Sunday, August 18, 2013

My Bouchercon 2013 panels: Stripper Pole At The End Of The World

Pick up a book called Stripper Pole At The End Of The World, and you expect something over the top, especially since the book is part of an imprint called Schlock Zone Drive-In, which has to be one of the better names in publishing.

Author Eric Beetner offers a mix between Mad Max and Gilligan's Island, a stripper on crutches, her wounded colleagues, bartenders, and bikers banding together to fight off cannibals in a post-apocalyptic landscape. An introductory note tells us, however, that
"The time is a not-too-distant future. It’s after The Collapse, but don’t call it an apocalypse. The trouble is man-made: financial ruin, panic and mass hysteria...."
That's social breakdown with a bit of brain behind it. But Beetner's novella works because he has the good sense to write about outlandish situations with relatively understated prose and the writing chops to poke the gentlest of affectionate fun at a genre he loves without going way over the top into tiresome luridness. And he does it all without becoming annoyingly arch or self-conscious. His characters, in other words, say and do outrageous things without appearing to know they are doing so. Two of my favorite bits:
"At first, all I could think was, for God’s sake it’s only been two years, how did we come to this so goddamn fast? Eating each other? I mean, what the fuck? But I didn’t have time to contemplate society’s downfall there in the aisle of a mini mart."
and
"I turned to see the two cannibals, a man and a woman who weren’t on fire, dragging away the woman with the burning hair. As they dragged her, the man was already taking bites of her arm. Normally they ate raw, but I wondered if he enjoyed a little barbeque."
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Eric Beetner will be part of my "Goodnight, My Angel: Hard-Boiled, Noir, and the Reader's Love Affair With Both" panel at Bouchercon 2013 in Albany on Friday, Sept. 20, at 10:20 a.m.

© Peter Rozovsky 2013

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13 Comments:

Blogger seana graham said...

You guys are going to have one lively discussion.

I don't know Eric Beetner all that directly, but I believe he won the short story contest that ended up resulting in Grimm Tales, an ebook I have a story in. He seems to have a very active imagination...

August 18, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

An active imagination, and a youth spent watching schlocky movies, about which he writes in an afterword to Stripper Pole at the End of the World. You may have mentioned your Beetner connection when I posted sometime back about two of his other books.

It probably takes a good deal of imagination to translatie blood- and action-spattered movie-type action into something coherent and readable on the page. Skill, too. I may ask about this on the panel.

August 18, 2013  
Blogger seana graham said...

Everything is material, as they say.

August 18, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'm sure the question of movies vs. books on Beetner's (and other "new pulp" authors') work will come up.

August 18, 2013  
Blogger Kelly Robinson said...

I dig post-apocalyptic stuff, but this might be too wacky for me. I also like schlocky movies way more than schlocky fiction. I'm not sure why -- I want more depth from fiction, maybe. I'm similar about zombies. I love a good zombie flick, but I've never had even the remotest desire to read a zombie novel.

August 19, 2013  
Blogger seana graham said...

Kelly, I'm not much of a zombie aficianado either, but I did happen to read S.G. Brown's Breathers, and really liked his "Plight of the Zombie" perspective. It didn't hurt that it was set in Santa Cruz, where I happen to live, either.

August 19, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kelly, you ought to give this a try. Beetner brings an intelligence to the book that elevates it above a mere whackfest.

Besides, it's a novella, so it's short, cheap, and fun.

August 19, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I know nothing of zombies, but Jonathan Maberry, one of the leading writers about the subject, is right here in Pennsylvania and a former guest at the original Noir at the Bar.

August 19, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kelly: I should add that Beetner's afterword goes into some detail about the horror movies he loved and loves. If nothing else, you might enjoy Stripper Pole ... as an experiment in transferring a horror-movie sensibility to the page.

August 19, 2013  
Blogger Kelly Robinson said...

Okay, you convinced me to take a second look. I read some of the author's blog, and he seems pretty nifty.

August 19, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'd read two of his books before this. He has a lively sense of fun, that's for sure. He manages not to take himself too seriously without, however, going completely overboard into gore or camp or laughs.

August 19, 2013  
Blogger Kelly Robinson said...

Update: When I dropped by the author's blog, he was having a giveaway. I won a copy, which arrived yesterday, so I'll definitely be giving this a look. (You can't beat free!)

September 08, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Congratulations. I'll be interested to see that you think, Feel free to comment here (or put up a post at your own place, of course).

September 08, 2013  

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