Friday, September 9, 2016

WTF Friday: Sixty-Five Stirrup Iron Road

Well, another WTF Friday is upon us, which means we once again turn the Ruins over to my dark half. As regular visitors will know, Foster Medina has a passion for messed up literary diversions - books that are bizarre, twisted, grotesque, and kinky - and he's only too happy to splatter them across the page.

In 2013, nine of the biggest names in extreme horror collaborated on an experimental novel, passing the literary baton at the end of each chapter, and writing without a plan or an outline. It was a bold, bizarre sort of way to write, but it was all done in good fun. More importantly, it was for a good cause, supporting Tom Piccirilli's battle with cancer.

As an exercise in extreme horror, Sixty-Five Stirrup Iron Road is one of the sickest, vilest, most deliberately disgusting stories I have ever read. It's brutally clear that these guys set out to outdo one another with each chapter, digging ever deeper into the gutter, and establishing new boundaries for bad taste. We're talking the fetishization of vomit, urination, and defecation; the sexualization of mutilation, torture, and murder; and the pornographic abuse of animals. It's hard stuff to stomach, but it's never presented as being erotic - even the characters know how disgusting and obscene it all is.

As an exercise in storytelling, this is one of the weirdest, craziest, most deliberately uneven stories I have ever read. Characters come and go for no reason, and their personalities change drastically from one chapter to the next. Each author duo clearly had their own agenda, and you can feel them dragging the story in their own direction, with no planned conclusion to keep them in line. What sort of mitigates the narrative damage is how ridiculously meta it all gets in the final chapters, where the authors themselves are dropped into the story to break the fourth wall, question each other's writing, and tell the fictional characters they're imaginary. It's absolutely surreal, but also entirely amusing, especially once the authors start killing each other off.

Like driving past a carnage-strewn train wreck, it's a perverse sense of curiosity that keeps you staring past the bodies and into the haunted attic of Sixty-Five Stirrup Iron Road. You know it's only going to get worse, and eventually you become numb to the grotesque, but you just have to know how it all ends. Of course, it doesn't end, not really, but it does mercifully come to a stop.


Kindle Edition, 167 pages
Published December 5th 2013 by Deadite Press

3 comments:

  1. Glad this was for a good cause, but it's the type of book I would avoid at all costs.

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    1. Yeah, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I did very nearly DNF it a few times.

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  2. Wow. Thank you for taking this bullet to spare the rest of us.:D

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