10/26 at 6 p.m. - jimgermanbar, 119 Main St., Waitsburg, WA 99361 509-337-6001
11/06 at 7 p.m. - Elliott Bay Books, 1521 10th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122 206-624-6600
Shock pop! Manglish! Stingray puppets!
Friday, October 10, 2014
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
The Verdict:The best way to read Hello Devilfish! is also the best way to watch a Japanese monster movie: all in one shot. Queue it up, pop some popcorn, sit back, relax, enjoy. I don't know if Dakron intended it that way, but, at 148 pages, you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you read it any other way. Putting it down and coming back to it would be like pausing Godzilla in the middle and finishing it the next the afternoon. It just wouldn't be the same experience.
Let's not get this twisted, though. Hello Devilfish! isn't some serious-faced monster story. It's a comic romp that makes you laugh nearly as much as you shake your head and say, "What the fuck am I reading?" It's a great feeling, a change-of-pace in a literary world with not nearly enough changes of pace. It's like Monty Python acting out a Christopher Moore novel, or Christopher Moore writing a Monty Python sketch, or maybe it's not like either of those things, and it probably isn't because it's one of the more unique stories I've read in recent memory and unlike anything you'll read this year.
And that's assuming Hello Devilfish! is only about what the blurb on the book jacket says it's about. Yes, a giant stingray is eating Tokyo like its out to lunch at some trendy Ramen shop, and yes, he must evade the unwanted romantic advances of Squidra, a 100-foot long (tall?) squid, and yes, a freak accident turns that stingray into a weak, pathetic human being (which is where the story really begins to shine), but it's more than that (it always is, right?).
Hello Devilfish! is also a scathing commentary on "Big Lit" and contemporary society, veiled in Manglish and monster movie tropes and hilarious turns-of-phrase ("It's curious I even understand him—me talk Manglish, him talk Japanese. Hello Plot Flaw!"). It's quite a bit of fun if you're the absurd, open-minded type. And if you're not that type, you're the butt of the joke and the type who actually needs to read this book to understand why you're responsible for the world's current unstable state and its wholly uncertain future.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Thursday, August 28, 2014
New Library Journal 09/01/14 review of Hello Devilfish!
"Plots are for babies and geezers." If this novel by experimental writer Dakron (infra; Newt) has a mission statement, it's that quote from the titular narrator. The story follows a Godzilla-esque monstrous manta ray that rises periodically to destroy Tokyo for kicks. During his latest rampage, the ray is attacked and pursued by a love-struck lady monster squid that wants to mate with him, which is an inconvenience to his city-destroying plans. Hello Devilfish! (as the monster is called) doesn't just wreck Tokyo; he also tramples all over the fourth wall, detouring into several asides that rail against modern writing, classic literature, his own author, and the audience reading his book. To add to the disorientation, the story is told using Manglish, a language that approximates a bad Japanese-to-English translation. VERDICT For readers with a high tolerance of the unconventional, this is an audacious, laugh-out-loud novel that is brilliantly committed to its conceit. For more traditional readers, the kind despised by giant kaiju (monster) protagonists, it will be the literary equivalent of a headache. Recommended for fans of absurdist fiction authors such as Patrick Wensink and Carlton III Mellick.—Peter Petruski, Cumberland Cty. Lib. Syst., Carlisle, PA
Monday, August 25, 2014
Sunday, August 3, 2014
The anarchist as social monster, scoffing at bourgeois values, is supersized into a 90-ft. “gigantor” blue stingray in this rapid-fire stomp through pop culture and Japanese monster movies. The titular creature, actually named Hello Devilfish! and also known as the “Marquis de Cod,” sprays napalm breath along with caustic commentary on the hapless residents of Tokyo while fleeing the unwanted affections of Squidra, a 100-ft. cuttlefish aiming to usurp his turf and his love. Seeking to destroy “Big Lit,” Hello Devilfish! proclaims his anti-book manifesto. Then an industrial accident shrinks him down into mere human form. Mistaken for a member of Blue Man Group, he wanders the Tokyo nightlife, sampling fast-food sea-slug sandwiches and cosplay bars, always dodging Squidra’s grasping tentacles. Dakron (Mantids) tosses out a stream of cultural criticisms warped as puns (“You gotta fight for your Reich to party”), even as he admits there’s no point in trying to upset our all-absorbing entertainment-industrial complex (“Nazi jokes are so 20th century”). Resistance may be futile, but this book at least makes it fun. (Oct.) http://bit.ly/1siPfWW