Hardcore Horror & Bizarro Collide... October 30, 2010
The three stories presented here are tied to an apocalyptic underground community known as The Harbor (two take place post, while the title tale goes down before all hell breaks loose).
In 'Blood and Bubblegum,' we're introduced to some seriously strange characters who are involved in an ever-growing organic narcotics trade, including protagonist Juan and a fecal-demon that lives in his rectum. This is by far the weirdest entry here, and features a fresh look at vampirism.
'The Place In Between,' shows that a revenge story can be done in a fresh manner: Del's wife Luci is having an affair with her drug supplier, Sancho. Sancho and Luci eventually manage to get custody of the invalid Del, and Sancho uses this as payback time from their navy days (apparently Del had done something to ruin Sancho's career). The story becomes an extreme torture tale, one that made me wince a few times...but Del manages to turn the tables via a Faust-ish deal with a demon. Rage also gives another fresh spin here on ghosts, making this a perfect blend of hardcore horror and bizarro goodness.
In the final piece, 'Bad Notion, Traveling Potion,' we return to The Harbor and learn more about The Good Doctor (responsible for creating drugs and mutants) and his created servant, the scene-stealing hybrid man/chimp, Tugmunkee. This one was a bit of a chore to follow, but in the end Rage brings it all together. While some people in the bizarro community frown upon stories centered around drug use, this one works as the "tripping" scenes are just a side-note to the real weirdness.
THE PLACE IN BETWEEN is gross, disgusting, funny, horrific, and disturbing, yet at the same time it's quite entertaining. Rage writes with his conscience thrown out the window (that is, if he had one to begin with), yet unlike some more extreme stuff I've read, he actually knows how to WRITE a story around the grue. I'm keeping my eye on this guy as he truly lives up to his last name. Show Less
This is my third Steven Rage book, and I'm going to admit that I always have a hard time trying to figure out what to say about his work. The stories, the characters, the world it all takes place in--everything's so intense that it becomes difficult to figure out what elements to grab onto.
Okay, so, with that out of the way... With this new one, The Place in Between, Rage gives us three stories. Two return us to The Harbor, a dark, gritty world full of sex, violence, greed, cruelty, exotic drugs dealt by vampire dealers, people trying to screw one another over, and anything else you might expect to go hand-in-hand with all that. At first glance, this world seems comfortably far from our own, but on reflection, it appears uncomfortably close. To my mind, The Harbor (rather than the characters or the stories) is the focal point. It's more than a setting or even a character of sorts. It's a worldview (and one I can only hope is not the sum total of Rage's own real-life worldview).
The title story goes outside The Harbor and gives us a look at Del, a man who, when confronted with evidence that his wife was cheating, unsuccessfully attempts suicide and ends up confined to a wheelchair, unable to speak or even breathe on his own. And then he's released to the care of his cheating wife and her lover. To the outside world, they're a devoted wife and good friend. Privately, they taunt, torment and torture the helpless Del--until a demon shows up to help him. Ah, but it's not quite that simple: Rage starts the story out with the Euripides quote, "The gods visit the sins of the fathers upon the children." And Rage weaves this theme into the characters' backstories, giving the story an extra dimension.
If you're already a Rage fan, this is a worthy addition to your collection. If you're not, I think it would be a good starting point--but only on a day when you're ready to be adventurous and deal with something that might come across as a bit confrontational.
Sick, Disgusting, Vile...and Genius October 7, 2010
Sick? Absolutely. Genius? Perhaps. Rage? All the way.
We have a certain adoration for Steven Rage at the Authors Speak. He may be one of the sickest, most twisted writers writing today, but there's a mad brilliance to his work. Reading one of his texts is like growing wiser while simultaneously suppressing the urge to vomit. And, there's the funny, too. Rage brings the funny in a big way.
I'm no fan of shorter fiction. I'm not sure why, and I'm not sure why I feel the need to say that everytime I review a collection. I guess I say that because it speaks worlds when I do like a collection. "The Place in Between" is a brilliant collection of some of Rage's best work to date. And, if you're going to do short fiction, at least tie it together. Steven Rage does this flawlessly.
On the surface, the stories in "The Place in Between" are some classic noir pieces that we've heard before. If you've read Rage's previous works, well, you know the man has a few tricks up his sleeves. Rage pulls out all the stops to showcase his twisted reality in which these tales take place. The landscape itself becomes a character of his crazy brain, thus giving these somewhat familiar tales a whole new slant.
