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Everybody Scream! Paperback – January 1, 2005
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About the Author
Jeffrey Thomas is the author of the collections Terror Incognita (Delirium Books), AAAIIIEEE!!!, and Punktown, from which a story was reprinted in St. Martins The Years Best Fantasy and Horror #14. Other books include the novels Letters From Hades and Monstrocity, the novella Godhead Dying Downwards, and a German edition of Punktown with cover by HR Giger. Anthologies featuring his work include Sick, Of Flesh and Hunger and The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide To Eccentric and Discredited Diseases. He lives in Massachusetts
- Publisher : Raw Dog Screaming Press (January 1, 2005)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 296 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0974503193
- ISBN-13 : 978-0974503196
- Item Weight : 15.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.67 x 9 inches
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The characters, both human and alien, are all interesting to me. The casual existence of truly bizarre life-forms in this world really works for me and I love books with a good and creepy carnival set-up. Mr. Thomas does a really good job blending the mundane with the deeply unsettling. I've liked the other Punktown books but this one remains the one that affects me most and is the most fun to read.
Sophi Kahn is the head. The owner of the carnival and the thinker of the group, she always tries to maintain a cool detachment from the inevitable murders that happen at the carnival. Yet when one of her indiscretions come back to haunt her, her emotions take over...
Del Kahn, former famous singer and de facto leader of the carnival, is its heart. He thrives on emotion in the moment, preying on young girls who idolize his memory as a star. But if his unfaithfulness is driven by the gaping void in his soul, his redemption is galvanized by Sophi's jeopardy. And when roused to anger, the fist is raised...
That fist is Mitch Garnet. A forcer with a checkered past, he itches to retaliate with violence against those he deems worthy of scorn. When the gloves are off, little can hold Mitch back, not even Del. The only person who can tame Garnet is Pearl Mason...
If Garnet is the masculine portion of this carnival's corpus, Pearl Mason is its feminine voice. A former prostitute-turned-singer, she has a conjoined twin that she conceals beneath maternity clothes. She is both mother and maiden, torn between two roles. Pearl is also a canary in the coalmine, the first to react to a wrongness about the carnival that's the surest sign something is rotten in Punktown...
...as evidenced by the parasites. There are two kinds, equally loathsome: the ghoul-like snipes (yes, snipes) and the roach-like coleopteroids known as bedbugs. Both feed off the carnival's denizens in different ways, but only one group has an agenda. And the only person who perceives that agenda is...
...is Hector Tomas, the eyes of the carnival. Hector is a Theta researcher who has seen awful things in other dimensions that are enough to drive him to use drugs - so he can sleep, so he can forget, so he can function. A broken man, Hector turns to the only people who can satisfy his needs.
And that is the odious Johnny Leng, enforcer for Roland LaKarnafeaux's drug-dealing gang of bikers. Leng is the carnival's embodiment of lust, and he rapes and murders his way through the carnival with abandon. It will take a strong heart and a clenched fist to bring him down.
Everyone else in the novel is a victim or an accessory to this twisty tale of a carnival's last night. As always, Thomas' superb writing is in full effect here, detailing a myriad of alien races and cultures effortlessly. Everybody Scream is a fascinating series of character studies and a chaotic whirl of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Just like a carnival.
Overflowing with a wide variety of characters, 'Everybody Scream' still narrows most of its focus on Sophi and Del Kahn, owners and operators of Paxton's annual Carnival, a free-for-all of rides, amusement, and murders. Central to its theme are Mitch Garnet, the Carnival's security chief, Pearl Mason, a singer with a mutant body, and Hector Tomas, a Theta Researcher who has found out the truth behind the multiple dimensions.
I am a fan of strange worlds, mutated bodies, oddly imaginative aliens, and a good carnival. 'Everybody Scream' delivers on each of these twisted needs of mine, along with a lot of action on the last day of the carnival's season, plus a sizzling finale that keeps you reading right up to the last page.
Worlds collide across dimensions, drugs are bought and sold, corruption seethes underfoot, and people's daily lives float by as you immerse yourself in Thomas's Punktown world. Thomas does use his strange platform to put out some messages on political issues such as Animal Testing and Animal Rights, but the lessons are not long or tyrannical, more thought-provoking, so if you hold a different view just skip the paragraph and enjoy the book.
Thomas is a talented writer that is definitely worth the attention, so don't forget to pick up the anthologies Punktown and Punktown Third Eye, along with the upcoming Punktown Shades Of Gray. Strange worlds and strange beings, it doesn't get any better than this.
Take an extra minute to note the fantastic artwork on the cover by David A. Magitis, a very talented artist in my opinion. Enjoy!
Kind of like reading anything by China Mieville after Perdido Street Station, nothing ever quite measures up.
Anyway, this is a Punktown novel. And Punktown novels are excellent for a anyone bored with conventional, sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and a few other things. It's a day at the carnival. There is no plot line that is terribly important to all of the characters; they meet and bounce off each other, everyone trying to make the most out of what they have. Or, in some cases, just trying to get laid.
Some thought-provoking stuff in here, along with interesting, likeable characters. And a few douche bags. A novel with a bizarre but believable setting, consisting of plot created by bizarre but very real characters.
If you're a fan, read it. If you aren't, read it anyway.
Once again, not for the squeamish; but what fun would it be otherwise?