, this is a world both alien and intensely human. This is a place where self-discovery involves scalpels and horse tranquilizers; where the doctors are more doped-up than the patients; where obsessive-compulsive acid-freaks have unlocked the gateway to God and can’t close the door.

This is not a safe place. You can turn back now, or you can head straight into the heart of…

the ANGEL DUST APOCALYPSE

The GOOD: 

A great extended trip,January 4, 2011

This review is from: Angel Dust Apocalypse (Paperback)

If there is one aspect of storytelling which Jeremy Robert Johnson has mastered, it’s in creating and following memorable characters. Having read this a while back, I re-read this collection and immediately felt at home with my old gateway book. Whether it’s Jake playing in the nuclear ash mistaken for snow, Curt playing surgeon on himself, or James being fed and morphed by Nurse Sebac, there’s a lot to be compelled by. Hell, the latter story (“Amniotic Shock in the Last Sacred Place”) happens to be one of my favorite stories of all time for the way that takes a real-life fetish and a sinister institution and melds the two into a struggling mother-and-child relationship. And for those who have read the fantastic “Extinction Journals,” “The Sharp Dressed Man at the End of the Line” provides another story of Dean, which seems to take place before “Extinction Journals” while Dean has just completed his cockroach outfit and is watching the bombs fall. Even without the other great stories making up the meat of this book, the book would probably be worth buying for that one alone.

Granted, these stories are not without their flaws. “Walls of Sound,” for example, oddly felt a bit long for what it was trying to accomplish. Also, sometimes the punctuation and all-caps made things a bit silly. For example, “WHERE THE HELL IS MARY???????” (yes, seven question marks. I counted) from that same story. If there was a 4.7 rating on Amazon, I would almost be compelled to rate it that for how the mood occasionally was made silly by accident from the all-caps and punctuation.

Taken as a whole, however, Angel Dust Apocalypse deserves its acolades because of how each story is executed and because of the people involved that are executing the stories. Very compelling, very enjoyable.

The BAD:

 Hopefully a sign of better things to come.,May 19, 2006

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This review is from: Angel Dust Apocalypse (Paperback)

I have to admit I found most of this book underwhelming. Though the author shows signs of future success.

The best story here, by far, is “Swimming in the House of the Sea” (though its sentimental ending is embarrassing). Johnson isn’t straining to be weird and offbeat here. The story is odd in its own way, but the emotions of its characters feel real, and that easily elevates it over its derivative siblings in this collection.

The fact that “Last Thoughts Drifting Down” — an incredibly pretentious car accident of words — was published, but he was reluctant to include “Swimming,” shows that Johnson doesn’t know where his strength lies.

And The UGLY:

 Amateurish and derivative,January 4, 2011

This review is from: Angel Dust Apocalypse (Paperback)

I’m surprised this book has so many 5-star reviews here. In fact I’m surprised this book was published at all. The writer is full of himself, to the point where he actually waxes philosophical at the end and offers tidbits of insight on each little stinker in this book. Fittingly, I read the entire thing on the toilet. The best advice I can give here to someone interested in this is that in the beginning of the book, the author dedicates his work to Rand, Selby, Wallace, Burroughs, Vonnegut, Welsh, Williams, Palahniuk, Barker, King and Elroy. Read them instead of this. They will indeed show you what words can do.

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~ by MorbidbookS, Extreme Fiction Publisher. on April 23, 2011.

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