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The Terrible Thing That Happens Paperback – October 1, 2016
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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 mostunpredictable? These aren't easy superlatives to make; however, CarltonMellick may well be all of those things, behind a canon of books thatall irreverently depart from the form and concepts of traditionalnovels, 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 talentedpractitioners, 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 fewbooks a year, he has managed to bring something new to the table everytime... 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 withgenuine, unbridled outsider madness. As such, it borders on genius, inthe 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 transgressiveweird fiction is to me the most vibrant, exciting, genre-mangling scenein all of strange literature today. And no one holds dominion over thisblossoming underground phenomenon like the godfather of Bizarro, Carlton Mellick III. With the most impressive sideburns in imaginative litsince Isaac Asimov, and a brain that squirts out more shamelesslyplayful originality in any given chapter than most artists willaccomplish in their entire lives, he's the poster boy. The Elvis. Aswell he should be." --JOHN SKIPP, co-author of The Bridge
"It's not unusual to blow through a Mellick book in one sitting. They'refast-paced with an endless number of surprises, making it tough not tokeep 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
"Hisfiction blends bizarre scenarios mixed with horror, action, and evenmore bizarre actions to create fiction that toes the line between theabsurd and the dark places of the mind... Shocking yet entertaining" --THE EXAMINER
"I imagine Mellick as a Willy Wonka-type character, someone withpersonal access to another world, a world of his own creation, but dueto 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-choppedauthor 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 discussingweird-ass muttonchopped authors without mentioning Mellick." --CRACKED.COM
- Publisher : Eraserhead Press (October 1, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 154 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1621052249
- ISBN-13 : 978-1621052241
- Item Weight : 5.3 ounces
- Dimensions : 5 x 0.36 x 7 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #628,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The characters, world building, dialogue and reactions are all perfect in my book. The twists and turns, especially the revelation near the end was so flawless and amazing, it nearly took my breath away. Perhaps this book is not as 'weird' as some of Mellick's other stories, but I am interested in good and original storytelling and don't care about if it should fit into typical Bizarro or horror or whatever categories. This book gets my highest recommendation.
Sniff Test: This book smells like bread, cookies, and floor wax in the beginning. Like when you first step into a grocery store and the automatic door wooshes closed behind you. A hint of roast beef from the Deli. Some old ladies rosey perfume. Pencil shavings and wait-- what is this? Gun oil? Smoke? BLOOD! We need to get out of here, something terrible is about to happen!... TOO LATE... 4/5. There's a great deal in the books section, next to the magazine stand!
Puzzled, he wanders about the store, trying to communicate with the shoppers, trying the produce, and falling in love with a cute red-haired woman with a short haircut. As he is there, he comes across two other inhabitants of the currant wasteland, although from a different clique. These other inhabitants convince Chocky to run for it before "The Devils" arrive. The Devils are a bunch of psychopaths who will proceed to slaughter all the customers, and if Chocky and company don't get out of the store pronto, then they will be drawn into the slaughter, and they will die as well as the shoppers. As Chocky and company proceed to where his rescuers live, the store fades again into the "Void". He will quickly learn that while the store is in the wasteland's present for its brief time, it is always fully-stocked, and any part of its inventory can be scavenged from the store for Chocky's rescuers, and their clique, to survive on.
Following his two rescuers back to their underground home where they, Pickle and Radishes, live, he finds a matriarchically oriented community of mutated peoples where men have no rights and must "see" any woman, at any time, who wants them. The fact that Chocky is a relatively normal man makes him in high demand amongst the mutated. But there is a loophole, and Chocky takes full advantage of it to find a guide to, and through, the Store. In his brief time in the "STORE" Chocky has fallen in love with the red-haired woman, and he plans to go back and rescue her from her fate of constant slaughter. To do this he is forced to team-up with the cantankerous and mutated Milk who has her own reasons for going back, although not with Chocky, who has now been rechristened Chocolate. But like Pickle, Milk wants a baby by Chocolate as Chocolate is the best chance these two have for having the healthiest baby they can probably have.
