Ordering III Publishing books
Reviewed by Cassandra West
Chicago Tribune, Sunday, August 9, 1998
On the surface, college towns might seem like tight-knit, self-sufficient little universes where scholarly types spend all their time poring over dusty old texts rescued from ancient civilizations. If you believe that, you've been in the stacks too long. On the other hand, a reading of Tim W. Brown's "Deconstruction Acres" leads you to think that behind the wrought-iron gates and underneath the ivy lies a messy, corrupt world populated by sex-obsessed characters who are so morally bankrupt they make the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah look like good Samaritans. Funny and purposely outrageous, "Deconstruction Acres," is a modern-day parable that centers on one man, in this case a lowly townie, who tries to bring down the giant with his metaphorical slingshot and rock.
Brown spares no one and nothing in this countercultural satire, as he mocks an inept establishment and the people who run it. As he pulls off his comedy of bad manners, he draws cleverly on a couple of '60s TV shows and a cartoon character. In a fictional town in Middle America, "Green Acres" meets "Underdog." But where these shows were wholesome, family-oriented and humorous, "Deconstruction Acres" is merely the latter, offering ample opportunities to laugh out loud at the foibles and follies of Underdog, who "became a townie during the second week he lived in Jasper."
Fictional Jasper is home to Jasper College, surrounded by cornfields and trailer parks and run by the corrupt president, Milton Flaghorn, who lords over the college much like a dictator would a banana republic. In less time than it would take most freshmen to unpack their bags, Underdog is kicked out of school for smoking (something other than tobacco). Rather than return home to live with his mom and irascible dad - who couldn't wait to leave Underdog in Jasper so he could get back home "to get up and go to work tomorrow and pay for all this" - Underdog decides to stick it out in Jasper. He moves into a "puke-colored house," with Mona Blaine, the landlady, and her daughter, Judy, a sex-crazed, tractor-driving landscaper and Jasper College dropout who develops an irrepressible crush on him.
Rather than return Judy's affections, Underdog falls for Ione Twayblade, who poses in the nude for Jasper College art classes and works at the campus credit union. She lives in Trailerville, where "gangs of unsupervised children throw rocks or punches at one another... these were very mean little kids, none of whom were living the happy-go-lucky childhood that they deserved." The place is filled with stereotypes, and Brown piles on all the ones usually associated with poor, rural, uneducated people.
Of course, Ione doesn't respond to Undrerdog's overtures in quite the way he wishes. She takes one look at dashing celebrity professor William "Race" Fletcher (who was a kind of film star in a former life) and heads off with him on trips to New York, where he goes to flee unsophisticated Jasperites. Race gained academic stardom for his book "Deconstruction Acres: Imploding the Myth of Rural Simplicity," which became a surprise hit after it was republished under the title "The Green Acres Story." Race, with his East Coast sensibilities, never fits into the Jasper milieu, although he professes to admire the simple life. "But the irony was lost upon him, like it was on his Green Acres book subject, Oliver Douglas, who, in Race Fletcher's own words, never fit in, who belonged to the city wholly despite his pro-farmer speeches and attempts to farm the old Haney Place."
With Race as his rival and Judy as a juggernaut, life for Underdog becomes a test of will. Still, it doesn't take him long to establish himself as a townie, a desultory denizen whose ambitions stretch no farther than the county line. With his job in the campus print shop, Underdog manages a modest living. He hangs out with his grad-student pal, Reid, drinking beer, and with his easy access to campus documents he becomes a spy for the Jasper College Chronicler, a crusading campus paper out to nail the despicable Flaghorn. And in the end, he discovers talents and interests he never knew he had.
is Brown's first novel, and it's apparent he draws on some personal
experiences to give life to those issues that annoy him. In the
best tradition of farcical literature, he burlesques the foibles
and depravities of everyday life and showcases a still maturing
talent that we expect, and certainly hope to see move of in the
Buy DECONSTRUCTION ACRES from Amazon.com
ISBN 1-886625-00-X 192 pages, 5½ x 8½" $10.00
Reviewed by Jennifer Joseph
San Francisco Bay Guardian
This is a revised edition of a unique underground classic. Combining unusual conspiracy theories with archetypal suspense/thriller techniques, Eccarius creates a compelling novel that propels the reader forward through a maze of blasphemous mystery that winds its way across the U.S., to Europe, and back again. Last Days is a real page-turner and makes the fangs of Anne Rice's vampires seem as dull as a butter knife.