"The Place In Between" is the title of the strongest piece in the collection. Imagine a Fasutian tale that were written and directed by John Waters and David Lynch and you start to gather a little of where Steven Rage's mind is. The book feels heavily influenced by both talents - the seedy, dark, weird spliced with the scatological.
Go ahead and order it, folks. But be warned: this book is disgusting. You'll need a strong stomach to handle it. But the reward and payoff is huge. It's not gross for the sake of gross. It's dark fiction at it's finest. Show Less
nobody is more brilliantly repulsive than rage September 7, 2010
reading steven rage is a little like being a mother who ran out of diapers even though you're locked in a room with a baby who has been living on nothing but 5-alarm texas chili. sure, there are times when you want to puke, but you can't help loving the baby anyway. yes, rage is still gruesome, sickening, twisted, gross, horrific, morose, profane, disgusting, morbid, blasphemous, shocking and repugnant. but these are not the only compliments i can bestow upon this promising new author. but we'll get to that bit later. the 3 short stories that comprise this book are pure rage. the first and last story bring us back to that familiar setting, the harbor. these stories have all the requisite characters and elements that you would expect if you've read steven's earlier work. there are vampire drug lords, addicts, whores, demons that crawl out of people's rectums, perverted sex and all the dregs of society in the darkest of dark settings and situations. they are well crafted extensions of his earlier work, and there is even an effort to tie some of the stories together. visiting this setting again was a blast! he really did have something to add that was compelling and kept the pages turning as often as it kept your stomach turning. he even threw in a few surprises like an artificially created chimp-man and a sexy chicken or two. the first story relies a lot on the modern street venacular again, while remaining intelligent and creatively devised. the last two stories were not so dependant on modern slang, as the lead characters were not the sort of (shall we say) 'sludge' that would need to speak that way. this allows a more clear visage of rage's ability to exhibit a writing prowess that is more accessible to a wider audience. the harbor stories do give rage fans a lot to be thankful for in expanding the previous stories with bizarre, twisted putridness. yet, my favorite story by far was the title story in this book. that is because rage steps away from the harbor and explores a new setting with a whole new disturbing set of circumstances. i truly believe that if rage continues to grow and expand and explore new horizons (especially in new settings), he can reach his full potential as a great writer. much as before, there is an intelligence to this dude's work. his gift as a storyteller is being more finely honed in this work. the fact that he has spent time working in a hospital is apparent, and it comes through in his stories. i can honestly say this is my favorite of anything i have read from him thus far. he's getting dangerously close to getting a 5-star review from me.....and that's not easy to do when writing something that is so far removed from 'ordinary literature'. so to sum up.....yes, this has all the disturbing, grotesque, alarming, horrible elements that you'd want to see in 3 strories by rage...it also has all the fine storytelling.....and he is growing and improving as a writer. i recommend this collection of stories, but i also recommend that you (metaphorically) stock up on diapers first. if he keeps expanding his horizons, he will be a supurb voice and visionary for our dark, backward, malevolent times...even if he remains the pessimistic, ignoble saint and demented sick ticket that we all know and love.Show Less
Violent, Confrontational, and Fascinating July 11, 2010
"Brutal Bible Tales" is a fascinating book. It's violent, confrontational, and might even be uncomfortable in places, depending on your sensibilities. Rage takes a selection prominent Biblical figures and and puts them in a contemporary world full of drug dealers, gangsters, pimps, prostitutes, perverts, and even vampires. But this is not just a facile, updated retelling of old stories, nor is it shock value simply for the sake of shock.
Rage uses the Biblical material as a starting point to tell his own stories. This book is well-thought-out, told in a distinctive and confident style that keeps the reader turning pages. If you want to complain that some of the sex and violence is gratuitous, I won't--I can't--argue the point. I'm not sure I'd want to say that "gratuitousness is the point" is ever a valid defense, but then again, I would insist that in a book like this it's better to go too far than not to go far enough.
The book gives us a new context for looking at this source material (if I may call it such), like a cynical Sunday school teacher telling the kids, "This is what these stories are really about." And maybe it is, if you can approach the book with no expectations and just let it be what it is--tales of greed, ambition, betrayal, cruelty--and ultimately, salvation. As I said earlier, this is not shock value simply for the sake of shock. But if it shocks you, maybe you needed to be shocked.
