“I secretly love Adolf Hitler,” writes Bradley Sands. “I secretly love Adolf Hitler and I don’t care what you think. If I had to choose one person to pump Zyklon B gas through my elegant dual shower head, it would be Adolf Hitler. I would clutch my throat knowing that Adolf Hitler loved me, knowing that he cared.” An animatronic Chuck Woolery, an alligator astronaut, an assortment of AK-47s, Eggs Benedict at a diner with a dinosaur, idolization of Hitler—these are a few of the things this book freewheels its way through, rattling off a shout-out to William S. Burroughs along the way, and introducing, in one story, a Tao Lin-like character called, in a Tao Lin-like style, “Tao Lin.” Something of Lin’s flat tone comes through, too, only without the perky notes, the humor. The humor of Sorry I Ruined Your Orgy is like that in the Hitler quote above, or in the following suicide scene:
The suicidal amputee’s right leg pushes the Z button to make him think about the cheapness of Baron Rothschild Vodka. The suicidal amputee’s left leg presses right on the control pad to roll him through the screen door. The suicidal amputee’s right leg pushes the B button to make him think about the time he shot a gook in the face. The suicidal amputee’s left leg presses left and then down on the control pad to roll him into traffic.
While the prose captures something of the frustration or obsession or lunacy or idiocy of the narrative voices (parodying the phenomenon of bestsellers, game shows, or searching for lost remote controls, journeying up noses, etc.) there is a gaping absence throughout, a lack of anything more than the sort of froth and gimmickry contained in a line like “If I had to choose one person to pump Zyklon B gas through my elegant dual shower head, it would be Adolf Hitler.” If you think such a line is funny, or clever, perhaps this book will amuse. If you find it perhaps cheap, silly in a strained strategically shocking way, morally vacuous, devoid of the pleasures of sound or rhythm or idea or imagery, or, maybe worst of all, if it sounds to you merely like a belated attempt to mimic other, more successful and innovative voices from a few years back, then Sorry I Ruined Your Orgy will disappoint. “The giraffe does not even know Tudor England exists,” Sands writes, in another representative sample of this book:
How should he know? He has never seen Showtime’s original series, The Tudors. He does not know what Tudor England looks like. When the giraffe looks at Tudor England, all he sees is a junkyard. Having never seen The Tudors, the small, ceramic giraffe walks to the shop as loneliness and insignificance drips down his small neck.
If this evokes some pang of loneliness and resonates as some larger statement on our world and the human condition, then, dear reader, good on you. If it drips like so much insignificance and tatty assemblage writing, then, dear reader, move on.