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Under Review: Gods With A Little G
Tupelo Hassman leads us deliberately and adeptly into the underbelly of small town life in her latest novel Gods with a little g; the characters who populate this subterranean small town existence are a motley crew known collectively as the Dickheads.
Theirs is a world which many of us can recall in the recent corridors of memory yet would care very little to return to. This novel relentlessly captures the rhythms, rhymes and reasons of its characters state of mind; and, although subtle, it maintains a psychological edge which is rather Dostoevskian in its power of perception. We share in the stifling atmosphere of this world, as Ms. Hassman pulls us back into the mire of this world time and again, without us realizing until long after. The intrusive familiarity of life in the midst of such an acutely claustrophobic plane of existence as this is not merely observed by the reader but lived.
The whole of Gods with a little g is rich with the textures of both rot and ritual. Helen Dedleder, a seventeen year old is our guide in the town of Rosary, California. As is the case with many small towns across the continental United States, it is a town besieged by a collective puritanism which is little more than used by it’s citizenry to mask the collective perversion teeming just beneath the surface and occasionally bubbling to the top.
It is the opinion of this reviewer that what Ms. Hassman has succeeded in creating is nothing short of a masterpiece of 21st century literature; an instant classic.
In using such language to describe this, or any work of art for that matter, there is a temptation to compare it to other works which concern themselves the final push from adolescence to adulthood (many of which, themselves are categorized as classics) yet to do so would undermine and even cheapen the force of this books individuality.
Overflowing with originality, poignancy and profundity Gods with a little g is more than a novel, it is a transformative experience for both its audience and author. If you read only one book this year make it Gods with a little g.
-Steven Lee Matz
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Gods With A Little G
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Steven Lee Matz
Zylo was drenched in the misty rain, his red clothing was dripping on the asphalt of the lower alleys near Galak Memorial. Everything around him was a blur of green and pulsating red lights, with sprinkles of blue and purple here and there. Few knew these old streets better than he, especially since these streets predated the blocks and grids of the higher, more modern, cityscape. If only so many cities and sky-scapes had places like this, with the old and the new mixed in from Grid-455 to Grid 522 of City-star, all the way up to the center of the Solar construct Valhalla of Prime-star. Alas it was not so, like he would have wanted.
The girl showed herself once again, maybe for the last time, maybe not, hard to say. While she seemed kind and sweet, her presence was more intrusive than it was welcoming.
"Well, I can't really help that. You're just going to have to get used to me, whether you like it or not." She had a point there, no one else could see her but him. A glitch in his eye, perhaps? He put his index finger to the left side of the head, hoping to adjust his implant so it wouldn't show him this seemingly invisible to all but him guardian angel.
"Don't you remember? You need to use a screw-tool to get that open. And even then, it wouldn't work anyway, I’m gonna be keeping you company for the whole ride." She was really starting to agitate him. If this was some bizarre glitch, then maybe he could find a doctor and have him fix this little issue. Of course, that wouldn't be very cheap, and well, nobody would employ someone whose had sixty-five percent of their body mechanized and augmented. The price of being a Vanguard, unfortunately.
Just then, he felt someone bump into him. He looked to his right shoulder to a some-what built man, with what looked like cybernetic wiring in his biceps. His breath smelled like Lighter Liquor, Freezed Gel, and a hint of VERY old whisky. A rather rare kind of drink is whisky anymore, most places don't even have any in stock, let alone sell any for reasonable prices. And that Lighter Liquor smell, well that alone always had an unpleasant aroma to it just out of the bottle. You couldn't get arrested for having a bottle of whisky in your home, after all, it was known to be something of a collector's item if you were into that kind of thing. He personally though, never really had much of an interest in such things. Now the Lighter Liquor and Freezed Gel on the other hand, was oh so quite illegal no matter where you lived on the construct. At best, you could get a fine of eight hundred thousand *credits for so much as having a little flask full of that stuff on your person. And at worst, you could get life in one of the many prison blocks on Cage-star, or even death if you're carrying enough of either substance. In this guy's case, he'd probably be charged decisively, and very swiftly for his transgression.
The tall man with the breath of a dying animal, and improper wiring in his arms, looked down at Zylo as if he was some kind of immovable titan out of an old story book.
