Trashland A Go-Go by Constance Ann Fitzgerald
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
When an “accident” takes out Coco the stripper in the club where she works, the club manager and the DJ dump her body in the dumpster. This is no ordinary dumpster, but rather a doorway to the magical land of Narn…oh, wait, not quite.
Instead, Coco wakes up in Trashland, a land made entirely of rubbish. She is joined by a talking fly, Rudy, on her journey to find a way home. She meets the Oracle, who reads her fortune using a bag of discarded body parts, and then travels to the palace to meet the Queen, who seems to be a walking mold who gives off spores to dominate her subjects. Confused yet? Don’t be. Believe it or not, this is surprisingly normal compared to some of the bizarro fiction out there.
Trashland A Go-Go is part of the 2011 line of the New Bizarro Authors Series, meaning that this is Constance Ann Fitzgerald’s first published novel. And it’s a very respectable effort for a first time genre novelist. In fact, it’s quite good. There are just a couple of things that need to be nitpicked.
First, I felt like I was missing a large chunk of the story. Literally, it felt like this started out as a larger story and got cut down, but that some of the sections cut may have been significant to the story. In fact, this makes it feel skeletal with chunks of meat hanging from the bones, rather than a complete, fully-formed story.
This ties into the second problem, which is that some of the secondary characters seem superfluous. They really don’t serve much of a purpose. The case that stood out to me was how the club’s DJ also ends up in Trashland. But this doesn’t seem to serve a purpose other than to show that Trashland is real and not some kind of weird afterlife for Coco. But then the DJ serves no other purpose other than as cannon fodder later on. A common complaint I tend to have with bizarro books is that they feel like there should be more, but in the case of “Trashland A Go-Go,” this is a glaring problem and I wish the book were longer and more fleshed out.
However, the prose is very smooth, and the editing is actually quite sublime. This book does not suffer from another common complaint, which is that it needs more editing or careful prose. Fitzgerald is quite good and clearly practiced at writing, and this book definitely peaked my curiosity. I hope she continues to write and publish, because I am genuinely curious about what she will be capable of, especially if she gets the chance and chooses to write a longer story. I really want to give this novella a higher score because, don’t get me wrong, the writing is very, very good (and I don’t give that kind of praise lightly), but the chopped up story and superfluous characters were just too big of a problem for me and left too many questions.
Trashland A Go-Go by Constance Ann Fitzgerald earns 3.5 mold spores out of 5.