This is a short book; you could read it in a single sitting, as I did--twice. Even so, Reverend Rage somehow manages to give us a story that has the scope of a full-blown novel without skimping anywhere. It's fascinating, scary, out-and-out repulsive at times, and even amusing in a few places. (I love Sammy, the crusty old ghost-dad who lives with Westphal.)
The book tells an intricate story, dark and gritty and bizarre--I don't know if Rage claims them as influences, but it makes me think of Chuck Palahniuk and Philip K. Dick collaborating on a horror novel--set in a world of drug dealers, prostitutes, porn producers and otherworldly beings. This world, as well as the story, is well-realized and full of the kind of detail that makes it feel authentic. Everything is extremely vivid.
Westphal, the central character, is a drug-addicted loser who's just one screw-up away from losing his job at a hospital, and who finds he's gotten in over his head with his drug dealer. In fact, I would imagine most of us know, or have known, at least one Westphal in real life. There's much more to it than that, but talking more about the various threads and themes in the story would be running the risk of giving away spoilers.
Suffice to say it's a story full of imagination and weirdness, a story that invites you to give a little thought to what it takes to maintain some control over your life, and to take a look at your capacity for good and evil.
Do you like to read a book where you're a character in it and you really sorta wish you weren't (but you still totally love that you are)? Do you like reading books that take you out of this world and into the weird, amazing, thoughtful world the author has ready? You won't find a more twisted, delicious, dark, and unique tale of the ups, downs, and insides of dying in some sort of peace than You Morbid Westphal.
This book will stab you in the guts and string your entrails from here to hell. Where Pilate was an age old story brutally told, YMW is a brutal story told with the voice of a dark angel who strips the reader down to nothing but the absolute truth about evil. Rage does this with voice, action and tight story telling. A natural storyteller, Rage moves us into the deeper and darker aspects of bizarro and horror, while not clinging to the restraints of the genre; in fact, not clinging to any restraints. While the plot gets laid out and moved quickly, the imagery and characters leave you jumping from peak to horrible peak with a ferocity that brings the reader back to the core of all that is horrible. Rage's voice, true , clear and unpretentious, is what I like the most about his books and stories, as well as his sick and twisted sense of humor.
But his characters, who guide us to the depths of the plunge with their dark actions, somehow manage to inspire sympathy and understanding from their human characteristics. All of these aspects tie it together for a surprise ending that makes sense.
I recommend this book for anyone who has the guts to read it.
Reading this book, you get the impression that Steven Rage is actually a really nice guy. You feel like he's a guy with whom you can share a nice brewski and watch some kind of sports on TV. But beware, because underneath the everyman persona, Steven Rage is one sick man. The evidence of his twisted mind is You Morbid Westphal, a brutal noir tale of drugs and demons.
Steven Rage shows us the life of Westphal, a male nurse who works twelve hour shifts and gets most of his nutrients from hard drugs. Westphal lives in a dillapidated apartment with his ghost stepdad and a pet fetus, the most economical companion of all. Through the story we get to see Westphal move about in the desolate town of Harbor, having casual run-ins with demons and drug dealers. Westphal's life sucks, but it's actually WAY worse than he thinks.
If you're a fan of dark and brutal stories, I definitely recommend Rage's work. The narration is raw and blunt, but he's created very interesting characters to populate this dark and moody world. It never comes off as "shocking for the sake of being shocking." You Morbid Westphal is a fast-paced tale that winds itself up and releases with a deadly and violent twist ending. If you think you've got the stomach to see the brutal blackness squirming around in Steven Rage's mind, give this a read. After all, he's a very nice guy in real life.
This is a collection of poorly-written short stories that, despite its price, is not worth the purchase.
The writing is amateurish, trite, and predictable. It's almost as if a group of Book Club friends all submitted a story for a collection. There are a few good ideas, and certainly some stories are better than others. But unfortunately the overall quality is terrible.
To get a sense of the writing quality (or lack thereof), read the other reviews. As far as I can tell, all the 5-star reviews were (shamelessly) written by the authors themselves. The reviews, just like the stories themselves, are full of grammatical errors and typos.
You live your final days lying in a hospital bed, unable to move or take of yourself while gritting through constant pain waiting for the madness to end. Unfortunately, your heinous deeds during life are coming full circle and sweet death continues to be stayed by the demons that torture you keeping you just this side of the living. One such demon, Morbid, spawned from you through some unholy means dispatches other hospital patients in gruesome fashion. Meanwhile, a male nurse named Westphal makes his way through life looking to make just enough money to score his next drug buy and take care of his ghost stepfather and pet unborn fetus. This is harbor hospital, and this is the end of your life.