Buy THE LAST DAYS OF CHRIST THE VAMPIRE from Amazon.com
ISBN: 0-9622937-3-3 192 pages, 4.25 x 7" $7.00
Reviewed in Scavenger's Newsletter
"[Virgintooth is] Another good book, this one about the adventures of a newly transformed vampire. Hence the title, as the embittered and yearning Elizabeth comes to terms with her new existence and assumes her place in the secret (and dangerous) society of the undead. She even finds true love and discovers her key role in a mad vampire's scheme to remake the entire planet.
I don't want to give away too much plot, as it's well-worth your discovering the details for yourself. But it's stylish, somewhat explicitly gory but not at all leering. The novel sports a Transcendental ending that elevates the thing a bit above a merely good scare, too.
... the Borkowski cover art is just plain marvelous, an added bonus."
Buy VIRGINTOOTH from Amazon.com
ISBN 0-9622937-4-1 5.5 x 8.5", 256 pages $9.95
reviewed in Small Press Review
"There are very few novels that look at the wold from the point of view of working-class people. Rodger, our hero, has deliberately chosen the life of a construction worker/carpenter, after resigning at the end of one year of study at the Air Force Academy. His choice reverberates throughout the story -- the military indoctrination and training did not take, and he is able to evaluate what happens to him from the perspective of a man who must work for a living.
Those parts of the story, which describe Rodger's daily work, with its rhythm and sweat, fellow workers and weariness, are authentic and delightful. Rodger is different from some "proles," however. He writes and performs social protest songs, and his commitment to that part of his life keeps him aware of what is going on out in the wider world. What's gong on is that you can read in the papers - drug pushing, military atrocities, secret "covert" operations, lots of sex and violence -- but here there's a difference. Underlying the rollicking plot, which I'll not tell, and the marvelous characters, including a talking raven and a deadly Amazon snake that attacks on command [they've been created by black-budget biological experimentation, but now they're on our side!], is an attempt to understand things like revolution, secret budgets, and what an individual can and should do with his life. "Shining Path" is a metaphor as well as the Peruvian revolutionary reality.
If Voltaire's Candide had a plot with action, it could bear comparison with Geminga. As it is, nothing I have read lately will stand up to such comparison. Honesty and love, which are about all individuals are left with these days, shine brightly here.
Buy GEMINGA from Amazon.com
ISBN 0-9622937-2-5 192 pages 4.25 x 7" $6.00
reviewed by Caroline Ravenfox
The Santa Fe Sun
"This is a refreshing book of a type of political, social and environmental commentary and satire that is seen much too infrequently these days. In the four short pieces contained herein, Wilson shows himself to be a bold, uncompromisingly honest, yet humorous writer, about the ills of today's society.
The title story is a comic mystery about a book that kills the people who read it, unless they can handle the blatant truths it propounds. As the subtitle claims - the last word on censorship. The style is purposely exaggerated yet holds many thought provoking insights, not only about censorship and its effects, but about the nature of humanity, intelligence and life itself. ...
Willson leaves us with this thought: `Any society which lets itself become this vulnerable, while creating such huge numbers of desperately unhappy people, is asking to be changed, and deserves whatever happens... It'll be interesting to watch as it unfolds.' Indeed it will."
Buy THIS'LL KILL YA from Amazon.com
ISBN 0-9622937-8-4 5.5 x 8.5", 320 pages $12.00
Reviewed by Tony Norman
Imagine a future where blacks have been herded into a five-state territory under the rule of the Nation of Islam, while whites are restricted to the remaining 45 and governed by the White Aryan Resistance.
This Is the scenario African American writer Saab Lofton introduces in A.D., an intriguing first novel about America's centuries long struggle with social and racial extremisms.
