Transmatic Authored by Chris Kelso
Transmatic Authored by Chris Kelso
Review snippet by Vincenzo Bilof:
“The hitman metaphor resonates with me because the paranoia is inferred rather than felt; the slave state concept itself is the psychological derangement imagined by a society that wants its own annihilation. Of course, my understanding of this piece is exclusive to me, because my interpretation is personal. I believe Transmatic can be read through different lenses, and like a poem, it can be read more than once; I love the aesthetics Kelso employs, and the characterization is subtle, the setting is engaging. More Kelso. Now.”
“…part-time hitman/ exterminator, Ignius Ellis’s dream is to buy a candy-apple red Nova Supreme. In the process of trying to earn enough cash to make his dream come true he gets sucked into the rough world of Visitacion Valley, SF. When the tenants in his apartment complex reveal their various extracurricular activities this take an even more bizarre twist and Ellis soon becomes acquainted with the nightmarish Salve State dimension…”
click image to follow the hit-man to the ‘other’ side of reality.
In Transmatic, Chris Kelso definitely has a toe in the time machine, wiggling around the British ’60s New Wave, a little Dystopian Dick, too (Phil K. I mean), but also there’s the paranoid Burroughs flavors, maybe more Naked Lunch the movie than Naked Lunch the book, but the lunch is still pretty naked. However, this author is certainly more than his influences. At turns both raunchy and talky, it’s a relief that Kelso has skill at conversations, because this book is constructed almost entirely of fast, intricate exchanges, which give it a welcome momentum in the saggy world of science-fiction. A fast, kinetic read.
I thought I was TRANSMATIC turns out I am only Manual, By King Mab
The blurbs on the cover, the reviews here and on goodreads, they all mention the PKD and Bukowski inspiration. Definitely, but Transmatic isn’t derivative of those things, it takes them and runs all over you dirty black soul. The book is brainy without being pretentious, funny without being silly, and insightful without being preachy. In fact it gets all that just right. I get off on things that teeter on the edge of low and high brow, this hits that sweet spot, and to me that is the sign of an expertly written Bizarro book.
The book is about a Hitman/exterminator and his brainmelting bad time–which turns out to be a great time for us. Weird medical cults, strange psychic powers, alien overlords. You got a pastiche here of books like Naked Lunch and Ubik and Grant Morrison’s the Invisibles, all stitched together with tightly threaded vernacular prose.
I’d also like to point out the art and layout. The gritty pictures, the borders, hell, the catalog in the back was even rad. My only real complaint is that I want more. I want more of this setting and this kind of madness. Which, thankfully, Kelso has provided for us in Moosejaw Frontier and A Message From the Slave State.
Ups! Sorry, Earthlings …, By Renato Bratkovič (Slovenia)
Ignius Ellis is an exterminator, dabbling in killing people as a part-time hitman to buy himself a brand new Nova Supreme. He finds himself in the company of many characters, no one of which who they seem to be. The story begins in Visitacion Valley in San Francisco, but you change places in a series of events like on a roller coaster, and you need more than a second or two to grasp, that the border between the reality as you know it and the Slave State is invisible. The main character is an exterminator and there is an entity we may be not aware of – the Slave State, but here (at least to me) the comparison to Burroughs ends. Kelso is an original writer and he has just won himself another fan!