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Archelon Ranch Paperback – October 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 118 pages
  • Publisher: Legume Man Books (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0980593824
  • ISBN-13: 978-0980593822
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,982,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Written in a style that's an odd triangulation of Thomas Pynchon, Donald Barthelme, Jasper Fforde, Philip K. Dick, and Jonathan Lethem (Girl in Landscape and Amnesia Moon in particular), Archelon Ranch offers a surprisingly clever and engaging meditation on writer's block and authorial angst, especially for a book with no real author. --Philadelphia Stories, February 9th, 2010

But this is not just weird for weirdness' sake; Cook's story is an ever-shifting barrage of ideas, emotions, and metafiction of the funniest order. Cook himself is part of the quest of these fascinating characters, who attempt to understand (through violent, thought-provoking, and always funny situations) who they are and where they stand in their creator's eyes. Cook's use of a shopping mall as a barrier between classes and gateway to potential paradise brings out stronger social commentary than was even hinted at in Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD (1979) --The Horror Fiction Review, March 1st, 2010

This was a very good and very enjoyable book. The idea of minor characters breaking the fourth wall and attempting to grab a bigger part of the story has been toyed with before, mainly in the small press, but I have never read a story with such a satisfactory result. Cook really opens up near the end and shows more of his personal side, which always adds to the quality of any writing. --Withersin, November 25th, 2009

Cook as an author has grown considerably as a storyteller in this book, which is quite an achievement since all three of his novels have been written in a relatively short period of time. I suspect Garrett felt more at home with the free-wheeling nature of this story, as opposed to the rather tightly plotted Murderland volumes. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys challenging material and surreal storytelling, but who also like to be thoroughly entertained when reading. --Never Ending Wonder, March 16th, 2010

More About the Author

"Definitely a serious talent-" Mort Castle, Bram Stoker winner, author of The Strangers, editor of On Writing Horror

"There's no way to prepare, no way to protect yourself. Garrett Cook's work has an edge..and it's at your throat-" Robert Dunbar, Bram Stoker nominee, author of Martyrs and Monsters

"Action! Explosions! Hot broads! Garrett Cook is two fisted Bizarro pulp. I love his stories!"- Jeff Burk, author of Shatnerquake

"Garrett Cook and Jimmy Plush ain't fluff. Raw and uncut, dealin' out death to the offensive, they preach sledgehammer when they drop hardcore in hardboiled. -- Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. author of SIN & ashes, editor of A Season in Carcosa

Garrett Cook is an author of Horror, Bizarro and Neopulp fiction currently residing in Boston. His work has appeared in such publications as Polluto, Exquisite Corpse and the Magazine of Bizarro Fiction. Stories by Garrett Cook have appeared alongside the likes of Joe Lansdale, Michael Moorcock, John Skipp, Carlton Mellick III and Thomas Ligotti. He is a two time winner of the Ultimate Bizarro Showdown and the cocreator of the magazine Imperial Youth Review. Garrett also works as a freelance editor and is available to work on manuscripts of any length and genre for relatively cheap.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 22 customer reviews
It works so well that I think the story would just be 'cute' without that aspect tied in.
Christy Leigh Stewart
This was one of those can't put it down books for me, I wanted to forget about anything I had going on and just read this straight through.
Matthew Vaughn
In this tale it is natural, and everything with the world he has created makes perfect sense.
T. Zelazny

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Miriam M. Lain on June 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
Garrett Cook's wild imagination, his undisciplined stream of consciousness that somehow just manages to cohere into an honest to God coherent narrative, his willingness to write about a protagonist that both is and is not a hat, this is precisely what the reading public most desperately needs. Let us destroy the stories about broken families, sexy hipsters, gritty Harlem streets, and Cambridge vegetarians, and instead embrace the basic fact that we are both hats and not hats.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Wargo on March 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
When I began reading the first chapter, I didn't think it was going to be a very good book.

I was wrong.

This is perhaps one of the strongest Bizarro books I've ever read. The characters and the world are impressively detailed for a short novel. The language is personal, it reads almost like a diary, but it stays believable even in the most fantastic of situations presented in the story.