While the scenario is as farfetched as it gets, Lofton cleverly mixes elements of science fiction with social criticism.
After stumbling across an enthusiastic review of Lofton's two year old science fiction novel in a recent issue of the NewYork Press, I searched high and low for it on the shelves of the Big Apple's finest and dustiest bookstores.
Alas, my search came up empty. Still, every clerk I described A.D. to was as intrigued as I was by its premise that the United States could be divided along crude racial meridians.
Some were especially amazed that a black writer could get away with suggesting that a "homeland" found ed on the segregationist principles of Louis Farrakhan would hurl black folks into a Khomeini-style Dark Age faster than you could say "Jackie Robinson."
Admirably, Lofton isn't afraid to make necessary distinctions between a charismatic, but reactionary social/political movement like the Na tion of Islam and truly progressive black politics too sophisticated to base their legitimacy on melanin.
Fortunately, III (Three) Publishing sent me a review copy of Lofton's book so I could see for myself how he navigates the tricky political waters of black cultural nationalism.
From the first page of the introduction in which Lofton weaves his love of "Star Trek," the Black Panther Party and influential MIT linguist and political theorist Noam Chomsky into an unlikely, but coherent world view, I was hooked.
Titled "Confessions of a Chomskyian Trekkie," the introduction establishes Lofton's bonafides as an intellectual whose notions of racial and economic justice are equally indebted to science fiction, Orwellian skepticism, criticism of big media and a principled search for Spock's brain deep in the heart of America's body politic.
It makes for heady reading, but is quickly eclipsed by Lofton's summary of the secret history of American reactionary movements and business interests and their collusion with European and domestic fascists in a prologue that sets the scene for A.D.'s chilling first half.
"A.D." covers topics such as Henry Ford's financial sponsorship of the Nazis in the '20s, Malcolm X's assassination and Hitler's ownership of 8,960 acres in Colorado. But nothing startles quite as much as the curious, but true, history of cooperation between Klan leaders and the leader ship of the Black Muslims.
Lofton paints the Klan and the Nation of Islam as ideological soul mates. To do so he points to strange jamborees in which Back to Africa nationalist Marcus Garvey meets Imperial Wizard Ed Young Clarke, Elijah Muhammad utilizes the legal services of Klansman James Venable and Malcolm X meets with a Klansman known as "Old Six."
Using these odd moments as a launching pad, Lofton constructs an alternative future in which the U.S. government succumbs to nuclear blackmail by homegrown hate mongers of different racial stripes working together.
"A.D.," which was written years be fore Farrakhan's now routine tours of militant Islamic states and brutal military regimes "outed" him as a cheer leader for fascists of color, exposes disturbing points of agreement between white nativists and their black counterparts.
Because "A.D." is one of the most exciting books to emerge from a young black writer in years, its obscurity is all the more shameful. Though conceptually daring and very astute about the amorality of "bootstrap capitalism, "A.D. is saddled with more than its share of stylistic inanities, useless exposition and nearly unforgivable flights of excessive moralizing. In many ways, it reads like the first draft of a book destined to become an underground classic.
Still, I wouldn't be surprised
if "A.D." eventually becomes required reading for fairly
hip university political science courses. Its concerns about the
intersection of capitalism, racism and demagoguery stick with
you a lot longer than newspapers do. If you can't find "A.D."
at your mall bookstore (fat chance!), write III Publishing, Box
1581, Gualala, Calif. 95445
Buy A.D. from Amazon.com
ISBN 1-886625-04-2 5.5 x 8.5", 192 pages $10.00
Review by Lisa Dumond
Buy Down and Out in the Ivy League from Amazon.com
ISBN 1-886625-02-6 192 pages, 5½ x 8½" $10.00
reviewed by J.G. Eccarius
In reality there is no beginning and no end, except what we choose to mark for our own convenience. Pyrexia, the book by Michel Méry, begins with Pyrexia, the sex goddess, who exists in a realm accessible to humans only through the GUM machine. Put your nickel in, pull the lever (so to speak: you type in a Provisionally Probable Pathname (PPP), which is not unlike the URL's used on the Internet, except that, since the universe is governed by Chaos, it indicates only a direction in quantum space time, with the terminus often wildly different even if you use the exact same PPP), and take your chances.
