Known for his novel It Came from Below the Belt (Afterbirth Books, 2006) and his publication Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens, Bizarro author Bradley Sands is now offering My Heart Said No, but the Camera Crew Said Yes! (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2010), a collection that is wholeheartedly rooted in Sands’s chosen aesthetic. Then again, perhaps Sands’s aesthetic chose him. In either case, cast aside predictability, because these stories are anything but commonplace.
The good: Throughout, Sands displays an adept knack for twisting familiar words and phrases into new forms, altering their meaning while poking fun at the overused, the clichéd. In example, from page 52:
The plant tears off its disguise, roars, and gives Crispin a 30 Seconal head start...and asks Crispin why he’s not fleeing from its terrifying presence. Crispin explains that his cooperation in a chase sequence isn’t free. It costs $3.95 for the first minute and $1.25 for each additional minute.
Often, he’ll deliver a ludicrous, hilarious development out of the blue: “Since birth, an eerie mariachi band had followed Lemony Fresh around, hellbent on providing atmospheric music to accompany his rollicking adventures” (72). And there’s something to be said, again, about how unpredictable these stories are. There’s something new around every turn, and the unknown is part of the fun.
The bad: Because so much changes from start to finish, in most of these stories, the tension suffers. It’s also difficult to keep in mind what the protagonist is trying to achieve due to such rampant transformation—especially in longer stories like “Terror in the Haunted House” and “The Anals of Piracy,” both of which overstay their welcome. In fact, a few of the shorter shorts—“The Two-Toed Sapsucker (from The Encyclopedia Orangutannicas),” “Jonathan Seabreeze Upward,” and the satirical “Jared Bruckheiny”—upstage their lengthier peers.
The ugly: the two guys on the cover.
Certainly My Heart Said No, but the Camera Crew Said Yes! is for a select audience, but if you’re searching for an unusual book that continually surprises and entertains, you’ve found it. Just don’t expect nail biting plots and loveable characters.
Official Bradley Sands Web Site
Official Raw Dog Screaming Press Web Site