My old buddy and ultra-brilliant moustachioed collagey surrealist Xtian finally finished my book of horrible short stories "Dank Themes", and wrote me this very lovely review. Was so nice to read it! We can spend days, weeks, months, trapped down the well of our own experiences, so it was reassuring to read that, YES, some of the concepts and people and stories that I hurl out of my own well are making it over the edge and splashing down into others'. Thank fuck!
Here, this is what he said:
"Mat Blackwell is a friend and collaborator, so it breaks my heart to say, that THIS BOOK HAS NO SPACESHIPS IN IT. If there is one criteria I need in a good book, it's a spaceship. His previous work, the "romance-for-blokes-but-with-a-twist" novel "BEEF", was in fact a sci-fi of sorts - with no spaceships. His multi-award winning work for TV and the internationally acclaimed (and awarded) comedy series "Bruce" has no spaceships. How long can this go on, Mat?
So let's take a look at the damage instead - and damage it is. These are not your highbrow literary stories, a lot of these are covered in mud and blood and even shit - and they sit on your top shelf. These are provocations from the bowels of the brain - some of the scenarios will make you frown or even pinch your nose. (The book comes not with an introduction by Paul McDermott [DAAS], but a WARNING). But you persevere - why? Because none of it is for cheap laughs or just to be the Dennis the Menace of literature. From the get-go you find that Mat has something to say with each story, and not only to say, but to get you thinking about it. I'm not spoiling things here by revealing that every story is followed by a "Page left blank for purposes of introspection/ consideration" - and you don't feel like he's being pretentious. Every story is visceral enough to leave you with your head-spinning - not necessarily disgusted or shocked, but definitely pondering. And might I add a lot of these stories are very short, so to hit that hard that quick - that's a fecking artform.
The highlight of the entire work is the level of obscenity-meets-philosophy, delivered so well in a world so easily offended and distracted by taking offence. It's not that Mat is not worried about offending, but like all provocative philosophers he "goes there", and worries more about being misunderstood, or even ignored for all the wrong reasons.
This collection also contains two of the most heart-breaking stories I've ever read, but then there are those that make you laugh out loud and spew a little and then ponder the inescapable logic of it all. How does a man who shuns spaceships in a book (even though he's actually into that stuff) do that?!
Just be glad he does. An absolutely splendid collection of stories - not one I could fault - and highly recommend. Well done, Mat."