The GUM machine is a marvelous literary invention, calling to mind such treasures as H.G. Wells's time machine, James Thurber's Walter Mitty, Philip K. Dick's drug Chew-Z, and New Age past life regressions. But in Abelard's world it's just another appliance, requiring no more contemplation than our television sets. He just got lucky when he found Pyrexia; he wants to experience the heavy-metalesque, ultimate male fantasy again; but he forgot to record the PPP. That is irritating, but it is the least of Abelard's problems.
There's Abelard's better half, or anima, named Kahani, from whom he's hiding his desire for reuniting with Pyrexia, among other things. This is difficult, given the fact that they live in a tiny apartment. There's his job, which seems at first to be more of a game: the Linked Lattice at Large (LLL). The LLL allows you to get your e-mail, so to speak, but the conditions and rules have evolved nightmarishly so that he's in danger of going bankrupt. There's something disturbing going on outside his window, and most of his GUM trips take him to impoverished and somewhat demented personalities of late 20th century New York City or Paris.
The brilliance of Pyrexia results from the cross multiplication of the four components tensions: the GUM, the LLL, the anima/animus conflict, and the glimpses of life on earth in our own era. I found reading Pyrexia to be, literally, a mind-altering experience. Part of the fun is that Abelard wants to rebel against the system, to show some individuality, but all he can manage is to fail to get with the corporate program. For instance, when playing on the LLL the rule is that an animus must wear a yellow silk necktie, and an anima must wear a pair of white nylon stockings. He does not want to imitate the rich, who wear other items of clothing while working the LLL; yet if he is naked, tie-less, the machine will not only not work, it will penalize him a few giga-infobits. Every attempt to stray from the rut his society has ordained for him results in penalties. Which means he must work ever harder on the LLL.
Every day the LLL inundates him with data, which becomes his if he fails to deal with it before its trial period expires; of course if it becomes his he must pay for it. It is against the law to destroy the data. He can, however, "push" it to someone else, but he must provide some extra value of his own first, like a commentary. Anyone with e-mail who has watched its volume explode the last few years can imagine what that would be like.
Is he working so hard that he's having a nervous breakdown? It's hard to tell, but something is subtly, and sometimes radically, changing his reality, or messing with his memory. It's an extension of the Processed World magazine philosophy: you aren't processing data using your GUM and LLL, the data is processing you. Abelard gets to the point where he can't figure out if Kahani has a physically separate existence or is just an alternative personality that sometimes controls a single body. He could have sworn his apartment had a door to the outside, but maybe door is just a 20th century earth concept he learned from his GUM rides?
The brilliance of Pyrexia
is also that Méry pulls this whole joyride off. The reader
is sucked in, the intellect is massaged, drawn, and quartered,
and when you put the book down you understand that fiction, printed
black ink on white paper, is still the greatest virtual reality
Buy PYREXIA from Amazon.com
ISBN 1-886625-01-8 192 pages, 5½ x 8½" $10.00
reviewed in Earth First! Journal
Next time you're dusting off the bookshelf or cleaning out your backpack, be sure to make room next to your tattered ol' copy of Orwell's Animal Farm for its modern day sister sequel: Anarchist Farm by Jane Doe.
You see, while the rest of us have been ballyhooing in our beers about diversity, or lack thereof, within the movement, Jane Doe has been busy taking the offensive. She pulled a character or two from each of a dozen or so cauldrons and threw them together into one fabulously woven tale. Anarchist Farm illustrates diversity in action. It's a raucous tale of revolution and liberation, replete with caricatures of Earth First! Food Not Bombs, hippies, crispies and even a lesbian pig.
The book does not strive for complex philosophical debate. Instead, Anarchist Farm is endearingly simplistic and surprisingly inspiring. What could be more charming than a bunch of wild animals monkeywrenching logging equipment, domestic critters overthrowing their farm, and an eventual coalition between the two to subvert the corporate beast? It's goofy, it's funny and it's damn smart.
