Here’s a list, for your tripping pleasure.
5. The Gormenghast Trilogy, by Mervyn Peake. I’m told this is an allegory, but pfui on that kinda talk. It’s a fever dream. Take a huge, rambling, crumbling castle with walls encrusted with the hovels of the poor, throw in an ambitious young psychopath, and stir well. The prose goes so far beyond purple, it’s ultraviolet. I mean, you can see the hidden meaning in psychedelic posters by the light of these books. Un-freakin’-real. Three books, but I’m counting them as one.
4. Bimbos of the Death Star and Zombies of the Gene Pool, by Sharyn McCrumb. Ms. McCrumb is a serious literary novelist of some repute, but not because of these two novels. They’re half love notes, half bitch slaps to science fiction fandom. They capture a lot of the flavor — if flavor is the word I’m looking for — of what serious nerds are like when
we they get together.
3. Animal Future, by Robert and Darrin McGraw. I reviewed this book in a previous post. Highly. In the reasonably near future, animals suddenly elevate to undeniable sentience. When a misunderstanding causes a chimpanzee bespoke tailor’s beloved wife to be kidnapped, he joins forces with a freelance agent to get her back. Or something. It’s brilliant!
2. Tristram Shandy, by Laurence Sterne. This is the great-granddaddy of Crazy-Ass Books, written and published in nine volumes between 1759 and 1767. The first-person narrator cannot stay on subject; it takes him pages and pages and pages and pages to even get born. I would describe the book to you, but we’re getting pretty high up the Crazy-Ass list, and it’s becoming more and more difficult.
And the #1 Crazy-Ass Book award goes to:
1. Packaged, by Leslie R. Lee. I also reviewed this book in a previous post, and my opinion of it hasn’t changed. It’s an absolute dream of a book, in every exciting, dreadful, disorienting, funny sense of that term.
Extra bonus Crazy-Ass Book:
Clownfellas: Tales of the Bozo Family, by Carlton Mellick III. Honestly, not the best-written book I ever read, but So. Damn. Wack. A collection of stories cobbled together into a sort-of-novel addressing the question: What if Political Correctness became so strict that ALL humor was criminalized. That leads inevitably (?) to the next question: What if there were a clown mafia? I mean, you think you’re scared of clowns NOW….
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Is your main character afraid, to any extent, of clowns?