Warped Fun Twisted Chuck Wendig is a wordsmith general probably an 8 on the Gaiman Scale , and he presents nine stories of the weird and sometimes the macabre At 2.
99, it s pretty spectacular, and it s worth it just for the story Dog Man and Cat Bird Not all the stories work as well, but that story is one of my favorites ever Highly recommended.
This was my first Chuck Wendig book If I m thinking of the right author, all I knew about him before going into this is that he apparently likes to use a lot of profanity in his books This one had than most, but not an obscene amount If I had to describe this book in just one sentence it d be Irregular Creatures is like a bunch of Twilight Zone episodes if Twilight Zone was rated R That said, most of the stories were probably closer to PG 13 I d watch a one season HBO TV adaptation of this book The opening story, and the source of the cover image, Dog Man and Cat Bird, was my favorite one I really enjoyed everything about the way the story was crafted and the way the main characters werewellcharacterized.
Radioactive Monkey was creepy I liked how short it was Product Placement was probably my third favorite It s the first one that had a really strong feeling of being a lost Twilight Zone episode I have no idea if things would fall apart in a longer story, but the universe in which it takes place is pretty neat.
This Guy had promise, but the ending made no sense to me.
Mr Mhu s As I was reading it, I was expecting things to go wrong something like from Dusk Til Dawn Things DID go wrong, but not quite in the way I was expecting Good job, Wendig Lethe I really liked that it was very short Just enough to leave the brain thinking.
The Auction House was my second favorite I loved pretty much everything about it Again, probably couldn t be a longer story, but I would love to see in that world.
Beware Owner Oh man The twist at the end I almost dropped my book and just yelled out, NO WAY The last story was very interesting the way it went back and forth was awesome I don t know how much sense it makes the I try and think about it But I did like the almost evil genie aspect of it.
Took me about a couple hours of reading time well worth it.
What can I say I m now an offical fangurl of Chuck Wendig s writing Well, except some of his let s think about important writerly things blog stuff which, when I try to read it, feels like salt flung at my flabby, slug brain What I like is his twisted imagination, the way he punches you with his writing and dares you to flinch when he s drawing back for seconds and thirds and fourths , and his every wo man characters.
As I ve said a milliondybillion times before, I m usually not a fan of the short story, but these were all just fine and dandy by me Here s what I learned from Irregular Creatures I want a flying cat I want to visit The Auction I hear they have flying cats for sale there.
You know how when you re eating something really good you start counting how many are left and mourning the end before it s upon you That s how this e book was I kept glancing down at the bottom right side of my Kindle at the percentage done alert and thinking, That s probably, what only two or three stories left Oh no Slow down But I didn t I kept gulping these short stories like a woman dying of thirst in the dessert Good stuff Good, dirty, bloody, foul, fetid, disturbing stuff.
Once upon a time I went to a local bookstore and the guy behind the counter asked me what kind of books I liked to read.
I said, Weird ones, mostly He got the strangest look on his face I m sure he d been expecting me to say, Mystery or Horror or some other easily defined genre At last he said, Well we ve got some Steven King stuff over there I m not sure why weird isn t a genre by now If I was running a book store it would have a section labeled Weird Stuff, You d go over there and find books like Three Bags Full, House of Leaves, The Beasts of New York, and the Thursday Next Series And if you went a further down the row, nestled somewhere between Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede and When Graveyards Yawn you d find a little book by Chuck Wendig called Irregular Creatures.
Reading this book was a strange experience for me See, when I was a kid we used to go to the creek and swim I remember dipping my toe into the freezing water, and then my feet, and then my legs Finally, I d take the plunge and sink my whole body into the water After a minute or two I was wondering why I had been so freaked out by a little cold water.
Getting into this book was a lot like getting into that creek It took me a while to acclimatize to the style of prose Wendig employs to deliver his stories At first it struck me as overly simplistic and far too direct But gradually as that first story slowly unfolded I began to understand From that point on there was no turning back I plowed forward through each increasingly weird tale and loved every minute of it.
There are books that you will read for the sheer beauty of the sentences, the perfect poetry of the prose This isn t one of those books This book takes every hint of artificial adornment and crushes it beneath its hobnailed boot it spits upon subtlety, and gleefully defenestrates that worn out old saw that the writer must show and not tell.
If Chuck Wendig wants us to know that he hates Mondays he does not muck about with an entire paragraph describing the process of waking from a fitful dream only to realize that the cat has peed on the floor and the alarm clock reset itself in the night culminating with a final horrified glance at the calendar.