Much of the symbolism is true and timely and a little too obvious for us to ignore. The obstacle that looms between the animals and the Great Stampede is humbly summed up in the immortal words of Hans, the gun-totin' German shepherd: "The corporation wants us to hate each other and fight each other. That keeps us too busy to fight them."
Amid the silliness, Jane Doe never undermines the very serious and difficult choices we -- as a real life movement of people -- must make when reconciling our principles with out goals. Because of this, Anarchist Farm does a great service to those of us grasping for a contemporary context for non-violence.
Okay, it, might not be destined to be a classic, but it is good and it beats the hell out of reading another scholastic observation of the proverbial "us" from someone safely on the outside. This is an insider's witty perspective. Anarchist Farm is a worthy tribute to the chaos and charisma of our movement. It encourages us, if, not to recognize our revolutionary potential, to laugh at ourselves along the way.
Buy ANARCHIST FARM from Amazon.com
We Should Have Killed the King by J.G. Eccarius
ISBN 0-9622937-1-7 192 pages 4¼ x 7" $5.00
reviewed in Factsheet Five
"The author of The Last Days of Christ the Vampire is back with another novel that is even more eccentric than the first. It concerns the life and times of Jack Straw, anarcho-communist, para-legal, bohemian and eventual elder. The book jumps around from a constrained childhood to an anarchist future fantasy which starts out with a hopeful enclave and ends with a sunburned dead world (thanks to CFCs). Along the way Eccarius casts his light on a few features of the modern political scene, from the WPPSS debacle to Autonomen fighting in the streets in Germany. His characterization of the RCP is particularly cutting. All in all, an interesting, chewy, different book."
Buy WE SHOULD HAVE KILLED THE KING from Amazon.com
Resurrection 2027 by J.G. Eccarius
ISBN 0-9622937-7-6 192 pages 4¼ x 7" $7.00
Reviewed by Jim Lee
in Scavenger's Newsletter
This guy's been a regular contributor to the III satire magazine The Stake (now changing its name and focus as Anti-Christ) and already has a pair of novels out on the company's backlist. And now we get this one--possibly his best and most ambitious work to date.
It's 2027 and all that's left of our America is the theocratic, female-dominated nation carved out of post-holocaust nightmare by the Church of Mary the Mother of God. The elite Mothers run the show and the Saints (read slaves!) do all the grunt work. Very few survived the worldwide Apocalypse. But these days Mary's righteous followers are busy Resurrecting the Chosen, a "miracle' accomplished by cloning DNA samples of the dead and reeducating the resulting children in a mind-controlled atmosphere that takes False Memory Syndrome to new heights.
This is strong, serious-minded
satire and capable SF sewn neatly together. The narrative almost
bogs down once or twice when Eccarius plows in a bit too much
background all at once, particularly during the opening of Chapter
9. But overall, this is a fast-paced and exciting, inventive and
deliciously irreverent adventure. It'll offend the hell out of
defenders of dishonest orthodoxy, but you and me will savor every
humanely anarchist moment.
Buy RESURRECTION 2027 from Amazon.com
My Journey With Aristotle to the Anarchist Utopia by Graham Purchase
ISBN 0-9622937-6-8 128 pages 4¼ x 7" $7.00
Reviewed by George Impulse
in Maximum RockNRoll
When you shaved that circle A into your haircut, painted the word "Anarchy" onto your leather jacket, or tattooed that red-and-black star across your knuckles, the last thing on your mind was explaining the niceties of anarchist theory and practice to anybody. More like it you wanted to scare the bejesus our of your lame-ass parents in particular and give the finger to bourgeois society in general. The motive here was anger and outrage, not communicating and understanding. Just in case you happen to run into some curious straight worth the time of day who seems interested in learning what anarchism is all about, "My Journey with Aristotle to the Anarchist Utopia" by Graham Purchase is the ideal fiction book for beginners.
