Posts Tagged Town Drunk

The Town Drunk, March 2008

Similar to last month’s issue, the March 2008 issue for The Town Drunk is one for two yet again. 

“The Importance of Portents” by Jason E. Thummel tells the story of a local soothsayer named Zoltar and the up-and-coming mechanical competitor that threatens to ruin his readings forever. When his clients begin cancelling more frequently, Zoltar really grows agitated that such a contraption could read peoples’ fortunes better than he. Forced to turn to unsavory actions, the soothsayer will soon learn that not everyone’s future can be so easily predicted.

You know, I’m going to consider a story beyond successful if it actually makes me laugh out loud. And this one did, right here:

Zoltar crumpled the paper and set it aflame with an igniting spell. So, they wanted to play hardball, did they? Well, he would just go to Cheapside and show them how hard his balls could be.

With prose almost gleefully enjoying itself more than the reader can, “The Importance of Portents” is a fun adventure. The ending happened appropriately enough, despite the sudden POV switch that made it seem half-heartedly pieced together. I’m sure there could’ve been another way to write it to better portray Zoltar’s outcome while sticking in his mindset.

Rating: 8.5 anonymous stars out of 10

“Lampreyhead Meets the Vampire Slaughterers” by Tim W. Burke sounds like the title to a lost episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Luckily, it isn’t. A hell-spawned and somewhat awkwardly-produced hero by the name of Lampreyhead enters a club in downtown Montreal for the sole purpose of slaughtering vampire slaughterers. You know, before they get him. Things quickly get out of hand, and our hapless hero finds himself surrounded by every genre cliche in the book: werewolves, fallen kings, vampires, smoky demons, and so on.

The story is heavy on being, hmm, light. There’s no a lot of emotion to the piece, and the dialogue and characters came off as rather slapsticky. It’s not that the story fails completely–there’s a nice moment of humor when a waitress delivers a nice slab of raw hamburger meat to a you-know-what–but for the most part the plot never slowed down to take itself seriously. And where there’s humor, there needs to be a balance of other weights. Also, the cast got too big way too fast, and I found myself trying to figure out everybody else first before I even gave one ounce of affection toward our slow-to-the-jump protagonist. Oh well.

Rating: 6 anonymous stars out of 10

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The Town Drunk, February 2008

The Town Drunk is a webzine that bills itself as “publishing lighthearted and humorous short stories that contain elements of science fiction, fantasy, or the supernatural.” Usually, they are spot on with that claim. Except here they falter with one story, which I’d call science fiction but never lighthearted or humorous. Instead, words that come to mind are upsetting and this-made-me-uncomfortable. Exactly.

In “The Curse of the Friendly Forest” by Rod M. Santos, Sir Duncan is seeking the Bright Lady. When the trees are reluctant to help him, a trail of falling apples will eventually lead him to her home. There he hopes to find refuge from the Ebon Knight, a dastardly fellow that likes eating children covered in cranberry sauce. Only the Bright Lady may not be the saving grace Duncan was looking for…

This is Disney all disturbed. Or Monty Python freebasing. One of those. It’s also a fun, enjoyable story that is quick with the humor and satisfying with the plot. The Friendly Forest…is it rightfully named? It rings true of many fairy tale tropes, but Santos takes them for a fun ride, keeping the momentum going forward as Sir Duncan and the Ebon Knight battle for blood. I particularly liked the Bright Lady, a narcissistic lonely woman that gabs her heart out, regardless if anyone is listening. The better of the two stories in the February issue.

Rating: 8.5 anonymous stars out of 10

“Gimpbomb Enters Room” by Matthew Beyis a chatroom transcript. In it, a character by the screenname of Gimpbomb is looking for girls to chat with, but only finds adbots. And not just any adbots. These are the Cylon versions of new-wave advertising. You won’t even know what hits you until…well, they start schlecking soda pop and brand names your way. This, the notion, is humorous. What spews out of Gimpbomb’s keyboard, however, is not. The story is rated “beware” for chatroom profanity levels and strong sexual innuendo. The twist at the end is nicely done, but for all that it still isn’t worth sludging through all the filth. Is this what a chatroom (do people still use them?) transcipt actually looks like? Possibly. Does it make for a good narrative device? Nope.

Rating: 4.5 anonymous stars out of 10

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The Town Drunk, January 2008

The most current issue of The Town Drunk presents two very different yet equally humorous stories: “Panko” by Zdravka Evtimova and “Naked Revenge” by Sonya M. Sipes.

We’ll start with the story about a donkey. “Panko” is both the story’s title and donkey’s name, and what a beast he is! The twenty-something-old donkey is dying and his master, Uncle Pesho, can’t stand to see his cart-puller suffer. Rather than let death just take the animal he decides to cut the poor thing up into minced meat. And then sausages. Evidently, the meat turns out to be magical, and good fortune abounds for all that take a bite. Men begin throwing themselves at the ladies, asking for hands in marriage, and greed quickly sets in as a business venture is soon revealed.

Fun, fun, disturbing when you really think about it, and lastly fun. That’s how I’d describe “Panko” to one of you chaps on the sidewalk. And it didn’t end in the way I thought it would. I worried it was going to set itself up for a “learn a lesson” curtain drop, but it didn’t. Still, the idea of women hungry for magical donkey meat is both out there and enjoyable. Give it a read, and see for yourself if you like the taste too.

Rating: 7 anonymous stars out of 10

Now, “Naked Revenge” by Sonya M. Sipes is a quick piece of flash that deals with some cliche subjects all while retaining its charms. A woman/man seeking refuge in an upperclass community has come down with a…sickness, you might say. You know, the kind that makes people late for work the day after a full moon. Anyways, the change is approaching and for Mrs. Cuthbertson, a leering neighbor, revenge is on its way. The last line of the story brought a chuckle out of me. Which was surprising. This is funny stuff.

Rating: 8 anonymous stars out of 10

One thing I feel worth mentioning about The Town Drunk is that I love that they offer work-safe ratings in terms of content, as well as PDF versions of the individual stories in each issue. Overall, this was time well spent on two light-hearted and entertaining stories.

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