Rhys Hughes' The Honeymoon Gorillas was published by Bizarro Pulp Press in June 2018.
Information about Rhys Hughes:
Rhys Hughes was born in 1966. Tartarus Press published his first collection, Worming the Harpy, in 1995, and since that time he has published more than thirty other books. His fiction is generally fantastical and his output mainly consists of short stories, though he has published several novels. His work is frequently compared to that of Boris Vian, Flann O'Brien and R.A. Lafferty, but he cites his major influences as Italo Calvino and Donald Barthelme. His most recent books include the collections Bone Idle in the Charnel House (Hippocampus Press), Orpheus on the Underground (Tartarus Press) and Brutal Pantomimes (Egaeus Press). Fascinated by paradoxes, he incorporates them into his fiction as entertainingly as he can.
Click here to visit his official website.
Information about The Honeymoon Gorillas:
Spud Gunn is the son of Hopalong Beech and Una Gunn. When his parents split up he begins his travels through the West, a place of myths, tall stories and strangeness. On his journey he has many peculiar encounters with the characters who inhabit the West and he begins to suspect that something is not quite right about the world he is living in. Could it be that this West is just a simulation? If so, for what purpose was it created? Before he finds the answer to this and other questions, he will have to evade the unusual attentions of a troupe of lethal roving actors, the schemes of fake orientals, the catastrophic effects of asteroid strikes and the fury of a giant who is one of the original gods of the West and who has been assembled from his scattered parts in order to break down the walls of existence and reveal the truths beyond.... But what does this have to do with gorillas? Rather more than it may seem to the casual eye!
REVIEW: THE HONEYMOON GORILLAS BY RHYS HUGHES
Rhys Hughes has always been an author who has not been afraid of writing his own kind of fiction. He has offered readers many fascinating, strange and literary reading experiences that have both delighted and mesmerised readers with their extraordinary happenings. Now, he has written The Honeymoon Gorillas, which is something totally different, because it combines elements of Bizarro fiction and Weird West in an entertaining and mind-blowing way.
If there are readers out there who are not familiar with Bizarro fiction and Weird West (Weird Western) genres, here are a few words about these genres:
- Bizarro fiction is a contemporary literary genre, which often uses elements of absurdism, satire, and the grotesque, along with pop-surrealism and genre fiction staples, in order to create subversive, weird, and entertaining works. It has a lot in common with speculative fiction and many Bizarro stories can be classified as speculative fiction. (More information can be found on the internet.)
- Weird West is a subgenre that combines elements of the Western with another genre, usually horror, occult, fantasy or science fiction. Just like Bizarro fiction stories, many Weird West stories can be classified as speculative fiction. (More information can be found on the internet.)
I consider The Honeymoon Gorillas to be a wonderful and charmingly weird combination of literary Bizarro fiction and Weird West, because it's a perfect marriage of both genres. In this book, the author has come up with an entertaining and stunningly original vision of the Wild West. His literary approach to the Wild West is incredibly fresh, not to mention weird.
When you begin to read this book, be prepared to be amazed and amused at what you are about to read, because it'll be a thrillingly weird and wild ride filled with strangeness and surreal happenings. I can guarantee that you've never read anything like this ever before.
This book has been divided into two parts: "Part One: The Honeymoon Gorillas" and "Part Two: After the Honeymoon". Both parts have excellently named chapters (for example, part one has a chapter called "Tumbleweed Tantrums" and part two has a chapter called "What We Gibber About When We Gibber About Gibbons").
Part One tells of Spud Gunn, the son of Hopalong Beech and Una Gunn. Spud was the son of a Beech first, but when his parents separated he became the son of a Gunn, which suited him well. He explores the West, which is a place of myths, tall tales and strangeness, and has encounters with memorable and peculiar characters such as Professor Longfellow, the fake oriental Phut Tu Ping and the mythical giant Vast'un Jeepers.
I found Part One to be an absolute feast of literary weirdness. I was impressed by the author's no-holds-barred take on the Western tropes of gangs, towns and gunmen, because he uses them to his advantage by putting a whole new spin on them.
The relationship between Una and Hopalong is described in an amusing and intriguing way. I enjoyed reading about how they met and how they looked after each other. Although they had a stormy affair and ended up being separated, they covered each other's backs.
The Spittoon Gang is a memorable gang, because it is led by Phut Tu Ping, who is a fake oriental, and its members are good at spitting. It was amusing to read about their deeds. I also enjoyed reading about what happened to the severed leg (yes, you read correctly, there really is a severed leg in this book) and how Una visited the zoo.
Reading about the giant, Vast'un Jeepers, was intriguing. The author has created a good background for the giant, because he tells fluently about what happened to him and how he was taken apart.
I also want to mention that the tidal wave caused by the asteroid is an interesting part of the story. The author has managed to incorporate it well into his story.
Part Two begins with a man wondering what a gibbous moon is. This leads him on a quest that is filled with surprises. I won't reveal more about the happenings, because that wouldn't be fair to readers, but I can say that Part Two is simply marvellous. I enjoyed everything about this part and the final chapter ("Sample Dialogue Between Two Westerners") was like an icing on the cake.
I love the author's quirky sense of humour and his way of delivering puns, because he writes humorous and amusing fiction in an effortless way. This book has plenty of humour and many amusing scenes that will please readers. The humorous elements are highly enjoyable, because they're genuinely funny and clever.
By the way, if this is your first introduction to Rhys Hughes' fiction, you couldn't have chosen a better book to serve as entry point to his stories, because The Honeymoon Gorillas has all of his trademarks: creativity, imagination, humour, puns, strangeness, surrealism, plot twists and excellent prose. If you enjoy this book, I strongly urge you to take a look at the author's other books, because they're amazing.
I can recommend Rhys Hughes' The Honeymoon Gorillas to readers who are interested in reading something different, because it's an excellent novel. It's a deliciously strange and unique reading experience that will fascinate readers with its creative weirdness and surreal happenings.