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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So Far - So Good
Bought it on a whim, haven't read all of the stories but I can tell you the few I have read are very disturbing. The book is well put together and not at all what I expected, not sure what that was, but it wasn't what I got. Don't read this if you are an over sensitive person - must be open to the ideas of human kind and our darkness within from the authors perspectives.
Published 7 months ago by Goddess Shadow

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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun, if amateur, debut collection.
Michael Boatman, God Laughs When You Die (Dybbuk Press, 2007)

"And you think you know Michael Boatman.", David J. Schow ends his introduction to Boatman's slim volume of short stories. And you may; Boatman is an actor who's starred in a number of highly-rated TV series (China Beach and Spin City among them). He's quite a comedic talent. Which makes it all the...
Published on September 17, 2007 by Robert Beveridge


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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun, if amateur, debut collection., September 17, 2007
This review is from: God Laughs When You Die (Paperback)
Michael Boatman, God Laughs When You Die (Dybbuk Press, 2007)

"And you think you know Michael Boatman.", David J. Schow ends his introduction to Boatman's slim volume of short stories. And you may; Boatman is an actor who's starred in a number of highly-rated TV series (China Beach and Spin City among them). He's quite a comedic talent. Which makes it all the more weird that he's garnered a name for himself in the horror underground, publishing in places like Horror Garage and Red Scream. I will tell you right off the bat: knowing Boatman's TV work will not prepare you for these nine twisted tales. Being blurbed by Joe Lansdale and introduced by David Schow might, as the two were early lights of the splatterpunk movement. Don't let Lansdale's recent successful forays into the mystery world fool you, the guy knows his splat. And he likes Michael Boatman.

So do I, though not with quite as much enthusiasm. Boatman's stories are those of an amateur, albeit an inspired one; no one will be mistaking his work for that of Koja, Sarrantonio, Schow, or Lansdale for a while yet. The raw talent's obviously there, though. It just needs a bit of honing. Boatman is great for describing a situation, and has an ear for comparison (which Schow points out, with a few nasty examples from "Bloodbath at Landsdale Towers" as evidence), but like many authors who haven't been doing it for too long, he's seduced by the situations, and thus puts less thought into the characters he puts into those situations than he should. There are also some technical errors, though I'm more inclined to attribute those to a small press (and a dearth of editing/proofreading talent) than Boatman himself.

Still, cardboard characters aside, I'm not going to deny that these are some fun stores. "The Last American President" is an outright howler, probably the closest in the collection to what you think you know about Boatman. Any story that starts off with the pope suddenly turning into a mountain lion and eating Joan Collins is gonna be good. "The Ugly Truth", my favorite story here, is a good deal darker, and combines zombies with the diction and tone of a retold fairy tale. Gotta love it.

This is a first collection that shows potential, and I'll be watching Boatman's career as a writer while the rest of you watch TV. I'll let you know when he's going to be bigger in print than he is onscreen, because if he keeps working at it, he'll get there. ***
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So Far - So Good, May 5, 2014
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Bought it on a whim, haven't read all of the stories but I can tell you the few I have read are very disturbing. The book is well put together and not at all what I expected, not sure what that was, but it wasn't what I got. Don't read this if you are an over sensitive person - must be open to the ideas of human kind and our darkness within from the authors perspectives.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark, Skanky, Funky Little Twisted Tales: Performance Art, September 18, 2007
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This review is from: God Laughs When You Die (Paperback)
GOD LAUGHS WHEN YOU DIE: Mean Little Stories from the Wrong Side of the Tracks - that's enough of a title tied with a terrific cover art borrowed from Hieronymus Bosch to make any inquisitive mind pick up this book. The fact that it is the debut outing of classy actor Michael Boatman adds to the impetus, but it is the settling in with these nine weird short stories that makes the reader realize that here is a new writing talent in the making. The stories could be read aloud and be considered as performance art, so full of wild imaginings and colorful creations, at times repulsively detailed explorations of body cavities and characters who drop in like gargoyles to keep the eye and the senses alert.

Where Boatman finds these ideas it at once curious and frightening. Yet he is able to tell the stories with a superb vocabulary that seems to ooze from the page like a jellied corpse attempting to rise. There is a lot of violence here, yet controlled with a sense of building tension for the reader to quickly turn the page for more detail. His 'characters' are flat like comic book figures - until they speak or do perverse and nasty deeds, and then they are strong enough to resemble memories from bad dreams or dyspepsia.

