Tag Archives: carlton mellick III

Book Review: The Haunted Vagina

The Haunted VaginaThe Haunted Vagina by Carlton Mellick III

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Cue music from “The Exorcist.”

Okay, I’ll give you a moment to clean your screen off after you just read the title and spit out what you were drinking.

So, what is The Haunted Vagina by Carlton Mellick III about? Really, you’re going to ask that? Okay. Imagine if your girlfriend’s vagina was the portal to another world with strange creatures inhabiting it. That’s the situation that Steve finds himself in. And…that’s pretty much it.

The really odd thing about this is that the simple concept actually works. Through Steve’s exploring this strange new world, it gives Mellick a chance to perform an almost straight-up world-building exercise. It’s a strangely interesting world with a mysterious history.

Steve himself goes through an interesting if very quick character evolution. The character is believable, switching between a coward and pretending to be brave because his girlfriend tells him to do something he really doesn’t want to do (who hasn’t been in that situation?). At the same time, the character evolution seems a little too quick and convenient. While it fits with the story, it also feels like the story itself could have been changed a little to slow down the character development.

One thing, which should be obvious, is that this book will not be for people who are squeamish around sexual situations. At least I really, really hope that’s obvious. Mellick doesn’t shy away from being fairly descriptive in these scenes, nor does he mince words. But, then again, if you’re going to pick this book up, you’re already expecting this, so I’m not sure why I’m even mentioning it.

The prose and editing are clean, which is a huge plus. Again, it’s a pet peeve of mine, so I’m glad this one was a smooth read, and I could stay in the book very easily without my inner editor distracting me.

While The Haunted Vagina is actually a decent book (quality-wise), and Mellick seems to have put a disturbing amount of thought into how a miniature world inside a woman’s womb would actually work. While the story is short and works in its own way, sometimes things feel a little convenient for pushing the plot along towards its conclusion a little too quickly. It ultimately feels more like an exercise in building an interesting world, but sacrifices a more involved story in the process.

The Haunted Vagina earns 3.5 tubes of lube out of 5.

Book Review: Fantastic Orgy

Fantastic Orgy Fantastic Orgy by Carlton Mellick III
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

What if sexually transmitted diseases suddenly mutated to give people extreme body modifications that are essentially super powers? This is the premise of Fantastic Orgy, the titular story (huh huh, I said “titular”) in this short short story collection by Carlton Mellick III.

Among these stories are a buff guy with a lollipop for a head trying to pick up women, a bunch of weird looking cats in a world plagued by agoraphobia, punk band roommates in a city overrun with hobgoblins (more on this later), and a group of porn actors who are lost at sea and have no memory of how they got there or how long they’ve actually been there. Each one of these stories brings something interesting to the table, and each one is immensely enjoyable.

If I had to fault one of these stories, it would have to be “City Hobgoblins,” mostly because it just didn’t click for me, although there is probably a good explanation for this. At the end of the book, Mellick has been kind enough to provide an author’s note for each story, explaining the origin and other background information for each one. These are actually really interesting to read, and a good look inside the author’s head. Apparently, “City Hobgoblins” is actually a prequel/origin story to another one of his books, Punk Land, which I haven’t read yet, and didn’t know this while reading it. A failure of the author to disclose this beforehand, or a failure of the reader to know this, I’m not sure. It probably could have been easily fixed by having the author’s note for each story in front of the story, which I’ve seen done in other collections.

Aside from this frustration born of my own ignorance, most of these stories will make you laugh and make you cringe, sometimes at the same time. Keep in mind that these stories are not for the faint of heart, though. There is explicit sex and violence throughout a few of these stories. Well, if the name and cover of the book isn’t a dead giveaway about that one, then you’re probably not much of a reader anyway. Although, admittedly it’s not as over the top as some other Bizarro books I’ve read.

Fantastic Orgy by Carlton Mellick III earns 4.5 bench-pressing muscle cats out of 5.

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Book Review: The Cannibals of Candyland

The Cannibals of Candyland
The Cannibals of Candyland by Carlton Mellick III
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Being a clown made of candy is about to take on a whole new meaning.

Franklin is a man with an obsession. He watched his siblings die at the hand of a woman made of candy when he was very young. Since then, he has been obsessed with finding these candy people and proving to the world that they exist. He should have been careful what he wished for.

The Cannibals of Candyland by Carlton Mellick III is a dark fantasy that’s bittersweet. After reading a couple of other books by Mellick, I had a pretty good idea what I was in for. At the same time, it turned out to be a much darker story than the other books I’ve read. Dark, but full of candy.

I have to admit that the author has put a lot of thought into how different type of candy could form people, structures, landscapes, etc. Maybe a little too much thought to be healthy, not to mention risking Type II Diabetes. In short, I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to think about having sex with a marshmallow the same way again.

As always, Mellick’s prose is pristine and has a very easy and readable flow to it. But there are a couple of flaws with this book, mostly stylistic in nature. First of all, the characters aren’t particularly likable, especially Jujy. I’m not sure if we’re actually supposed to like her at any point, but she just quite evil the whole way through. Misguided, yes, but still evil. Franklin himself is really rather pathetic and tends to be extremely passive, having more things happen to him than things that he makes happen. It becomes extremely frustrating for a protagonist to be so pathetic, and it becomes very wearing. And there’s not much character development. There are physical changes, yes, but not real personal development, other than going in a full circle. Also, the book is a lot darker than I was really prepared for.

Unfortunately, these flaws are enough to lower my score a bit. I still enjoy Carlton Mellick’s work and I plan to continue reading the rest of his repertoire, but The Cannibals of Candyland simply didn’t satisfy my Bizarro sweet tooth, especially when compared to his other work.

The Cannibals of Candyland by Carlton Mellick III earns 3 red licorice whips out of 5.

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