Unfortunately, Chocolate acts like a lot of immature young men, his single-mindedness and immaturity will cause a wide-swath of destruction and death amongst his adopted tribe, the "STORE"'s inhabitants, and ultimately, amongst an even another tribe living in the wasteland. This novel is also cursed with a weak, rushed, and lazy ending. Mellick takes the cheap way out, going more for a juvenile slam-bang affair than the harder edge that the story seems to need, and this includes the explanation as to how the "STORE" came into being. The other problem is that none of the characters, except, maybe, Milk, is given the proper character development that they deserve. "The Terrible Thing That Happens" almost reads like the opening and closing chapters of a longer novel.
Still . . . still . . . Mellick's prose is compulsively readable, and, because I'm haunted house fan, so was his novella. If Mellick would ever turn this outline, and that's what it is, into a longer, less rushed novel, I'd read that. As is, in his introduction, Carlton Mellick claims that his novel will have the feel of a young person's picture book, and I can see that, and not in a bad way, as there are touches here and there of such a thing. I can also see the influences of anime, with this novel’s outlandish, and exaggerated characters, setting, and idea. There is also a retro feel to the story, as Mellik's novel also seems influenced by the late forties and early fifties pulps and comics, because back in those times science fiction had a more innocent attitude as far as radiation and radiation mutations went. Back when overdoses of radiation could cause interesting superpowers and mutations, instead of the effects of what we now know radiation can really cause. On-the-other-hand, as Mellick's novel has a unique look and feel to it, with some easy going, if shallow, characters, I can't help but recommend it, and to feel that "The Terrible Thing That Happens" would most likely make a great animated film.
********Besides just the novella this book has an author’s introduction in which Mellick explains his views on ghost fiction, and which shows just how much he misunderstands the genre.
********There is also a seven page comic strip in which Mellick celebrates his friend Vince Kramer. The story and remembrances are good, but the art is a bit rough. Still, it reminded me of the underground commix that I used to read in the seventies.
********And last, but not least, let’s not forget the monochromatic cover by Ed Mironiuk which shows a character that seems a combination of the writhering headpieces, and attitude of Milk, and the wide-eyed look of Pickle.
For this site I have read these other books of interest:
Afterlife Battlefield by Johnny Ostentatious.
House of Fallen Trees by Gina Ranalli.
Jack's Magic Beans by Brian Keene.
The Late Night Horror Show by Bryan Smith.
Lucky Streak by Dane Grannon.
Rise & Walk by Gregory Solis.
Take the Long Way Home by Brian Keene.
Trashland a Go-Go by Constance Ann Fitzgerald.
Well, ok, maybe that's not fair. I should say there is nothing normal about his books. His work is completely abnormal, totally unpredictable, and absolutely genius. His writing style changes from book to book. He defies genre, bouncing from fantasy to sci-fi to horror to places we've never even seen before. The only thing that is consistent about Carlton Mellick III is the quality of his books. They are all wonderful.
The Terrible Thing That Happens is no exception to this rule. Sliding between sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, the story is fast paced and unrelenting. In a post-apocalyptic setting, Mellick's characters must make do with the scraps which survive. But just around the bend, across the fields of radioactive ash and dust, lies a fully stocked grocery store. How cool is that? Of course, there is a problem with the store. Ya gotta deal with some killer crowds in there!
Nothing normal about this book. Nothing ordinary. But everything wonderful. This book is just another twisted delight from the master of Bizaro Fiction. It's a gem, a treasure, but mostly it's just a damn fun book to read.
This is the story of a haunted grocery store. It's the story of a boy who tries to do something great, and in doing so, messes everything up (much like Sweet Story, however, the execution of this book is way better than that of Sweet Story).
The Terrible Thing That Happens is my favorite Mellick book in quite sometime. If you're a fan of Mellick, bizarro horror, or haunted stories, you must read this book immediately!