Gerbil Probe: The Media Empire of Michael Allen Rose

(The following is a transcript from the fourth Party Wolf Book Club meetup at the home of Michael Allen Rose in Chicago, IL - Saturday February 25th.)

Michael: Welcome back, everyone. It took a couple of weeks, but I got new recording equipment for these book club transcripts. Please be more careful this week, okay? I don't want a repeat of what happened when we discussed Gigantic Death Worm.

Smitty: I'll show you my gigantic death worm...

Michael: This is not an encouraging start. We have a real wild one on the docket today. We're discussing Justin Grimbol's book The Crud Masters! Smitty. Smitty, what are you doing?

Smitty: I'm Porky Pigging it.

Michael: You're disgusting. Put that thing away.

Smitty: No way! I feel so free! I learned it from reading The Crud Masters. This Grimbol guy totally knows what's up. And can we get a sexbot? I want a sexbot.

Sophie: You are a sexbot, Smitty. You ejaculate on everything.

Cooter: You're the reason we can't have nice things.

Rex: I like the Crud Masters. They're cool. They have a sense of style that I totally identify with.

Michael: The author mentions in his promotional materials that there's a lot of the classic book The Outsiders percolating around in here.

Cooter: I dug the way Grimbol wrote those guys. They stick together, they're tough but affectionate with each other, and they know how to enhance their lives with sex, violence and alcohol. I think we'd get along with the Crud Masters pretty well.

Rex: Not those NOLA assholes though.

Sophie: The NOLA gang is painted with such spite, but it comes from such a real place. I think anyone can identify with hating the asshole rich kids. Unless you were an asshole rich kid yourself. Readers want to root for the underdog. Grimbol definitely knows how to craft a classic tale of us versus them. He's taken that old template and escalated it, injected lots of shocking and titillating moments, and rolled it all up with monsters and robots.

Rex: Yeah, the monsters! How about the big battles? Kick ass, huh? Flying fists and mutilated eye sockets! Monster wrestling! Giant body slams into the sea!

Smitty: The transformers were cool too.

Rex: Not as cool as giant lobster monsters and acid-spitting snakes!

Smitty: I'll show you my acid-spitting--

Rex: You finish that sentence, I'll rip your arms off.

Sophie: The action scenes are definitely a lot of fun, and really get to the core of the book. At its heart, it's a book about a gang of misfits who stick together because they know nobody else will stick up for them. The rumble really gets that across, and I love how Grimbol isn't afraid to scare his readers into thinking these lovable weirdos aren't going to make it.

Cooter: They're all pretty messed up, but you really root for them. There's some real emotional stuff underneath names like Boogers and Snuggles. You start to feel for these dudes and hope they come out okay in the end! I even liked Pussy Bear, and she's kind of scary.

Smitty: Kind of sexy, you mean! Pussy Bear! Finally, we're talking about the stuff that really matters! A bear with gigantic awesome titties! Hey, Michael, you think I could get a date with Pussy Bear? Do you think she likes party wolves? I'll show her my huge--

Michael: I'll have to ask Justin. Please, please put that thing away.

Smitty: Check it out, I can make it helicopter!

Sophie: There's definitely a lot of sex in this book. I understand why Smitty has been taking it to bed.

Cooter: I wouldn't touch his copy if I were you.

Herb "The Herb": Sticky. (Takes a huge bong hit)

Sophie: Justin's obviously a sick man, and I mean that as a compliment. Readers who love weird smut will find so much to love here, it's ridiculous. Three-ways, incest, inter-species love, the works. The sex scenes work well though, and I love that certain peculiarities that seem like gross-out jokes at first become important mechanics in the story. Like Bovy's horrible smell. When it becomes a key to the Crud Masters' salvation, it really shows that Grimbol's thought about all these things and wants to make them matter to his readers. Thematically, he keeps it simple and tight.

Michael: Partly because of that, the plot is tight too.

Cooter: Yeah, the author really keeps it focused on the big fight, man. It's like, that impending rumble hangs over the whole novella like a fog. I can almost see the fog still.

Michael: That's just Herb.

Herb "The Herb": Party. (Blows a huge ring of smoke)

Michael: Final thoughts?

Cooter: This is a fun book with a lot of heart. The Crud Masters are sweet and remind me of being a pup, wrestling around with Rex and getting into trouble. It's an adolescent fantasy only with more sex and violence and crazy shit.

Smitty: I wanna meet Pussy Bear! That Bovy chick might be all right too. She's willing to get spit-roasted by a cyborg and a kid named Boogers. She's okay in my book. Ooh, and that chick with the six arms who's jerking off all the sexbots? Dude, awesome!

Rex: Giant monster fights rock. Oh, and I liked the Bart. He sets things on fire and punches people. Like, for no reason other than an intense inner anger.

(Rex punches Smitty, who goes flying off the couch and into the bathroom. There is a brief moment of silence as we listen for signs of life.)

Rex: I get him. That's all I'm saying.

Sophie: Maybe I should check and see--

Smitty: I'm okay! I landed on my balls! I think I'll stay in here for awhile. You have some good magazines.

Michael: Jesus... Sophie?

Sophie: Justin Grimbol has found a way to hit S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders with a serious dose of surreal, satirical smut. Really, at it's heart, it's a love story. Sexual, brotherly and love for yourself, accepting who you are.

Herb "The Herb": Smutty, funny, party. Yeah. (Herb begins passing a joint around)

Michael: Okay, well... I never thought I'd say this, but thanks to Herb for being a calming influence on the proceedings. And thanks to Justin Grimbol for writing such a fun, perverted, wild take on young adult coming-of-age novels! We had a good time with The Crud Masters! Stay tuned for more bizarro fiction weirdness from the Party Wolves Book Club! We love you!

(The Party Wolves Book Club meets once a week or so to discuss books in Eraserhead Press New Bizarro Author Series. The Party Wolves are featured in the book Party Wolves in My Skull by Michael Allen Rose)

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