Sunday, November 20, 2016

Punk Rock Fiction

Hybrid Moments: A Literary Tribute to The Misfits

Edited by Sam Richard and M. P. Johnson


Publisher: Weirdpunk Books

Pub Date: September 16, 2016

Rating: 3 & 1/2 out of 5 stars

Despite my older age, I have developed a fondness for punk rock and I have a pretty good knowledge of the bands from The Sex Pistols to Rancid. The Misfits is a band I have heard of but never really listened to. With a little research, I discovered they were one of the first and foremost bands to play horror punk, a music sub-genre that borrows deeply from horror books and movies for their inspiration. So it seems fitting that M. P. Johnson and Sam Richard would edit a collection titled Hybrid Moments: A Literary Tribute to the Misfits.. Johnson wrote a nice but brief introduction that explains the band's appeal and their connection to the horror genre. It puts the reader into the mood for the 15 stories to follow. Before reading this, I did a crash course in Misfits tracks and, even from that brief binge, I can attest that these writers captured the mood of the music quite well.

What I don't know is if the collected fiction is actually based on the songs or themes but the rapidly paced and rude mood is certainly there. Matthew Vaughn's "Eliminate the Entire Human Race" starts out the madness with a zombie tale told from the zombie's view. "Slice-and-Grab" by Mark Zirbel is a no nonsense grunge piece where body organ stealing is a popular obsession. Almost all the stories in this collection are fast and dirty with large doses of gore and attitude. The one slightly more mellow surprise was David Agranoff's "She is on the Run" which seemed more suited for a baby boomer like me. But even then there is a evil twist to it.

All of the short fiction fits the bill. Yet they do so to the point that they have a sameness. I do not think that is necessarily a weakness considering this is a tribute to a band with a distinct hardcore style. While all the authors have clear gifts in writing and narrative, I think a better knowledge of the band and the music than I have might help to bring it all together for the reader. Nonetheless, there is some real talent here, enough to get me to check the author bios at the end to see what else they have written. By all means, if you are a horror punk aficionado , get this. If not, you still might like it.

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