"Hey-huh, pip-squeak...you're in th-huh...way." This idiot could barely stand. Burping and having hiccups over his words, slurring and just breathing the way he was, right in Zylo's face. He wasn't amused, not even a little bit. He's already on a mission for his fallen comrades, and people like this jerk don't know what he had to go through all those years ago.
That was already enough for this stupid crap, he raised his hand with five of his fingers out.
"Heyy...whatcha doin' there you little shrimp?" His thumb went down, now only four fingers were up.
"What...ya think you're bein' funny, ya little shrimp?" His pinky went down, now only three fingers were up.
"Uh, maybe we should just go, don't you think?" She said with concern in her voice, his ring finger went down.
"Look, he's not worth our trouble. He can hardly stand-up, he doesn’t know what he's doing." His index finger went down, the tall man's eyes had widened as though he just found out the bar was closing early.
"Oh I’m gonna crush ya, y...huh...ya little punk-a…" His words were cut-off as Zylo lowered his middle-finger enough for it to still be up near his knuckle, as he thrust his nearly clenched fist into the man's skull. His middle-finger having clashed with flesh and bone, and the flesh and bone of the man’s skull clashing with what felt briefly like metal and steel crashing into him. The man slumped over in front of him before Zylo grabbed his limp body and threw him into the window of a nearby club. The sound of glass shattering and women screaming as the man's bloodied skull was the first thing everyone saw in there.
He walked to the door and swung it open, most of the patron's not paying much attention to what had just happened. They had to be pretty damn used to seeing this kind of violence if they were just sipping their drinks and eating whatever crummy food this rat infested hellhole had to offer. A couple of guys were playing what looked like a card game, with actual dollar bills piled-up to the side of their table. That was another old sight to see, tonight was getting pretty nostalgic for him.
He walked up to the bar at the other end of the club, the bartender not shaken-up at all from the sight of Zylo's bloody hand. Another one who was used to having these kinds of disturbances in his club, this most likely wouldn't be the last time for something like this to happen here, most assuredly.
"What can i get for ya, bud?" He was to-the-point and blunt, he wasn't terrified at all of his new violent customer. A rare quality amongst those who aren't modified, or even straight-up synthetic. Refreshing, if a bit annoying as well.
He grabbed a napkin and wrote down his order, and slid it to the bar-keep, along with the amount of credits needed for the order. The bar-keep's eyes glossed over the order, and his hands swiftly made the order as if he had lightning in his veins. Before you could blink, the order was ready to go. Quite impressive for a human.
"There ya go, if ya need a refill the station's right over by the door to the stair-case. If you're plannin' to head up to the balcony, remember that i get a few noisy punks up there. So, watch yourself." He's more concerned about a few delinquents than he was about a modified killer? What a world to live in.
Zylo sipped from his mug, the bitter taste of Yellow-6 was completely lost to him. He sometimes misses being able to taste things, but then again, he really wouldn't be able to stomach this crap if he could.
The men playing the card game motioned for Zylo to join them, with that pile of dollar bills getting bigger and bigger. Why not? He might as well indulge in some fun before he must get back to work.
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A great specter is looming over the art world: the specter of Inter|Sekt. For far too long we have watched the artists of our generation turned into a disposable commodity, bought and sold by the galleries, stifled in their expression by the tastes of the art consultants who purchase pieces on behalf of financially minded clients who want a "solid investment".
They have been amalgamated into schools, said schools are a device of gallerists and art historians to divide and conquer the creatives and free thinkers.
For we live in a nation which thinks itself to be free yet is not, they expect the same of their artists.
Our culture has been raped and plundered by the upper echelon, picked apart and sold by the same greed mongers who claim to be it's patrons. The tool which has most effectively stunted the growth of modern American art in particular is the clever indoctrination of this idea of schools to not only the art student but anyone whom even reads a brief survey of the history of art sees that it is broken up into these categorized schools; the philosophies of these various sects creates conflict, division, and ultimately destruction of the morale and submission to the established order. Thus rendering the creative spirit confused and useless.
This helps curb the rebellious spirit of the average citizen outside of the art world in other spheres of society.
Art history is a lie and galleries are dens of thieves!
Inter|Sekt is not destroying the schools or the galleries, we are simply showing you they were never real, at least not in a world outside of that constructed by academics to sell text books to art students.
The reign of the gallerists and art consultants is over when you want it to be.
From the ashes of the indoctrinated schools of every form of art shall arise The New World Creative.
-Steven Lee Matz-
The inter|sekt manifesto