Here's something else that bothers me about this whole thing that Hamantaschen has done - there doesn't seem to be any charm or actual enjoyment that feels as though it has been put into what he has created at all. And, I mean, what could possibly be the motive in getting this published, in its woefully unfinished and uninspired state, if not for a desire for money/a cheap and desperate leap for fame? The only problem with this theory is that there is almost nothing more certain to lead to a state of obscurity and pennilessness than attempting to be a short story author.
My only real hypothesis at the current moment is that he really was, in some form or another, utterly unaware of the fact that what he has made is an unfinished product that he needed to have worked on to a much more completed state before he could have even DREAMED of releasing it unto the market. it no doubt helped that he somehow, according to the back of this book, managed to earn "acclaim" throughout the horror world for years, and that much of these have appeared, formerly, in a myriad of horror anthologies/magazines. I mean, really, guys, are you THAT starved for material?
Here's the irony: in a preface from some unnamed "editors" in the beginning of the book, these "editors" assure us, the readers, that these stories were NOT "rushed off" to make some sort of a deadline, that they are all "about" something. I am pretty sure, after having read this, that everything in this preface is the biggest case of ass-coverage that I have witnessed this side of Stephen King rabidly assuring people that Stanley Kubrick's movie is NOT his vision of The Shining, and it tells me that, at least in my opinion, Hamantaschen knew full well, on some level, that his work was woefully unfinished.
At any rate, here's the next five stories in the collection, to make up for my procrastination (and the day I spent at my parents, on Christmas):
Endemic - "Cliff was "late" because he had been jerking off, which was an irony (and a debilitating one) too obnoxious to consider now."
Too much focus on certain things, using the kind of descriptive words that would have made my high school creative writing teacher vomit in her mouth. Choice here is the focus that Hamantaschen takes on an imagined Victoria's Secret model on an ad (pay attention to the token "thesaurus" word that Hamantaschen tossed out this time) - "...a requisite too-glossy, too-cavalier model of undetermined ethnic vintage, who evidently had been instructed to project an air of almost-zealous indifference toward all the unwashed masses who might be interested in the products she was hawking." Do you see the problems here? This is what it is like having to critique this man's writing - if I wanted to do an in-depth, it would have to be line-by-terrible-line, with numerous issues being raised from each line.
Anyway - this turns out to be some confusing garbage that leaps around in time like Doctor Who, going from the past and current time, without explaining a single thing, to the point that you feel like a horse being lead around with blinders on. I was going to point out that this story in particular fucks up rule 8 of Kurt Vonnegut's basic laws of creative writing - give your audience as much information as possible as quickly as possible - but I realized, as I looked through that list once again that he really has fucked up nearly every one of them to some extent or another.
And then there's the Hard Candy area that this story goes that manages to lose the whole point of female empowerment entirely; the women are not characterized and nor does the narrative even bother to delve into who these women are, at all. No; Hamantaschen designates them into the role of plot devices - giggling, overly-pretty plot devices - and does not give all of them put together the amount of characterization that he does for just ONE of the male characters in this story.
And, you know what - fuck him for that. Fuck anyone who tries to pull that type of exploitation without a thought for the female characters that they are portraying.
A Parasite Inside Your Brain - "This was an arachnid that you'd describe as "creepy". Its eight legs canvassed around its body in a way you've never seen before."
Alright, after the thrashing that I gave the last story, I have to be truthful when I say that this one, for all of the nonsensical lines of exposition and the really just awful choices for description and dialogue, this is one of those stories that shows a really just tragic capacity that Hamantaschen must have for writing. The best way that I can describe what it feels like to come across a story in this collection that you don't loathe immediatally is not unlike the feeling you get when you are set to exterminate a nest full of insects, and it briefly occurs to you that your killing something that has a life and an existence that is all its own, albeit useless and bordering on harmful to your own. You feel bad, when you come across a positive aspect of something that you know, on an elemental level, that you can't like something for all of the much more negative aspects that something has.
Sure, it was horribly botched and is in dire need of editing that was obviously never given to this story - most notably the much-needed extraction of the jack-ass of an author's voice from the text itself - there is certainly SOMETHING remarkable to this short story that made me feel a touch of pity for the way that it was treated.
I had all of the intention in the world of finishing this series by reviewing ALL of the damned stories in this book, but I had the epiphany, after reviewing that last story that it only gets worse after this one. A simple, sort of startlingly unique premise that got raped by sheer incompetence and laziness is the highlight of this collection. It all sucks, in its own unique and mind-boggingly slimy way. There; now I can get on with my life, and I can hate myself less for setting some medicore piece of trash on fire until it's nothing but ashes.
What I'm going to do with this book - Throw away, for the simple fact that I wrote all the hell in it, when I thought that there was a possible way for me to give positive and constructive criticism on this. Oh how innocent I was.