When Chuck Wendig wants us to know that he hates Mondays he writes, I bleep ing hate Mondays, and moves on with the story.
And I for one am fine with that In fact that s part of the beauty of this book Because what Wendig has to say is far too important to let it be overshadowed by how he says it It is clear from the get go that the stories are the stars of the show in this book and they are amazing.
I will not do you the disservice of summarizing the tales, but I will say they re probably unlike anything you ve ever read The best of the bunch is a tiny tale called Beware of Owner Reading this story is like having someone slide a rusty machete into your belly and then twist it hard And I mean that in a good way.
The other stories are good too, though some better than others One in particular, The Auction had a fantastically well developed setting that felt as if it could contain an entire novel s worth of action, but the story itself didn t quite live up to the incredible world that had been created for it Also when reading Lethe and Mnemosyne I got slightly confused Even after looking up the mythological characters of the title I still didn t get what any of it had to do with a giant killer chicken If any of you know I would love to be enlightened.
But anything critical I can say would be insignificant compared to the wonder and the awe contained in this oddly charming menagerie of monstrosities Irregular Creatures is a fantastic book, fully worth the pittance of a price its author is asking So slap your three dollars down on the digital barrelhead and prepare to be amazed.
Irregular Creatures will take you on a journey you will never forget.
I couldn t resist reading a book with a winged cat on the cover, and I m usually a fan of Chuck s work so I gave this book a try The format of the book was refreshing after reading a few lengthier novels, but this book almost feels like he released his writing journal A lot of these read as ideas of a story rather than a fleshed out concept Regardless I do not regret picking up this book.
The first story was really great and I loved it the rest seemed like he threw them together so he could find an excuse to publish the winged cat story I love Wendig but this just wasn t a gold star for me I appreciated the other worldly charm.
Chuck Wendig s Irregular Creatures is yet another feather in the short story collection cap, featuring nine speculative fiction tales that will shock, amuse, bewilder and entertain In the author s own words, the stories drunkenly swerve between fantasy, horror and science fiction with a dash of humour and absurdity thrown in for good measure.
There are two factors every story in this collection share Firstly, they each feature an irregular creature, whether a flying cat, alien, mermaid, demon, or something else entirely Secondly, they re all very weird, and very good.
One of my favourites is Dog Man and Cat Bird , which strikes the perfect balance between supernatural flying cats and very believable characters a suburban family with marital problems An excellent piece of urban fantasy with a lot of heart.
I was also very impressed by Mister Mhu s Pussy Show , which I somehow enjoyed despite being highly disturbed The writing is visceral and evocative, the magic gritty and seedy, the plot unexpected Certainly not for the faint hearted Science fiction tale Product Placement is another favourite due to its highly imaginative concept What if you woke up one day and all the brands you knew had disappeared, to be replaced by unfamiliar names Two stories stood out for their strong young protagonists In The Auction , a young boy and his father go to the most bizarre underground market in the world, where anything can be bought and sold or stolen This contrasts nicely with the very dark Beware of Owner , which takes place on a farm in the middle of nowhere with a psychotic father who doesn t abide trespassers, be they animal or human A Radioactive Monkey is short, gory, and disturbing, packing an unexpected punch in very limited space This Guy takes time travel and zombies and mashes them up together in a way you ve never seen before Perhaps the weakest of the bunch were Do Overs and Take Backs and Lethe and Mnemosyne , both of which I found a little confusing Overall, however, this is a consistently strong collection reminiscent of Neil Gaiman s darkly bizarre fiction.
Chuck Wendig has a very distinct writing style, frank and unapologetic, darkly funny and slightly insane He doesn t shy away from profanity, sex or violence, but does so without crossing the line into the gratuitous.
If you re looking to spice up your reading list, I d highly recommend this collection.
I had a blast reading Chuck s novella, Shotgun Gravy, which I finished in the space of one day Like most of Wendig s material, it was very readable full of inventive profanity, bizarre sensory details, and a cheerful, homespun vulgarity that reminds me a bit of early Stephen King.
Irregular Creatures has all those elements, but I found it a little uneven The book features nine short stories Of those, four are quite good, three are mildly inexplicable, and two seem downright pointless When Wendig s on, he s really on, but when he s off, it s equally as evident The two weakest tales seem to amount to the author pointing at some gruesome stuff and saying hey, look at this gruesome stuff Neat, huh Well, see you around Which is not inherently bad, but I was hoping for A couple of the stories were no than a few paragraphs describing a bizarre situation no characterization, no resolution, just some brief Lynchian weirdness, and it s on to the next story Personally, I would have rather seen fewer stories with meat to them That said, Irregular Creatures was still a fun read If you already know you like Wendig s work, you ll get some enjoyment out of this If you don t know his work, I don t recommend it for an introduction read Shotgun Gravy instead.
