Book: TV Snorted My Brain
Author: Bradley Sands
Type of Book: Fiction, bizarro
Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: It’s a retelling of the Arthurian myths using a sullen teenager, a sleazy wrestler, and a mystical television remote.
Availability: Published by LegumeMan books in 2012, you can get a copy here:
Comments: This is a book you will either love or hate. I don’t think there can be much gray area. The reason for this is because this book relies on a teenaged narrator, a particularly stupid teenaged narrator whose brain is given to repetition. Lots of repetition. I suspect a real teenager would find this book interminable. But if you can remember yourself when you were annoying as the day was long, yammering about ANARCHY and hating everyone around you because they were norms, you may find Artie Pendragon as funny as I did.
This book is a retelling of the King Arthur story using ridiculous suburban schmoes in the place of heroic figures. Excalibur is a remote control and Camelot is inside a television. When Artie’s father dies and his mother marries his uncle, no one can work the television until one night Artie uses the Excalibur 3000 to navigate the TV and his entire family finds themselves sucked into a netherworld wherein actors really are inside the television. Artie has to engage in a struggle against his stepfather and little sister as he hunts for the Holy Grail. Can he save the land in the television? Can he achieve his goal of anarchy? Can he get his wife back from his stepfather and take his place as the rightful ruler? Will his struggles be so silly that it makes the mythos of Arthur seem like little more than the backdrop to a Bill and Ted film? The only question I will answer for you is the last one and I think you know what the answer is.
As I mentioned earlier, this book is told from the perspective of an irritating and somewhat uninteresting teenager, a teenager upon whom fate has thrust greatness of sorts. Through showing examples of Artie’s thought processes, I can demonstrate how simple and repetitive he is and, in my opinion, utterly hilarious. Here’s a scene wherein he is watching his younger sister playing in a soccer game:
I sit in a folding beach chair on the sidelines, watching my little sister play out on the field. The chair is uncomfortable. A strip of polyester fabric is poking me in the ass. I do not like to be poked in the ass. But it is worth being poked in the ass. It is a really great pee wee soccer game. It is total anarchy, super-retardo anarchy awesomeness. It is the most anarchist thing on Earth.
Oh wait, I forgot about riots in the streets.
But riots in the streets don’t have little girls picking up clumps of grass out of the ground instead of defending their goal, little girls chasing butterflies instead of the ball, little girls tripping over the ball, little girls kicking the ball into the wrong goal, little girls calling their opponents cuntbags, little girls screaming as they run away from the ball.
Riots in the streets don’t have soccer moms. Riots on the streets don’t have soccer dads. Riots on the streets don’t have riots between soccer moms and soccer dads over pee wee soccer games. Riots in the streets are over real world issues. Real world issues are fucking lame.
I say it out loud, “Real world issues are fucking lame.”
This is a long quote but I throw it out here because it’s a litmus test. If you find this particular style of writing annoying, you will want to stop reading here and give this book a miss. But if you find this strangely charming and exactly like the tiresome kid you sat next to in health class, the one who scrawled Anarchy! symbols all over his Trapper Keeper and quoted Metallica lyrics back before they “sold out” and totally did not give a fuck, you’ll enjoy the rest of this book. And this really is the bulk of the book – the Arthurian myth as filtered through the mind and life of a kid who will remind you a bit of Dermott from The Venture Brothers. There are the usual fantastic elements that accompany bizarro books but this book is quite simple in its execution – teenage dirtbag as King Arthur. And because it is so simple, I think the best way to show how great this book is is by quoting passages.