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100 Jolts: Shockingly Short Stories Paperback – April 30, 2004
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100 JOLTS is the creation of a very talented writer at the top of his game...Highly recommended. -- ChiZine
If you're a reader you should have this, if you're a writer you need this. -- Kelli Dunlap, Horror-Web
Jaded horror veterans would certainly welcome this book as a refreshing change of pace from mass market factory schlock. -- Randy Schaub, Creature Corner
From the Inside Flap
"Simply stated, there's nothing like this collection of ultra-short fiction. Arnzen continually impressed me with his punchy narrative style and endless images of grue, gore, and gristle. An evening with this book will leave you feeling like you've been gutted like a dead fish and hung out to dry." Tom Monteleone, author of The Blood of the Lamb
"Avant-horror is all about trespass (of narrative limits, of readerly expectations, of social decorum) and all about the disruption of what our culture thinks it needs to repress in order to remain whole and functioning. In these 100 wild-eyed fictive concentrates, Michael A. Arnzen, the wizard of outré, asks our culture to think again. And again." Lance Olsen, author of Hideous Beauties
"100 Jolts delivers far more than is promised by its title; with this magnificent collection of literate and disturbing short-shorts, some which are among the darkly funniest I've ever read, Arnzen can rightfully claim his place as the Donald Barthelme of horror. This book is a remarkable achievement." Gary A. Braunbeck, author of In Silent Graves and Graveyard People
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Tthe stories themselves, I felt, showed very few new ideas and concepts. When the idea is just the gore, the action, it takes out a lot of what makes horror effective- the atmosphere, the build up. I'm not saying an author couldn't find a way to make those things happen in a brief piece, I'm just saying this one didn't.
It didn't help that there is an ugly streak of misogyny that runs through this right from the onset either.
I just really strongly disliked this book.
The only way this book could have been better is if it were titled 10,000 Jolts.
Whether calling it Flash Fiction or Minimalist Horror, 100 Jolts is a shockingly delightful romp through some very sticky, and very slimy, situations. Michael Arnzen clearly demonstrates that he has been working with Flash for some time, showing off these bereft-poetry-haiku type of "smack you in the face" stories with style and substance.
We have all occasionally read those droll books where an author takes a 50 page story and pads it into 500 pages of tedious reading, and 100 Jolts is the exact opposite of those snooze fests. In this book, there is the sense that a 50 page story has been pared down past the meat into the skeletal frame and left us quivering with the ringing of steel on bone, as Arnzen slices off the juiciest of the story just for us, handing it out to us on a tiny platter, a toothy grin gracing his face.
Well, eat up, boys and girls! 100 Jolts is one of the best collections of this new type of fiction I have seen yet. There were a few pieces that left me disappointed, having the feeling of a muse or a simply jotted idea, but the rest of this thin volume left my hunger satisfied and my mind whirling with the impact, exactly how the author intended.
And for those of us with a warped or twisted sense of humor, you will find a chuckle or two lurking here also.
Some of my favorites include: Skull Fragments, Take Out, Stabbing For Dummies, White Out, The Seven Headed Beast, Psycho Hunter, Inside The Man With No Eyelids, Burning Bridges, Next Door, Nightmare Job #3, Five Mean Machines, The Eight Ball In Big Mouth's Pocket, An Evil Eye, The Blood Ran Out, How To Grow A Man Eating Plant, and Domestic Fowl.
Those are just a tiny sampling of the works collected here. With stories ranging from two or three sentences to two or three pages, this book is perfect for a beach afternoon, a late night flight, or a nice little story before bedtime.