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Review by
Wrath James White
DEAD CAT BOUNCING
Edited by Gerard Houarner and GAK
A Bedlam Press Book
ISBN 1-889186-25-2


It's one of the most bizarre premises for an anthology I've ever heard of. Take an impressive collection of horror authors including Jack Ketchum, Edward Lee, Tom Piccirilli, Yvonne Navarro, Charlee Jacob, David Niall Wilson, and Brian Keene, give them a dead cat to play with, and see what they come up with. What tha f*ck? DEAD CAT BOUNCING is alternately weird and profound, silly and sad, senseless satire and social commentary.

Gerard Houarner sets the tone with the title piece about a cat sacrificed to the Egyptian feline goddess of vengeance, Bastet, daughter of the all-powerful sun god RA. The cat lands in a unique corner of hell where animals who have been sacrificed to gods go, struggling to find his way back to the land of the living. Like all animals that have been sacrificed, go to hell, and come back to life, Dead Cat can talk now and man does he have a lot to say. Bounce.

Dead Cat bounces into the world of Jack Ketchum, into the life of a woman in an abusive relationship who finds more love in a cat that stinks of the grave than in the man who professes to love her. Dead Cat learns to purr again, learns about love. Bounce. Dead Cat lands in the hands of Yvonnne Navarro who lightens the mood with a little kitten love. Dead Cat works his mojo. Bounce. Dead Cat is now in the clutches of Edward Lee torturing one of his domesticated brethren and teaching him a little bit about life on the wild side beneath the noses of his human hosts. The fat "Other Cat" is no longer happy and never will be again; Dead Cat scared the living shit out of it for life. Bounce. Dead Cat joins Brian Keene in a search for peace, winds up at Green Peace mistaken for an animal experiment gone wrong, then to a church where he partakes of a rather savage communion, then to a mountain top where he is sent on a quest to find a name. Bounce. Dead Cat is now center stage at a cat show getting his groove on with the upper-crust in Charlie Jacob's "Dead Cat On A Hot Tin Eternity". Bounce.

Weird stories these. I confess I scratched my head more than once while reading this book. Why the hell were all these authors writing stories about an undead cat? What tha F%ck? With over fifty twisted illustrations by the co-editor of this odd collaboration, the infamous GAK, telling the Dead Cat's tale in rogue pictorials, one has to wonder just what it all means. But once you stop trying to get it and just read the damned thing it's a pretty enjoyable little ride this uncanny collection takes you on. Some of these stories are indeed great parables. You can definitely pick up one or two things bouncing through hell with a dead cat. But I would not read these fables to children. A mature audience is suggested.

DEAD CAT BOUNCING takes us through many different hells, those subterranean and those in our own cities, in our own homes, and in our own minds. Quickly you get the impression that, from the perspective of this ridiculous looking ragged cat with the earrings and bandages and mangy moth-eaten fur, we are the silly ones. Our jealousies and hatreds, our struggles, our discontent. We are alive but not satisfied. This mummified cat with the sex drive of a serial killer is dead as communism and still more content than any of those he encounters. He is at least relentlessly searching for that which will satisfy him rather than accepting his fate. I mean this cat dragged himself out of hell where he had every excuse to give up but he didn't. He bounced. Don't you just wish you could fall so far and still land on your feet? Don't you just wish you could bounce too?

Three Book Wyrms

This review copyright 2002 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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