Peter John McLean
Birdsnatch by C.J. Cummings and Mark Ryan (Reviews)
I got a free review copy of Birdsnatch by C.J. Cummings and Mark Ryan a couple of days ago, which I sat down and read in its entirety yesterday afternoon. The book consists of two short novellas, both with the same title, both about completely different (and absurd) plots. As a whole, the book is well worth the money; both stories are complete works with interesting characters, realistic (bizarro) worlds, and stories that are compelling.
Birdsnatch by C.J. Cummings
This story is about a depressed and lonely and all around worthless guy who has decided to get revenge on all those stuck up hygienic bastards who picked on him growing up. Naturally, he finds his best course of action is to construct a super hero costume out of PVC and become Birdsnatch, the monstrous avian hominid that will exact revenge on all the worthless scumbags he comes across. Of course, this plan is slightly complicated by the news that the world is about to end.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, is a sex obsessed girl named Trinket, who is about to climb into a nuclear bomb shelter with her dad so they can sit around eating canned food and chillaxing after the world is microwaved into nothing.
I’m done giving away the whole plot, so if you want to learn more about how Birdsnatch and Trinket get by in the apocalypse, buy the damn thing.
There are a whole host of qualities to Cummings’ book that I loved. There is a cat-rat hybrid beast pet so cool that I want to buy one and feed it Fancy Feast. There are hilarious deadpan one liners littered throughout the book that caught me off guard, sending me into giggling fits like a seven year old. There is lots of senseless violence, lots of absurd sexual remarks, and plenty of rotting meat. A great story as far as I’m concerned.
Birdsnatch by Mark Ryan
Mark Ryan’s version of Birdsnatch is way different. Wayyyyyyyy different. It’s your run of the mill plastic surgery leads to super villainy story. I know, I know, you’ve probably read a ton of books about that. On a more serious note, the core concept is obviously ridiculously creative, but more importantly, Mark Ryan’s application is really solid. The story employs journal entries as the protagonist details his work on case studies while enjoying a delicious Grullbar.
The protagonist, employed to help warn the public about the dangers of plastic surgery induced super villainy (PSISV) is tasked with tracking down Dex Finor, the rich bastard whose apparently gone rogue because his older brother was more successful than him.
As with Cummings’ version, I’m not going to blow-by-blow the entire book. Suffice to say, it’s a fun adventure with a lot of plot twists and, perhaps most importantly, a slightly more serious ending than I think a lot of bizarro stories have.
I really enjoyed both of these stories. I’m not sure what their total word count was, but I read both in a day and probably spent four hours total reading them (I’m a pretty slow reader). They are stories with substance and they do not feel slapped together at all. It’s pretty obvious that Ryan and Cummings both put a lot of thought into their stories and the end result of two books that share a title and nothing else seems to be quite excellent.