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The Haunted Vagina Paperback – September 18, 2006
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In Carlton Mellick III's fourteenth bizarro novel, The Haunted Vagina, the reader is presented with another Mellickian mind-bending concept--what if your girlfriend's vagina was a gateway to another world? We are introduced to Steve and his girlfriend Stacy, whose "haunted" vagina is a problem for their sex life. When a skeleton-like creature emerges from Stacy's vagina, the two decide to explore what may be inside of her.
When Steve explores (and becomes trapped in) Stacy's vaginal world, he reflects upon his relationship with her. Mellick makes it obvious through clear dialogue and abstract imagery that their relationship is not healthy. Despite these strange occurrences and relationship problems, Steve remains hopelessly devoted to Stacy. This love is the basis for Mellick's return to a common theme: the power, figuratively and literally, a women's vagina can hold over a man.
The joys and terrors that Steve finds in the vagina reflect his relationship with Stacy. The power and trust struggles are seen from inside both characters--inside Steve, who is the narrator of the story, and from literally inside Stacy. This allows the reader a uniquely personal viewpoint of Steve and Stacy's downward spiral as lovers.
Mellick has made a name for himself by writing consistently engaging, strange, and downright weird stories. His characters can sometimes get lost in the weirdness. The Haunted Vagina is not really about the hallucinogenic world Steve finds inside Stacy; it is about the characters themselves. Their doubts and fears fuel the plot.
Fan's looking only for Mellick's hardcore gore and extremely bizarre imagery may be disappointed, as this book is more subtle than its predecessors. Don't be mistaken: this is still very much a horror book that explores the vagaries and dangers of lust, love and obsession. In this Bizarro novel, Mellick illustrates the human condition better than many authors of "realism."
Despite having dealt with similar themes before (e.g. Razor Wire Pubic Hair and The Steel Breakfast Era), this is Mellick's most mature and effective representation of men's sexual fears. His sparse style paints an intimate portrait of Steve and Stacy's relationship. The Haunted Vagina deserves attention; it's among Mellick's very best.
--The Magazine of Bizarro Fiction, Fall 2009
From the Back Cover
"Easily the craziest, weirdest, strangest, funniest, most obscene writer in America." -- GOTHIC MAGAZINE
"Carlton is an acquired taste, but he hooks you like a drug." --HUNTER SHEA, author of Forest of Shadows
"The most original novelist working today? The most outrageous? The most unpredictable? These aren't easy superlatives to make; however, Carlton Mellick may well be all of those things, behind a canon of books that all irreverently depart from the form and concepts of traditional novels, and adventure the reader into a howling, dark fantasyland of the most bizarre, over-the-top, and mind-warping inventiveness." --EDWARD LEE, author of Header
"Carlton Mellick III is a genius with an insanely beautiful imagination." --JOE AUGUSTYN, writer of Night of the Demons
"Carlton Mellick III has the craziest book titles... and the kinkiest fans!" --CHRISTOPHER MOORE, author of The Stupidest Angel
"If you haven't read Mellick you're not nearly perverse enough for the twenty first century." --JACK KETCHUM, author of The Woman and The Girl Next Door
"Carlton Mellick III is one of bizarro fiction's most talented practitioners, a virtuoso of the surreal, science fictional tale." --CORY DOCTOROW, author of Little Brother
"Mellick's career is impressive because, despite the fact that he puts out a few books a year, he has managed to bring something new to the table every time... Every Mellick novel is packed with more wildly original concepts than you could find in the current top ten New York Times bestsellers put together." --VERBICIDE
"Mellick's guerrilla incursions combine total geekboy fandom and love with genuine, unbridled outsider madness. As such, it borders on genius, in the way only true outsider art can." --FANGORIA
"Bizarre, twisted, and emotionally raw--Carlton Mellick's fiction is the literary equivalent of putting your brain in a blender." --BRIAN KEENE, author of The Rising and Dead Sea
"I'm a huuuuge Bizarro fan. This new strain of cheerfully transgressive weird fiction is to me the most vibrant, exciting, genre-mangling scene in all of strange literature today. And no one holds dominion over this blossoming underground phenomenon like the godfather of Bizarro, Carlton Mellick III. With the most impressive sideburns in imaginative lit since Isaac Asimov, and a brain that squirts out more shamelessly playful originality in any given chapter than most artists will accomplish in their entire lives, he's the poster boy. The Elvis. As well he should be." --JOHN SKIPP, co-author of The Bridge
"It's not unusual to blow through a Mellick book in one sitting. They're fast-paced with an endless number of surprises, making it tough not to keep turning pages. When the end comes, I'm left with that done-too-soon feeling that I always love experiencing." --RAZORCAKE
"A wormhole of disturbing surrealism and absurd satire." --VICE MAGAZINE
"Carlton Mellick III exemplifies the intelligence and wit that lurks between its lurid covers. In a genre where crude titles are an art in themselves, Mellick is a true artist." --THE GUARDIAN
"His fiction blends bizarre scenarios mixed with horror, action, and even more bizarre actions to create fiction that toes the line between the absurd and the dark places of the mind... Shocking yet entertaining" --THE EXAMINER
"I imagine Mellick as a Willy Wonka-type character, someone with personal access to another world, a world of his own creation, but due to its mind-bending energy, he's lost control of it, and it continues to thrive even without him there to pull the strings. And I like the idea of that." --BOOKIE MONSTER
"The imp of the perverse." --3AM MAGAZINE
"Just as Pop had Andy Warhol and Dada Tristan Tzara, the Bizarro movement has its very own P. T. Barnum-type practitioner. He's the mutton-chopped author of such books as Electric Jesus Corpse and The Menstruating Mall, the illustrator, editor, and instructor of all things Bizarro, and his name is Carlton Mellick III." --DETAILS MAGAZINE
"Discussing Bizarro literature without mentioning Mellick is like discussing weird-ass muttonchopped authors without mentioning Mellick." --CRACKED.COM
More About the Author
His work has appeared in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, The Best Bizarro Fiction of the Decade, and Vice Magazine, and has been translated into Italian, German, Russian, Spanish, French and Japanese.
