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My Heart Said No, But the Camera Crew Said Yes! Paperback – April 9, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The book's strength lies in the way irreverent images are juxtaposed, repeatedly, often rhythmically, creating a sensation that has no use for the traditional confines of literature." --Outsider Writers Collective

Throughout, Sands displays an adept knack for twisting familiar words and phrases into new forms, altering their meaning while poking fun at the overused, the clichéd. --decomP

From the Inside Flap

"There's a place past all reason, most possibility, and all the jokes I can think of. A place shaped kind of like the human heart. Bradley Sands doesn't write about this place, but he writes from it, pushing farther into the unguessable with each word, each scene." - Stephen Graham Jones, author of Demon Theory & It Came From Del Rio 

"There is a disorienting alchemy at work in Bradley Sands' fiction. Here phantasmagoria shifts into stand-up and the avant-garde saddles up besides the geek. Imagine: a hyper-palimpsest beneath which burbles a heady brew of surrealism, poetry, memoir, and horror all set to a DaDa soundtrack that sounds surprisingly like the End of the World." - Rayo Casablanca, author of 6 Sick Hipsters & Very Mercenary

"Reading this collection is like ingesting a bag of fun-colored candy, removing your stomach, and then taking it to a party for use as a pinata. Some readers will love these stories, some readers will hate them but, displayed throughout, is a true love of language and a generous dose of creativity." - Andersen Prunty, author of The Beard
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Raw Dog Screaming Press; Firsttion ed. edition (April 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933293934
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933293936
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,472,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Jason L. Jordan on April 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
Known for his novel "It Came from Below the Belt" (Afterbirth Books, 2006) and his publication Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens, Bizarro author Bradley Sands is now offering "My Heart Said No, but the Camera Crew Said Yes!" (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2010), a collection that is wholeheartedly rooted in Sands's chosen aesthetic. Then again, perhaps Sands's aesthetic chose him. In either case, cast aside predictability, because these stories are anything but commonplace.

The good: Throughout, Sands displays an adept knack for twisting familiar words and phrases into new forms, altering their meaning while poking fun at the overused, the clichéd. In example, from page 52: "The plant tears off its disguise, roars, and gives Crispin a 30 Seconal head start...and asks Crispin why he's not fleeing from its terrifying presence. Crispin explains that his cooperation in a chase sequence isn't free. It costs $3.95 for the first minute and $1.25 for each additional minute."

Often, he'll deliver a ludicrous, hilarious development out of the blue: "Since birth, an eerie mariachi band had followed Lemony Fresh around, hellbent on providing atmospheric music to accompany his rollicking adventures" (72). And there's something to be said, again, about how unpredictable these stories are. There's something new around every turn, and the unknown is part of the fun.

The bad: Because so much changes from start to finish, in most of these stories, the tension suffers. It's also difficult to keep in mind what the protagonist is trying to achieve due to such rampant transformation--especially in longer stories like "Terror in the Haunted House" and "The Anals of Piracy," both of which overstay their welcome.
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Some books are so easy that you can devour them in an evening after drinking four or five Pabst Blue Ribbons for dinner. This isn't one of them.

What do the following items have in common?
* Entries from the Encyclopedia Orangutannicus
* The Eiffel Tower wearing a feather boa
* A reference to King Kong Bundy, the rightful winner of the main event at Wrestlemania II
* A waitress dropping a tip jar, spilling such tips as "The clitoris is located between the labia and the top of the vulva"
* A Hollywood producer named Jared Bruckheiny
* Captain Koala
* The instructions for writing a short story

If you think it's just gibberish I made up, you're mostly wrong. All of these are just a sampling of the ideas jammed within the pages of My Heart Said No, But the Camera Crew Said Yes!

Let's get down to brass tacks. I hate short story collections and I hate writing reviews for them even more. This one is a little different than most collections. Instead of a lot of teases with intriguing story ideas that peter out after a couple pages or two, MHSNBTCCS sandblasts you (Get it? the author's name is Bradley Sands? Sandblast? Get it?) with one absurd idea or situation after another.

Wordplay takes center stage in this collection and if you're not paying attention or slightly impaired, it'll go right by you. Where else are you going to see a scat burglar beebopping into a building to rob it or an enema that gets grandmothers? "Nowhere!" is the correct answer.

So, avoid this book if you can handle your neighbors laughing at you because they can handle it and you can't. Or pick it up now and show those jerks!
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I firmly believe this is Bradley Sands' magnum opus. You can see his eye for detail in every sentence. I could actually believe he spent hours crafting every single sentence to his liking, given that each sentence adds something dramatically different to either the plot, scenery or identity of the character.

This book exists somewhere between the pocket realms of hyperbole, prop comedy, satire and stream of consciousness. Everything is invented. McNugget Mansion, D.T. The Delirium Tremens, a Venus Hippopotamustrap, kitchen tables on roller skates, bedroom doors that take up martial arts in the name of revenge, Encyclopedia Orangutannica, Humper Dumper Yogurtarium and Toilet Paper Boutique, nurses that physically resemble the Eiffel Tower. There is no end to Bradley Sands' inventive turns of phrase. I can see why it is so exhausting for him when he works on a full length novel/novella if he cares so much for each sentence.

The final chapter, entitled 'How To Write a Short Story' is, I believe, the one chapter where he is being completely honest without being over the top. Although he might be playing with metaphor on the wrist slitting part.
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Bradley Sands is unlike most authors you've probably read. It's not really suitable to label his work "Bizarro" or "Absurd", even though it certainly is Bizarre and absurd. His work is more like a very carefully crafted patchwork quilt of sheer oddity and confusion. His stories are a leaning tower of mind-melting scenarios that bleed into each other, forming a thread by virtue of their placement. Saying this may give you the impression that Sands is a chaotic randomist, however, this isn't true either. Reading the stories in `My Heart Said No, But the Camera Crew Said YES!" reveals the care and craftsmanship involved.

Consider the following passage from the story, `Terror in the Haunted House':

"An Eiffel Tower struts down the hallway in a sexy maid's uniform, blitzkrieging the high ceiling with its feather boa duster. The canvas of Lord Remarkably Stiff For His Age bubbles over its frame like a pan of stovetop popcorn. Then the painting extracts itself from the wall, uncovering a crevice and the backside of the painting's true ally against gravity. Super Noxious Air Man and his sidekick, Kid Centrifugal Force, fight to make the world safe for Dermatology - one incurable skin condition at a time - and the face of the brittle portrait putrefies."

In isolation, it's almost like an ultra dense piece of nano fiction. Now, pile these pieces of nano fiction together, following something akin to narrative in the process, and you have a Bradley Sands story. Depending on the sort of person you are, this either a great thing or a terrible thing. I fall firmly in the `great' camp. I love how well-crafted this insanity is, and the imagery these stories provoke is quite unique.
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