Originally published at Fangoria. com on January 22, 2011
THE BROTHERS CRUNK (Grindhouse Press) is a bizarrely imaginative blend of sci-fi, horror and fantasy adventure. The lives of two brothers are unexpectedly changed forever when they discover the grisly remains of a mutilated corpse. In this monster-infested apocalypse, video game accessories from the ‘80s are used as hostile weapons. As the story strives on being strange and absurd, creativity has never flowed so freely.
Low on food and cash, Divey and Rey Crunk aimlessly wander across the hot desert. These wisecracking con artists depend on each other for survival. Divey is the brains, turning discarded items into reusable gadgets. Rey then uses those handmade devices as deadly weapons in order to protect themselves from danger. Pretending to be a gunslinger, Rey aims the Nintendo zapper and fires explosive rounds at unsuspecting targets. While lost in their journey, they stumble upon a dead cyborg shimmering bright red.
Divey’s eyes are drawn to the dazzling object inside the metal skeleton. Upon touching the glowing orb, Divey hits the floor and falls deep into unconsciousness. Divey’s face melts away as a new host completely takes over. Rey discovers his brother’s body being controlled by Vandenboom, a TV demon from Tokyo.
Vandenboom anxiously awaits for the arrival of his clan, the Damned Dirt Devils. Vega has green skin and is a skilled swordsman. Krebb carries a large gun that used to be a blender. Gluum is an arachnid in a humanoid body. T-Dakk rides around in a wheelchair, which has been modified to carry high artillery weapons. The Devils have returned to fight once more against their most-hated enemy. With the team reunited, Vandenboom opens a portal to another dimension. Rey chases after Vandenboom, following him directly to Planet Japan. Whisked away from the desert, Rey suddenly finds himself in a loud city full of bright lights, wet streets and tall buildings. In the dark underworld of Tokyo, Jools Dethbryte, a space slug, reigns supreme as a tyrannical ruler. At the top floor of the Blitz, Dethbryte patiently waits for the full-scale attack from the Devils. Rey realizes that if Vandenboom loses this battle, the soul of Divey will be lost forever.
In the opening pages, author William Pauley III smartly chooses to focus on the comical relationship between the two brothers. Though they act juvenile, the age-difference between them is never mentioned. The setting has a witty flair of nostalgia, a reminder of what videogames used to be. These characters in the future have their own specific dialogue, speaking slang in their dialect. There is a substantial lack in character development, but the novella ultimately rewards its readers with an action-packed boss battle.
A perfect example of bizarro fiction, BROTHERS CRUNK is a fun read, but incredibly short. Though readers may want more details, every single line is littered with wild and imaginative ideas. It’s available in stores January 31, and you can order this novella from the official Grindhouse Press website.