As a metafiction novel, it never slows or gets bogged down in unnecessary explanation. A steady pace kept me reading page after page and before I knew it I had read 9 of the 10 chapters in one sitting.

My favorite character is Bernard's brother, Clyde, who believes Bernard may be the Protagonist of the story and is very jealous that the Author chose him.

After reading this book, I'm now convinced that Garrett Cook must be some sort of god in this world, too. I hope he doesn't write me out of the script too early.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. Zelazny on February 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
To me this was an existentialist's dream without the arrogant reputation that usually comes with such a word. This book is bizarre and totally imaginative, but Cook isn't just being bizarre or imaginative. In this tale it is natural, and everything with the world he has created makes perfect sense. There's great humor here, as well as quite a bit one might call unsettling. For me it was a thinker, and a damned entertaining one at that. I hope to read more by Cook in the future. Check this one out. You'll enjoy it on many levels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Sweeney on October 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
A quest for paradise. Sentient hats. Dinosaurs.

I have to confess to having a prior predjudice to enjoying this book as I love metafiction; from the nested narratives of Flann O'Brien's "At Swim Two Birds", the demented Lovecraft love letter film "In the Mouth of Madness", through to comics legend Grant Morrison's entire ouerve. For people unfamiliar with the concepts behind metafiction I would suggest reading Max Beerbohm's "Enoch Soames", a short story available freely online, and if you find the sensation of having your mind cherry popped a pleasent one, then consider that tale just the breaking in that precedes Mr Cook's thorough reverse cowboy of id, ego, and superego, "Archelon Ranch". Your frontal lobes will be walking like John Wayne for some time after this.

A clever, funny, and thoroughly bizarre story, with a depth all too often lacking in demented fiction. Bravo Mr Cook.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alex Jerison on April 5, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Archelon Ranch and Peter Pan are the only two books I've been able to endure reading on an e-reader/phone/what-have-you. Now I'm not saying Garrett Cook's a better writer than J.M. Barrie, but when I read Peter Pan I was suffering from a kidney stone and it was the only thing I had to keep my mind off the searing agony. Archelon Ranch I read with no provocation and under no duress. I started it because I wanted to read it, I kept reading because I really enjoyed it, and I finished it because it held my interest. Just like a regular book. I totally forgot that it was digitized and encased in an annoyingly non-paper form. I could read it as if I wasn't a snob at all.

Other authors I've attempted to read on electronic devices: Hawthorne, Shakespeare, Lovecraft, and pretty much anyone else under public domain who struck my fancy. I couldn't even get through Alice in Wonderland, and I love that book.

So while I'm not necessarily stating that this is better than anything Shakespeare ever wrote, the evidence seems to suggest it. And considering you can get Shakespeare's complete works and Archelon Ranch on your soul-destroying mechanobook for less than a cup of coffee, I think it's worth comparing 'em for yourself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jess Gulbranson on February 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
Just finished "Archelon Ranch." Maybe I should wait and let my impressions settle- but no, that would do the book a disservice. All the pertinent details are covered in other reviews and the official descriptions, so it's likely you know what it's about, but here are my impressions. First off, the IRL layer has this book being written and published in the same circumstances as my own forthcoming book, so I immediately felt that resonance. This is a metafictional text of the highest order- it froths over at the climax and spills out even into the author bio at the end. Its setting might be recognizable from Logan's Run, Finder, Escape From New York, etc.- but from the fans atop the dome to the psychedelic mud-choked suburbs surrounding it, this setting lives or dies on the 'open-beam' metafictional framework underlying it, and as many dinosaur toys a young Garrett Cook was allowed to have in his tub. Additionally, while the text may perpetually state that one character is a Protagonist, it is clear that another more well-developed character is, and that narrative friction was enjoyable, though I would like to have seen more time devoted to the latter character. Last, I would like to point out the courage Garrett Cook displays for dumping the uglier part of himself into the story- whether for catharsis, katabasis, or simple praxis, it is emotionally powerful, and I hope my similar tendencies in most of my works are even half as effective. More than just a simple weird tale, this is a keen dart thrown at the void.
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