Rage's sophomore novel You Morbid Westphal takes place in the harbor similar to his first novel PILATE: A Brutal Bible Tale. All of the graphic, disturbing and gruesome imagery Rage demonstrated his prowess at in the first book return in this offering. However, in this chapter, these elements seem a less gratuitous, a little more muted, and more securely woven into the fabric of a very disturbing tale. This novel is not for the faint of heart and is extreme in all ways imaginable - really, I'm not kidding. None-the-less, Rage is incredibly creative and talented. It's hard to fathom what hell might be like - unspeakable pain and agony - perhaps. But I think Rage paints a picture that drives home the concept of a living hell one must suffer due to their heinous choices in life. If the real thing is anything like this, one can only hope and pray for redemption and salvation.
Rage parallels some biblical themes once again, though in an unholy bizarro fashion and throws in a twist at the end reminiscent of the 1987 movie Angel Heart [Blu-ray] starring Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro and Lisa Bonet. For those who enjoyed Pilate - you will find an even better book in Westphal.
wonderfully warped, divinely demented December 3, 2009
when it comes to the grotesque and bizarre, rage thinks outside the pine box (casket, that is). this is a short but tasty little treat for those who like their literature to run on the sick and twisted side. as with his book about pilate, rage combines a knowledge of modern street/drug culture and slang with an intelligent wit and a lyrical sense of prose. although written in prose, it has a certain poetic flow that maintains the sick depravity you expect to see in rage's work. it's short, but complete unto itself. it doesn't need to be any longer than it is...and it almost comes off as reading like a morbid, morose, sick, demented, profane version of The Iliad and The Odyssey (in form, not in content). and it really is worth reading...if you like this kind of sick stuff, which I do. as i said, it's not just gross...there's an intelligence and a worthy writing style in rage's work. it's hard to explain. all i can say is: if i were ever to be reincarnated as another charlie manson, i would definitely want steven rage in my family. this is an inventive story of woe and regret and sex and things crawling out of notoriously uncomfortable body orafices that is not to be missed. if you like the demented and bizarre, give this short but tasty little number a try. it's like chicken eyeball soup with entrails for your shriveled, rancid soul. Show Less
Steven Rage hits his stride and finds a home December 1, 2009
When you read this book, you may need to take a few hits of Plata or Valium to get through, or not, and experience the entire book, page by page, as Steven Rage intended it - to scare, to upset, and to start and keep you thinking.
There is a large ripple in the Evil Nerd Empire printing company universe. Steven Rage has found a home and a place for him to write to his heart's content and has a built in audience of horror readers who will want for more. Bravo that he's found a home for his readership - Steven Rage is a brilliant writer in his genre.
Is a Steven Rage book for the ordinary reader??? No way. Every page is not for the faint of heart. It deals with lots of drugs, dead people, aborted fetuses, and someone like Westphal who works in a nursing facility and literary 'has his way' with the patients.
In order for more drugs, he appears in a 'porn' flick that is uneasy to read as it was for Westphal to participate in.
Is this and other Steven Rage works for everyone? No. That is why I tell you I know the brilliance of the man, been a fellow writer in the first Shameless Shorts Short Story Anthology, and read his book PILATE on Harborside's (a suburb of Phoenix) modern version of Pontius Pilate and Jesus - brilliant, but violent, as the story was.
He is talented and his audience is specific - one who understands that Mr. Rage pulls no punches, nor cushions any situations - it is what it is.
You Morbid Westfal is not everyone's cup of tea. But for afficianados of the morbid, and horror, The Evil Nerd Empire Publishing has opened its arms and given Mr.Rage a forum for his talents, which are formidable. I look forward to more from Steven Rage. Show Less
You Morbid Westphal is not a book for the faint of heart. Do not give this to your ten year old. Do not try to teach it in seventh grade English. Do not read it if you don't want to be disturbed and excited. There are plenty of mildly horrific titles out there for those of you who think hot water is better than espresso or milk is better than whiskey. You Morbid Westphal explores a nasty situation in the life of a man who is surrounded by sickness and death and eager to escape the pain. It's a brutal indictment of drug addiction, healthcare practices and American decadence that is sure to leave you squirming. But if you're up for some of the hard stuff, you'll dig this.Show Less
Like early Tom Piccirilli mixed with Edward Lee November 10, 2009
I read and liked this author's first book PILATE. It was an impressive debut. But when I got this one, his second, I knew I had to expect more from Steven Rage. When reading novels, I always expect more from later books (and therefore am a little tougher when reviewing them) and I didn't want to be disappointed.
