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Mr. Blog’s Tepid Book Club

12 Jul

July 12, 2012

Hey everyone. Never, in the history of Mr. Blog’s Tepid Ride, which dates back to my great-grandfather’s colonial pamphlet Zebediah Blog’s Persnickety Ride in 1786, have The Editors and Staff thrown our support behind a book. Today we make history.

Casper Kelly’s More Stories About Spaceships and Cancer is right up the alley of anyone who reads this blog. Not only does it have a similar sensibility to this blog, but it has the added benefit of being better written. Check it out on Amazon. Go ahead, that image is clickable.

Here is the book description:

Award winning TV writer Casper Kelly (Squidbillies, Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law, Stroker & Hoop, Aqua Teen) brings his hilarious, absurdist, and dark vision to the page in this debut collection, perhaps the first with a horror host guiding you between the stories. Enter the mind of one of the seven dwarfs wrestling with his fevered sexual desire for Snow White. In another story, a cash-strapped elderly man in the future is quietly pressured to “retire” by having his brain put in a vat and live out the rest of his day in a virtual reality paradise. “Sex Fantasies at Work” follows an office drone who suspects he’s always at work and his entire home life is merely implanted memories. Read what Charles Yu calls “one of the funniest books I’ve read in years,” what Jack Pendarvis likened to Donald Barthelme by way of E.C. comics, and Joe Randazzo, the editor of The Onion, calls simply “f***ing awesome.” “F***ing awesome” – Joe Randazzo, editor of The Onion
So who is this guy? Here’s his bio:

Mr. Kelly

Casper Kelly writes bizarre late-night television primarily for Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim on shows such as Squidbillies, Stroker & Hoop, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law, and others. His cartoon strip, Fried Society, appeared in alt weekly newspapers across the country and his other creative work has been featured in Wired, Entertainment Weekly, online literary magazines, and various film festivals. He won an Annie. That’s a fairly big animation award. Although it’s no Emmy or Oscar, don’t want to give you that impression. He acted in a feature film that played at Slamdance. He is very tall and when people round a corner suddenly and see him they tend to involuntarily exclaim “Gah!”. He lives in Atlanta.
I know what you guys are thinking: “Why should I listen to those knobs and tools on Amazon? All they want is to steal my credit card number and order inflatable porn things.” Well I have to admit that you are probably right but I also think you should risk it and check out this book. Here is Mr. Blog’s personal review:

Do you like stories about spaceships and cancer but wish there were more stories about spaceships and cancer? For too long the cancer and spaceship demographic has been underserved, but fortunately Casper Kelly has stepped in and filled a long neglected need.

But seriously, More Stories About Spaceships and Cancer is not for everyone. And that’s a good thing. The world needs people who read the fine print on white bread packages or breathlessly await the next sparkly teen-angsty vampire novel, despite their being over 35 years old and well-past the point where they should be breathlessly awaiting such things or-

You get the idea.

More Stories About Spaceships and Cancer is a collection of more-or-less related short stories. At first glance, sure, the conflicted duck who is in charge of a firing squad and his friend who bears more than a passing resemblance to a gorilla may seem off-putting, but stick with it. This book is not only funny, but it is insightful. While it may not give you the answers you are looking for, it is a strangely accurate (and at times poignant) look at human nature as filtered through the fantasies of a man who dreams he is the last man on Earth, a great-great-great-grandfather who has lived long past his prime, and a family under assault by killer axe-waving ATM machines, among others.

There are B-movie horror hosts to guide you (a skeleton, a werewolf, and a sort-of killer undead chick) but each of them has their own problems too. Poor Professor Badbones, for example, who loses his hosting gig less than halfway through the book. You’ll read about larger breasted ninjas, brains living in virtual reality worlds (ok, that’s the same story) a man who desperately wants to make a hat for a king, and even some characters with whom you will relate. 

The stories are all interesting and at times laugh-out-loud funny. (That’s LOL for the teens out there.) I said that this book is not for everyone and I mean that. But Casper Kelly has a nice body of work, take a second, look it up, I’ll wait, it’s in his bio, and if anything there has made you laugh- Harvey Birdman, or especially my favorite, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, then this is the book for you. Or perhaps I should say that you are it for the book, because this is a book (and author, it didn’t write itself) that demands a following. I’m ready for the sequel, Even More Stories About Spaceships and Cancer.

I do have to admit up front, right here at the end, that while I will not get a single cent from the sale of this book, I was given a free copy to review. However, the free book in no way influenced my review. If it was awful I would simply not have posted this on my blog. I really did enjoy this book and hope that this is just the first of many more free books coming my way.
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