I’m really high on codeine right now, so bear with me. It’s not for recreational purposes, I swear, but that’s not important. Shoot, I’ve been listening to Spacemen 3 all night and I think they are pretty awesome. Right, then…
When it comes to Bizarro fiction, a reader can experience anything from demonic pancake assaults to rabid unicorn attack battalions. This genre offers real treats for a consumer in a literary sea of trite, overdone plots, glittering vampires and, well, a bunch of zombies. Fucking lame. But not all Bizarro needs to be fantastical on its surface. Sometimes the very characters themselves and their behaviors are irreal enough to garner a Bizarro badge of merit.
Steve Lowe is an author whose works fall in this latter category. Lowe’s characters tend to suffer odd circumstances – people who fall into a doughnut hole of absurdity – thus thrusting them into situations that only this writer’s mind could devise.
Despite these strange events, Lowe’s stories are more character driven. Prepare to read tales about a neighborhood that wakes up one morning to find their sexual partners’ identities have been swapped. Enjoy the life of a pushover who competes in a game that not only stretches his limits, but the limits of sex in general; not to mention a case where a slacker awakens to find he has morphed into a three-toed sloth.
As said, Lowe’s novels are character-centric and this factor makes you care for them all the more. No matter how abject their behaviors (oh, and they can be disgusting), Lowe always injects a tenderness in every one featured, and it’s no wonder that his plots usually deal with the theme of personal change and redemption.
Lowe is very well aware that modern life can suck a sweaty peen for most. With his finger on the pulse of today’s society, he acknowledges that Middle American existence is, by default, bizarre.
The following is a quick glance of all of his books (to my knowledge) that are available for purchase and you can find them right now on Amazon and other fine book vendors:
Muscle Memory: This book answers the question of what happens when you have an inexplicable switcheroo of being with your nearest and dearest. Yes, one character does swap identities with a barnyard animal. Deal with it.
King of the Perverts: Loved this book. Erotica subverted. Dennis is the ultimate mangina whose wife hates his guts. Being newly unemployed, he decides to participate in a reality show where he vies to become king of the perverts for cash and prizes. Under duress and coercion by East-Euro brute “Mongo,” Denny must endure one vile sexual encounter after another from blumpkins to Alabama Hot Pockets. My only complaint is that Lowe left out the Romanian Rollercoaster and the Polish Bikeride. Whatever.
Samurai Vs. Robo-Dick: Benson opts out of society and won’t leave his parent’s basement. A take on the monomyth, one day, he is coaxed out of the house only to find that the world has suffered some sort of apocalypse and the only “safe” place left is the stupid, suburbanoid gated community in which he squats. He’s forced to take a shitty job with the neo-Fascist neighborhood watch and things get worse for Benson from there.
Mio Padre, il Tumore: Ciao Bella! This book is probably my favorite. This tale is basically a spaghetti western set in… Northern Indiana?!?!? Yes, blend The Godfather, Sergio Leone flicks, Henenlotter’s Basket Case and some Lucio Fulci. Now, set it to a soundtrack by Claudio Simonetti and you have a fine tale of bizarre revenge. Very suspenseful and a departure from some of Lowe’s usual gross-out fare. I really enjoyed this and could see it being directed by Cronenberg one day. So, if you want something a little more sober, this might be a good book of Lowe’s catalog to begin with.
You Are SLOTH!: You wake up one day from your subsistence slackerhood and realize that you are SLOTH! Yes, in a Kafka-esque turn of absurdity, you have transformed into one of God’s stupidest animals next to the platypus. This tale really maximizes great characters and wonderful dialog. It had me in stitches! My favorite denizen of these pages is pussy-begging, PUA asswipe Chris Cross. His banter and one-liners are worth every penny of the purchase. Beware the “death-by-bukkake” part.
A freelance sports reporter by day, Lowe’s books don’t focus on sports, but I would love to see him tackle such a saga sometime in the future. Like, a fucked-up rendition of Slapshot (one of my fave movies) or some such thing. You can do it, Steve. You can do it!