He lives in Portland, Oregon, where he obsesses over comic books, micro-brews, video games, and K-pop dance routines. Visit him online at carltonmellick.com
Top Customer Reviews
Thematically similiar to "Razor Wire Pubic Hair," "the Haunted Vagina" is an exploration of the female body and the power it can hold over men (figuratively and literally). The tale is dark, disturbing, and funny. But most importantly, it causes the reader to think. If you have ever been in love, this book will pose some unsettling questions.
I am also pleased to say that this book features some of Mellick's best characterization. Sometimes Mellick's characters become secondary to the strangeness of the story; not in this book. You will be consumed with and his relationships in the real world and in the vagina world.
Don't let the small size fool you. There is a lot to this book. Highly, Highly recommended.
This is by far one of Mellick's best books ever. The alternate world is rich and mysterious, and occasionally frightening. The sheer strangeness of the tale will keep you turning pages until the end. My only complaint is that the book is short; I could have stayed much longer in Stacy's southern hemisphere. I highly recommend this book for aficionados of horror, punk, cult, or outlandish fiction. Enjoy!
Like other reviewers have lamented, it's expensive for what it is. $4 if you buy it used, then another $4.99 for shipping. Would I buy it again? Probably not. Would I read it again? You bet. It's a quick, enjoyable read that can be finished in an evening, even if all your pretentious literary friends will look down on you for it.
It's a love story that takes place (mostly) in the strange, haunted world of a vagina. It's not as crude as you'd think by reading the title. That's the brilliance of CM3. The title and concept just DRAWS you in. You think you might be getting a sleazy romp but instead you get a tight, bizarro, love story.
Fair enough. It's not a complete love story.. It's not a corny, tear-jerker. But, as another reviewer mentioned, it has great characterization of the main character. You really get to experience his feelings about the whole situation and emphasize with him many times. When he gets screwed over (so to speak) you really feel like you've been screwed over.
The imagery is vivid, too. In my opinion, that's key to a successful bizarro story. The only reason why I've given it only 4 stars is that I felt it could have benefited from a few more pages. Maybe that's just my attraction to the haunted world.. I really wanted to know a little more about things and perhaps see more interactions with the beings that reside there. That's just me, of course. Others may disagree. This should not, however, deter you from buying this book.
The humor in this book (and in other works by Mellick) is not intended as a "Hey, look, I'm funny!" type of thing. It's the hilarity of bad situations, of embarrassing moments, of uncomfortable realities.
Anyway, if you enjoy Mellick's work already, then you won't be disappointed. If you've never read anything by him.. [...].
Be warned, The Haunted Vagina is a strange little book. While it's heavy on sexual content, not once does it feel gratuitous. I would also venture to say that even when the lunacy kicks in full throttle, it remains firmly rooted in a very human story. Still, if you've never been exposed to Bataille, De Sade, or bizarro writers like Mellick, this might feel pornographic, as it did to someone who I gave the book to. Otherwise, crawl right into this hauntingly charming tale for an evening. It's dinner on me if you don't find yourself changed by the end.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Another amazing work by Carlton Mellick III. Short, wonderful, and unique. I highly recommend!Published 26 days ago by Amazon Customer
It's terrible, it mostly feels like a laundry list of fetishes that I don't have, but it's hella fun to read. And read out loud to roommates. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Connor Wilson
Readable but a bit weird. I know it's fiction, but a little bit of reality might have helped. If you have nothing else to read, it's okay. Not my favorite.Published 1 month ago by Kristen Brickner
Very imaginative but I got lost in the story, it was like an acid tripPublished 2 months ago by Melanie Nielsen
Great book, You don't think you can care and connect with such a bizarre story but you are wrong. This author makes characters anyone can like. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Barbara B.
I really have no idea what to say about this book. It's just- wow. I don't even know. I mean it was so absurd that I can't imagine how someone came up with it. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Chloe French
Wow this book completely blew me away. I didn't think anything could top Warrior wolf women of the waste land, but this one did. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Jrock
Worth reading. It was a strange book about a strange topic and some strange characters.
Fun and, at times, a tad disgusting, but in a interesting way.
A beautiful and hilarious premise that's a far better idea that actuality. The story's page count is off as well. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Charles Burnley