Sunday, August 13, 2017

Groundhog Day in Hell

Violence Dave: Heartless

July 10, 2017

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Norman Mailer meets Williams S Burroughs in the comic book series The 'Nam mixed in with a Philip K. Dick version of Dante's Inferno via H. P. Lovecraft.

Violence Dave: Heartless is 86 pages of gruesome, gut wrenching. non-stop action. It is a bizarro version of those men's combat magazines with a liberal dose of Heinlein's Starship Troopers in Hell. That's the Heinlein novel he never wrote but I wished he did. The premise of Konstantine Paradias' hyper-fiction evolves around Dave, a soldier who is dropped over and over into a war between Earth and Hell fought at the gateway between the two worlds, Dave fights dog-soldiers, demons and loads of other disgusting creatures and it never seems to end. But Dave is determined that this will be the last time he lives through this torment. The basic technicality of this Groundhog Day styled combat is minimally explained between the action but it is not the heart of the book. It comes down to Dave's determination to finally win and end the war respite its hopelessness. That is pretty much the entire gist of this short novella.

Despite its simple plot, It is a nice example of "getting there is half the fun". There is nothing simple about the writing skills the author brings to print. He has excellent writing chops especially when describing the horrors that Dave confront. He writes dialogue between Dave and his combat buddies that is tense and snappy. The macho fiction style is all there with a super-high dosage of Lovecraftian monster terror. For 86 pages , you root for Dave and that is pretty much the reason for this work of fiction.

Does it work? It works very well. Did it work for me? Well, that is where I have to be honest. War fiction is not my forte unless it is anti-war fiction. I am a great admirer of All Quiet on the Western Front for instance. Needless to say, this is nothing like it. This is high anxiety pulp fiction via a bizarro The Naked and the Dead. I wanted more explanation of Dave's dilemma. More background. Instead it was wall to wall action and slaughter...but very well written wall to wall action and slaughter. Sometimes you got to rate something for what it is and what it is supposed to do. Violence Dave: Heartless does what the author means it to do. If one is really into pulp styled war fiction by way of horror and science fiction then this just may be Nirvana. if that is the case,for you then this is a must read. For those who are not into that, it is still an impressive and visceral read.

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