Tom is a coal miner in the Australia of the near future, in a world experiencing economic and ecological collapse. When the miners call a town meeting in order to figure out how to deal with their situation, they are attacked by police who try to force them back to work. During the fight, Tom is knocked out and left for dead by the cops. He wakes up a thousand years into the future and meets an old man named Aristotle who gives him a guided tour of Bear City in the Cat-River bio-region. A millennia after the Great Social Ecological Revolution, human society has realized anarchism, a life without government, capitalists or bosses of any kind based upon decentralization, individual liberty, voluntary association, small community, free cooperation, workers control, mutual aid and ecological harmony.
The anarchist vision of "My Journey..." is "old school." It's the anarchism of Emma Goldman and the syndicalism of Sam Dolgoff, updated with Murray Bookchin's social ecology. Almost everybody in this anarchist far future is vegetarian, probably the only thing with which today's anarcho-punks will identify there are no crusty punks drinking 40's while listening to very loud grindcore in their squats. Purchase describes the anarchism of average, dare I say normal folks; touching on work, play, schooling, and sex among other subjects. It's short, 120 some pages, and the style is simple, not simplistic. A quick read, perfect for the more-often-than-not-older person in your life who has cool potential but who also doesn't have a clue.
Come to think of it, given the
general ignorance these days of your average circle-A-brandishing
punk about anarchism, it's a book well worth picking up, along
with your latest copy of Profane Existence.
Buy MY JOURNEY WITH ARISTOTLE TO THE ANARCHIST UTOPIA from Amazon.com
Vampires or Gods? by William Meyers [non-fiction]
ISBN 0-9622937-5-X 192 pages, 8.5 x 11" $15.00
Reviewed by Joan D'Arc in Paranoia (#6)
Osiris & Isis, Hercules, Krishna, Caligula, Quetzalcoatl, Jesus, Chang Ling, Dracula ... What do these historical figures have in common? An intriguing hypothesis comes soaring your way when you pick up the new III Publishing title Vampires or Gods? It would seem that these infamous persons, and more discussed in this book, were reanimated humans. Yes, these are people who died, and were risen from the dead to become immortal beings, Vampires one and all.
Vampires or Gods? describes the legends surrounding history's most enigmatic figures and gives credence to the theory that their "legendary" prowess in the cycles of human mayhem was the result of rituals which set them up as immortal. As a matter of fact, these beings may have made several reappearances in earthly historical cycles as other ghouls of infamy! In all of the cases, the author argues that reanimation--the act of rising from the dead- affords one the credentials of Supreme Being-hood. Meyers states that Dracula, son of Dracul (the Romanian word for Dragon or Serpent) was actually Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia (not really Transylvania), an immortal being who went on to be a powerful figure in the Catholic Church, heading the European Inquisition. And why not? His resume stated that he was an immortal!
When Dracul & Son, Inc. introduced Catholicism to Wallachia, we find that the Order of the Dragon promised "eternal life to nobles who would forcibly convert their subjects to Catholicism"! Is this the secret so well protected by the Catholic Church? There are even rumors, states Meyers, that Dracula is alive and well and residing in the Vatican today. Now that's not so difficult to believe!
So, is religion in fact vampire worship? Meyers warns that, to preserve its own immortality, the vampire may merely be interested in your soul (life energy) or perhaps in slaves for its invisible empire. So don't be fooled. Pick up this book right away."
Buy VAMPIRES OR GODS? from Amazon.com
The Father, The Son, and The Walkperson by Michel Méry
ISBN 0-9622937-9-2 192 pages, 5½ x 8½" $10.00
reviewed in Kaspahraster
"In the author's forward, he confesses he is unable to tell us which genre this belongs to -- science fiction, or general literature. Personally I would class it right on the cusp with Slipstream. I love this book -- it's metafiction, but not at all self-indulgent or boring. Mery delivers, and on top of that he is pretty droll. The chapter about the doodledoos made me laugh out loud! True, his translation is a bit `off' in places (the book was written in French and translated into English by Mery), but somehow the occasional slip with verb tenses or whatever just gives it all more personality -- the richness of Mery's ideas comes through unimpaired. This is one of the best books I've read this year."
Buy THE FATHER, THE SON, AND THE WALKPERSON from Amazon.com
Ordering III Publishing books