My Bouchercon 2013 panels: Stripper Pole At The End Of The World
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."
© Peter Rozovsky 2013