I was far from disappointed with this book. Like another reviewer said, Rage's first book, the style often got in the way of the story. With YOU MORBID WESTPHAL, Rage made sure to cut things down to the bone and tell the story more directly while still keeping his unique voice.
The plot sort of reminds me of early Tom Piccirilli horror novels. There's a certain ambiguous occultism involved that's very intriguing. There is also some hardcore grossness that is also reminiscent of Edward Lee. Not to say that Rage has imitated them, I just get that feeling from this book.....which is a good thing.
My only criticism is the length. If this is the first in a series of books, then the criticism is negated. But if it's a standalone, I'm just a little bit disappointed in not finding out more about some of the minor characters. They are all so interesting. Also, the ending is good and wraps everything up but I was hoping for something a bit less traditional. It still worked well and was a satisfying ending.
The setup of the book was unique, with each chapter being from a different point of view (You, Morbid, & Westphal). It might confuse people at first but then you get into it and it flows nicely.
Overall, this is an improvement over Rage's last book and is worth a read if you like bizarre horror novels. Get on the Rage train while you can because I have a feeling that he'll be getting bigger and bigger with each new book. Show Less
All the Rage - You Morbid Westphal November 3, 2009
The concept of "You Morbid Westphal" shouldn't have worked at all! There's no way it was supposed to. I've seen some experimental fiction like this before and watched as it plummeted into the abyss face-first leaving irate readers in its wake. This is supposed to be that sort of book...
...but it succeeds...beautifully.
For starters, the title You Morbid Westphal is setting up the three main characters. You...as in you...yes, you, Morbid, a malicious little beastie, and Westphal, who's just trying to get through the graveyard shift at the hospital you're in. These are the three main characters and they share the piece in circular stories. The "you" portions of the book read like a "Choose-Your-Own-Adventure" book...placing you right in the action. You're responsible for birthing Morbid. You're not going to have a very good night. You're experiencing it as it unfolds. This style is not my typical fare, but I was captivated by it. I loved seeing what havoc was unfurling around my world. Meanwhile you get the other two stories (obviously connected). One follows Morbid as he indulges his macabre whims and the coke-addled Westphal. Should you find yourself in a hospital, pray it isn't this one. In fact, I'm not above the cliché...I'll say it: You Morbid Westphal does for hospitals what Jaws did for beach getaways!
Steven Rage is a masterful storyteller. He weaves a world that his painted in black and white hues, where anything can happen (and often does), and his brutally visceral. I realize that this is a horror tale...I guess you could call it that. It's got more emotion than your typical horror fare. I felt the emotional rollercoaster travel from repulsed to humored to moved and back again. And the end...well, I'm not the one to spill the beans, but rest assured, you'll not know what is in store for "You" until you reach the final pages.
My biggest complaint with the book was the length. I craved more, which is a wonderful thing, and wanted to see more of the story fleshed out. I make no bones about it...I'm a longer fiction type person. But I never dismiss a solid story, and this was certainly that. The fact that I wanted more should attest to the quality.
Too, at first I was a little confused with the circular-style storytelling. It's a three ring circus...not a crazy train that has too many clashing storylines...but in the beginning it is a little confusing.** Please keep reading, though. In the end it's worth it all and Steven Rage does bring it together nicely.
If you like your horror visceral pick this up. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Show Less
I don't know if the authors were trying too hard to write in a different style than they normally do, but most of the stories seem contrived. Some tried to be shocking and were instead predictable. A few were stilted; almost Dick and Jane-like. A couple were baldly self promoting. I can't comment on the stories toward the end of the book because I gave it up as not worth the time.
A wonderful step forward in Rage's career October 30, 2009
To be honest, Steven Rage's first book, "Pilate: A Brutal Bible Tale", only half-worked for me. There was certainly a compelling tale to be told but you had to cut through the style to get there. I accept that I may be in the minority here but that was my initial reaction. After the "adjustment period", if you want to call it that, Pilate really opened up and revealed a wealth on nearly realised potential. Rage was tantilisingly close to writing a great book.