Sounds like a book that might be more than the average reader could swallow? Maybe. But it is definitely an art form looking for an incarnation and Boatman seems to be able to open and close each of the fairly brief stories like an able craftsman. If the 'book' feels dissociative, then that may be part of the purpose of choice of format. Whatever Michael Boatman has created here begs for development into a novel state, and perhaps being committed to a full-length book on one topic would hone the ideas and imagination with the skills he so obviously has at hand. Try it - but leave the night light on... Grady Harp, September 07
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fast, violent, and unsympathetic, May 6, 2008
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This review is from: God Laughs When You Die (Paperback)
Is the only resolution to violence more violence? It was in the hope of negating this idea that I had to keep reading Michael Boatman's short story collection God Laughs When You Die (Dybbuk Press, 2007). With a prose style that catapults the reader right into the action--right into violent action--it's hard not to keep turning the page, but at the end of every story, I also felt abandoned in nearly the same place I'd started. I've come to think that is the point. There is no resolution in these tales (oh, maybe a spot or two of light, but barely). Every violent act is avenged by something equally violent. The avengers in these tales come just as we pray for them; they even destroy the villain as we hope. But that's when the stories turn. Don't read these if you want justice. There is no customary healing. And left in this unsettled state, I keep looking back to the title, wondering if these brutal and callous worlds were created in a god's image or if gods have conformed to the brutality apparent in our imaginations. There's a rush to these stories that's good; there's also a lingering sickness that I think will appeal highly to some, and leave others with a vague distaste. Recommended for anyone in the mood for a sharp snap of unsympathetic, fast-paced, hard-hitting violence.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars wonderful, horrible little book, January 29, 2010
This review is from: God Laughs When You Die (Paperback)
Michael Boatman, God Laughs When You Die; Mean Little Stories from the Wrong Side of the Tracks (Dybbuk Press, 2007)

Whether you take in this short story collection in small sips or plunge in and roll in the gore, it is a ride you will not soon forget. Boatman's gift for inserting vile images into your psyche lingers long after the last page is turned. Each story is a perfect combination of wry humor and nightmare fantasy. From the first sentence, Boatman weaves a delightfully ill-making tapestry that is impossible to look away from. In the midst of the violence and depravity, I found myself laughing out loud at well placed absurdities. His central casting characterization only helps ratchet up the impact of each cruel scenario. Check out the dark side of this accomplished actor and be grateful these imaginings are not lurking inside your own skull.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inventive and unpredictable, August 20, 2012
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Boatman's got style and vision. The vast majority of the stories in GOD LAUGHS WHEN YOU DIE are wildly inventive and unpredictable, cleanly written and forceful. Some of them will make you a little... uncomfortable. While the subject matter is deadly serious, there's a strange undercurrent of bleak, bleak humor here as well, the kind of humor you cling to when faced with ugly truths that can't be denied.

The only thing keeping this from a 5 star review was the somewhat messed-up formatting. But despite that, I'm looking forward to more from this author.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Debut, October 11, 2007
This review is from: God Laughs When You Die (Paperback)
Michael Boatman's debut collection is not one to miss by any means. He blends humor with horror, the strange with the unknown--and I loved it!
Reading through the pages, it just slipped right through my fingers, and before I knew it I was done with the book begging for there to be more. This is a full throttle effort on Boatman's part; his lure into the world of fiction is not an unforgettable ride. It will make you hungry for more! Guaranteed!
Boatman is a man to be on the lookout for!
-Joseph McGee, author of In the Wake of the Night, Phil's Place, Darkness Won't Rest: Phils Place II and SNOW HILL (June 2006)
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars funny, June 8, 2013
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Boatman is just as good as a writer as he is at acting. Hilarious work with plenty of tongue in cheek sly giggles.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, Twisted, and Gritty, March 7, 2012
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Jeffrey Miller (Daejeon South Korea) - See all my reviews
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These stories are not for the faint of heart nor are they the kind of stories you want to curl up with in bed on a cold night. Instead, the stories in this collection are gritty, dark, and in your face. The tempo is fast-paced; the language raw and powerful. Long after you've read these stories, they stick with you haunting and terrifying you.

Jeffrey Miller, author of War Remains and Damaged Goods
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some quite good, some below average, June 30, 2012
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Bordeaux Dogue (Lisboa, Portugal) - See all my reviews
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All very well written, in any case, which, sadly, tends not be customary.

As said, some of the stories, 3 or 4, are quite good. Some are tottally devoid of any interest, imho.

An apt two to three hours entertainer, in any case, but no more than that.
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God Laughs When You Die
God Laughs When You Die by Michael Boatman (Paperback - October 23, 2007)
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