Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Sad Bizarro Guide for Seasonally Affected Weirdos

by Karl Fischer

The holidays can be a stressful time. They can even feel like the end of the world. Yes, as civilization crumbles and people are reduced to feral beasts that go screaming into the night, tearing apart cities with their frustration and guilt, you might wonder if shopping for your loved ones is even worth it. Well, this gift guide wants to assure you that it is. It’s okay to feel sad. You can still have a very merry holiday season.

"Skullcrack City" by Jeremy Robert Johnson

Beautifully written, superb, and insane, JRJ’s first full-length novel tells the story of a mysterious drug sensation, which is threatening to drag all living things into an outer-dimensional hell, a place where existence is quashed under an endless black nothing. Our drug-addled, banker-turned-outlaw protagonist must battle monsters from beyond the veil of rationality, but saving the world may come at a very high cost. It’s paced like a thriller and deep as the Bolton Strid.

"The Cell" - Tarsem Singh

New technology allows therapists to enter the minds of their patients, making it possible for them to physically confront fears and memories. Unfortunately for Jennifer Lopez, her next client is a serial killer. Tarsem Singh brings his stunning, signature visuals to a tale of depravity and mental trauma. It's maybe the tenderest story ever told about defeating a serial killer—you won’t find any smarmy Kevin Spacey lookalikes here. It takes a lot of courage to overcome the demons that can inhabit a mind.

"Blueprints of the Afterlife" by Ryan Boudinot

The world has already ended, and it is in the political, spiritual, genre fictional, and emotional Afterlife that the novel is set. Across time, a disparate cast of characters act out their roles, a winding spiral of events—sometimes violent and melancholy, other times humorous and absurd—that coalesce into the final testament of the human condition, the artifacts that will be left behind for the Last Dude.

"The Fountain" - Darren Aronofsky

Set in the past, present, and future, one man searches for the metaphorical and literal Tree of Life. His loved one is going to die/has died, and he is desperate to prevent/understand/reverse it. Is it death that elicits fear, or the cessation of all things that accompanies it—that final sundering of emotions and cares and wants? To what lengths would you go to overcome that gaping maw at the end of your happiness, which swallows up everything like a collapsed star? The film’s answer is that love is greater than death, and though we are ephemeral, perhaps it is not.

The Stanley Parable

Stanley may or may not have freewill. Stanley may or may not be trapped in a recursive, meta-fictional nightmare. His fate may or may not be in your hands. The voiceover narration serves as the primary point of conflict, highlighting the unique gulf that exists between author and audience, even in an interactive medium. There are many different endings that can result from your choices, but you'll want to explore them all in order to see what's really going on.

Neurological Study in Wool

Your brain is real and fake at the same time. Your brain is gross and cuddly at the same time. Love your own grotesqueness, and then put a simulacrum on the wall to remind yourself of how far you've come.

Drugs (Coffee, Hugs, and Otherwise)

Give the gift of drugs to your loved ones. Hold them tight and fill them with dopamine. Even if they—or you—experiences a chemical imbalance that makes love feelings difficult, just remember that both of you are real and that your connection is real.

"Towers" by Karl Fischer

And if you already know and love all or some of these things, consider reading Towers, as it is also a psychological, science fictional, romantic, visceral, and monster-ridden tale. After fighting giant monsters for a thousand years, a sentient guard tower is set to go to heaven with his soulmate. But for reasons unknown, the lovers are reborn as lowly humans living inside the Towers they once operated. Separated by thousands of miles and trapped within menageries of horror, only a profound transformation of mind and body can reunite them.

Leviathan and all the horrors of the human heart would like to wish you a very merry Winter. 

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