Burn, “Rotten Little Animals”, Burn

Animals are people too! And that is messed up. So they have independent cinema. See what happens when an animal film crew kidnap a human boy and make a movie of the abduction. Read things about Nature that just aren’t natural. Fear your pets from this day forward. With zombie-cat attacks, gun-blasting massacres, drugged-out puppet shows, exploding car chases, camera-chickens, bat acrobats, wild sex, martini parties and torture-ROTTEN LITTLE ANIMALS is a crazy ride through the underground animal film scene and on to the Big Time.

The GOOD:

 Like Animal Farm meets Cecil B Demented,November 2, 2009

Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Rotten Little Animals (Paperback)

Ladies and Gentlemen, just a week ago I read Rotten Little Animals on the plane ride to the happiest place on earth, BizarroCon. Usually I’m a slow reader, and I figured this new bizarro novella would help distract me from the usual annoyances of air travel. What happened next was a little weird. I couldn’t put this book down. I couldn’t read fast enough. I couldn’t stop. Literally.

Out of Kevin Shamel’s imagination came a motley crew of critters, each with their own all-too-human characteristics. Some are bad, some are not-so-bad, but they all play a role in the group. And what are these talking animals up to? Led by the ruthless and deviant Stinkin’ Rat, the animals are set on filming an awesome movie (and maybe a little porn on the side) while keeping themselves a secret from the human world itself. Sounds easy enough, but then there’s Cage. Cage is a little boy who sees that the animals can think and talk, and he quickly pays the price for this knowledge.

Just like me, you won’t be able to put this book down until you find out what happens to Cage. Rotten Little Animals is a gut-wrenching story of brutalized innocence, but you’ll hardly notice since you’ll be laughing at Shamel’s wicked sense of humor. From the animals’ secret culture and hedonistic shenanigans to Cage’s therapy with a weirdo named Arrgh, this book will leave you thoroughly satisfied. Shamel is going to make a lot of noise in the bizarro scene. Just you wait.

The BAD:

Go away! I’m [BLEEP]ing a chicken!,March 21, 2011

This review is from: Rotten Little Animals (Paperback)

Kevin Shamel, Rotten Little Animals (Eraserhead Press, 2009)

One of the great strengths of the bizarro fiction movement (along with the fact that all of it I’ve read, even the horror novels, is gut-wrenchingly funny) is that the basic scenario of each book is original. And by “original” I mean “what were you on when you came up with this stuff, and where do I get some?” As another case in point, I offer Rotten Little Animals, a recent book from bizarro auteur Kevin Shamel. Shamel’s thesis here is that animals have an entire world that humans don’t know about. That world includes independent cinema. And when, thanks to a drunk watchbird, a human boy finds out about the animals’ independent cinema (during the filming of a movie about zombie cats), the director of the flick decides to kidnap the human kid and make a mockumentary about the human kid getting kidnapped (since all their careers would be wiped out if the animal community found out the film crew had slipped up and let a human knew about the underground animal culture… you get the picture).

One of the great weaknesses of the bizarro fiction movement is that these awesome scenarios don’t often have their potential realized. I love about the first half of Rotten Little Animals, the actual kidnapping and the filming of the movie (and the big blow-up at the wrap party, not only the best scene in the book, but the best-written as well, and if I seem to imply at any point in this review the book isn’t worth your time, I will tell you right now: buy it for that scene). The fact that the book’s climax comes halfway through sets up some amazing possibilities, actually, for an extended denouement (while I know there are a number of excellent examples of this outside Shakespeare, the only one I can think of off the top of my head is Greene’s The End of the Affair, because it’s far too early in the morning for me to be thinking about the plot structure of classic novels). How awesome would it be for Shamel to have come up with a narrative for the second half of the book that mirrored the first half, for example, or simply reversed the themes, with the human world gaining wide knowledge of the animal conspiracy and kidnapping some sort of exotic animal to film its own mockumentary? Instead, it kind of stalls, as if Shamel knew where the book was ending (and it does pick up steam again when we get to the end, which ends up being a second climax rather than an extended denouement), but wasn’t quite sure how to get there. And when you start talking about the pace lagging in a book that comes out less than one hundred pages, you know there are some structural problems with it.

Shamel is an original writer to be sure, and when Rotten Little Animals is hitting on all cylinders, it’s a barnburner. When he puts together a novel that’s as solid from front to back as the bests scenes here are, it’ll blow your head off. This one won’t, but when it’s good, it’s very, very good. ***

 And The UGLY:

Nothing. Naught. Zip. Zero.  It seems that EVERYONE loves Kevin Shamel’s “RLA”.  Hey, that includes The Reverend.  To Whit:

Imagine you are a typical 13 year old boy, just glancing out of your bedroom window. Just daydreaming, drifting along, watching the neighbor lady with sugar MILF plums dancing around in your fevered little head, when something in the adjacent yard catches your eye. Something truly strange. A movie being filmed. With animals. By animals. Talking, acting, filming, directing. And just when your young mind begins to register the shock of that crazy scene, the animal production crew notices YOU. Oh, no. Humans can’t know that ALL animals can talk. Nature’s delicate balance will be thrown completely out of whack. It is the animal world’s only real Law and the film crew just broke it.

The boy must be silenced.

Therein lies the heart and guts of this wickedly funny Bizarro novella from newcomer Kevin Shamel. With Dirty Rat, Filthy Pig, Scaredy Cat and many other marvelous animal characters, Shamel paints his imaginary (we hope!) world of liquor guzzling, dope doing, coital fiending, ultra-violent animals that will make you show a wee bit more respect and love to Fido and Fluffy than you might normally give them.

The pacing of the story is superb and the descent into this mad world was just right. My hat’s off, once again, to the Bizarro folks at Eraserhead for another gem of a tale (tail?).

Kevin Shamel’s “Rotten Little Animals” is more fun to read than a barrel full of drunken monkeys and randier than a lab full of stoned test bunnies.

Now, if you will excuse me. The Reverend had better take his pit bull, Bennie, out for a nice long walk. You know… just in case.

“Here, Bennie! Daddy loves you…”

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

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