I think someone also mentioned a sort of cheerful vulgarity, and there s that, too Sometimes I find that uncomfortable, e.
g in Mister Mhu s Pussy Show it s really not my kind of thing Mostly, the stories are fun, very readable, sometimes completely fascinating in their bizarreness Chuck Wendig is an author I follow because I know he writes solidly and prolifically, and always has ideas I want to see played out.
Must get round to reading of his Miriam Black books Contained Within Are Nine Stories Featuring Bizarre Beasties, Mythological Mutants, And Overall Irregular Creatures Including Flying Cats, Mermaids, Bigfoot, Giant Chickens, And Mystic Hobo HermaphroditesHorror, Fantasy, Science Fiction And HumorThe Collection Features The Following Nine Tales DOG MAN AND CAT BIRD A FLYING CAT STORY Joe S Got Job Woes And Family Problems, And It S Made All The Complicated By A Cat Who Dies On His Porch One Night Or, So Joe Believes The Cat Is Not Only Dead, But It Appears To Be Some Kind Of Improbable Mutant A Cat With Wings The Cat Initially Complicates Joe S Life As He Hides It From His Family, But He Soon Learns That May Be At Stake Than He Realized Little Does He Know, A Battle For Good And Evil, Between Heaven And Hell, Is About To Be Fought In His GarageA RADIOACTIVE MONKEYThat Bartender You Really Like, Well, She Just Whipped Up A Potent Cocktail Called A Radioactive Monkey Would You Drink It Hint You Shouldn T Jonny Stoops, However, Decided To Take The Plunge Hint It Doesn T End Well PRODUCT PLACEMENTImagine One Morning You Wake Up And You Discover That The World Is Now Home To Products You Don T Recognize But Everyone Else Does Flix Candy Bars Jack Kenny Whiskey Burrito Hut Donnie S Never Heard Of These Brands, But Those Around Him Say Such Products Are Beloved And Have Been Here For Years Donnie S Quest To Discover The Truth And Prove He S Not Nuts Reveals A Marketing And Advertising Scheme Not Of This DimensionIS GUY Every Day, I Catch Him Before He Makes It To The China Skillet I Drag Him Into The Alleyway, And I Beat Him With A Tire Iron Sometimes, I Stab Him With A Kitchen Knife I Do This Every Day I Think It S Starting To Affect Me Every Day Is The Same For The Protagonist Get Up, Drive To Work, And On The Way There, Beat Some Zombie To Death Next Day Zombie S Back It Would Take A Toll On One S Sanity, Wouldn T It MISTER MHU S PUSSY SHOWNolan Seeks Untold Pleasures, But Never Finds Them Not Until Now, When He Becomes Swiftly Obsessed With Tasanee, A Bangkok Dancer At A Hole In The Wall Club He Is Driven To Pursue Her At Any Cost, But What He Finds At The End Of His Obsession Is Not Pleasure, But PainLETHE AND MNEMOSYNEOld Age Wreaks Havoc On The Body And Mind, And In This Flash Fiction That Has Been Never Apparent Than When A Senile Old Man S Children Exhort Him To Remember The Means By Which He Controlled The Giant Chicken Wreaking Havoc Back HomeE AUCTIONBenjamin S Father Shows His Son The Secret Behind His Job He Is A Buyer And Seller Of Very Forbidden Things, Magical Things, Objects Of A Fantastical Purview He Takes His Son To The Auction, A Place Where Anything Can Be Bought And Sold Mythological Creatures, Insane Machines, Haunted And Horrific Artifacts Benjamin Is Lead Astray By A Religious Man With Pious Words But Sinister Intent When Benjamin Encounters A Sickly Mermaid On The Auction Block, Can The Boy Step In And Avert Disaster BEWARE OF OWNERA Short Story Of How Father Teaches Son Dad Teaches The Boy That You Don T Need To Beware Of A Dog, But You Damn Well Better Beware Of Owner OVERS AND TAKE BACKSTaye And Beau Are Two Characters From Two Different Worlds The First A Boy In The City Projects, The Second A Rich Man With A Hollow Life And An Estranged Family But A Bizarre Figure Steps In As Catalyst An Inhuman Rag Man Appears And Draws Connections Between The Two Characters That Could Not Have Existed Before