Flash forward a few years and an unsuspecting literary world is handed Rage's next book, You Morbid Westphal. Set in a hospital, the title of the book is derived from the three main characters. Born fully formed from a rather unpleasant orifice is Morbid. His game is to stalk the hospital wings and violently (very violently!) dispatching helpless patients. Next we have Westphal. He works nights at the hospital trying to support, what some my call, a rather dysfunctional family. With Morbid reeking havoc in this very unfortunate hospital, the one thing Westphal doesn't need is to be blamed for Morbid's actions. It would do his job no good. The "You" in this book's title literally refers to "you". You are a dying patient who wants to die as peacefully as possible. There are elements at work that want to prevent this from occurring.
From the description above, you could be forgiven for assuming this is going to be a rather confusing story. I'll allay your fears right from start and assure you that Rage waves this tale brilliantly. The details of the story are lucid and feverishly entertaining. The hyper violence is contextualised in such a way as to avoid gratuitousness. The book is brief, clocking in at just under 140 pages, which gives You Morbid Westphal and element of frenzy. In this format everything works. It's hard to imagine the tone sustaining over a longer period.
You Morbid Westphal is very highly recommended and a real treat for anyone who enjoys their fiction warped to breaking point and smeared in blood. Rage has applied all the lessons he learned with Pilate and written that great book!
Downloaded and read PILATE. I thought it was excellent. Being brought up Catholic, I was very familiar with "the source material". In its own right that is a very powerful story. Compound that with street violence and mega-violence of the most extreme horror variety and you get a story that any horror fan would eat up. I highly recommend it.
vivid, explicit, inventive and engrossing...with fangs on it! May 30, 2009
Overall, I found this to be a great, rather grizzly book with a fine grasp of horror, modern culture and even a certain reverence. Rage blatantly gawks at the darker side of our modern world and draws certain biblical parallels...using vampires. He adeptly mixes our current youth venacular with graphic, brutal horror imagery, a respectable dark poetic prose and a decisive intelligence. This is an author I'd like to see more of. The violence, and sex references are raw, explicit and he just holds nothing back. His grasp of the underside of our culture and the drug trade filter through in a gritty, unapologetic in-your-face prose. But he's not afraid to display an impressively morbid poetic side. The plot is well-thought-out. It is a grimly well paced thrill ride of horror and suspense. You just have to keep turning pages to see what happens next. His parallels to the modern story and the biblical text of the last days of Jesus are inventive and inspired, in a grotesque deformed sort of way. There is material here that I'm sure would cause religious conservatives to say, "There is blasphemy here that would make Jesus roll over in his grave (you know, if he hadn't already risen from the dead)!" Yet, there is a strong, revery that shows a certain connection to faith. Personally as an agnostic, I would have enjoyed the book more if Rage had avoided the religious connections and just stuck with a straight vampire story. But that's just my personal opinion. There is a religious connection that comes together as the book rolls along, but it is still a graphic, nasty horror tale with vampires, drug lords and even a little sex. Rage's command of story and pacing shows a lot of promise for the future. And although I'd like to see him stick to more strictly secular horror stories, this is a brutal, graphic author I'd like to see more from. As someone who enjoys graphic, explicit horror, I can strongly recommend this book...and keep 'em coming, Steven! Never let your fangs go dry!
Ok this is my second go at writing a review about Pilate, so here goes. I read Pilate over a few weeks, and after reading this book I actually read it again a few weeks later. There is so much going on in Pilate, and sometimes I got a little lost in the story. But although I am not myself a religious person, I think Stephen did an excellent job of taking a known figure and story and twisting it into an original and entertaining (if not devilishly dark) tale that can be enjoyed by anyone lacking a weak constitution. The details and exacting descriptions he gives in the telling of this story are graphic and perfect, unlike anything I have ever read so far. The imagery in this book is awesome, and everything comes together nicely at the end. I like the buildup to the climax, its heady, dark and heavy, and fitting to the tone of this writing. Kudos to you Stephen, keep up the twisted writing!Show Less
I recieved PILATE via e-mail (an e-book) and began reading it right away. I read the whole thing that night. I can say that it was a great story, but I think it needs some work.
First, it needs an editor. I found many missing words (the, his, her, on, etc) and while most readers could simply figure it out, it did slow down the story playing out in my mind. Having to re-read a sentence to solve the missing word was a little road bump.
The other problem, in my opinion, was the use of words such as "nigga", and "shorties", [...] I do agree that certain language is needed to accurately portray a character (what kind of bad-guy uses phrases like "gosh-darn" and "shucks"), but I don't think it fits when the author him/herself uses those words to describe someone or something. It seems careless, or not thought out... maybe even a little trying-too-hard. An author is a master of words and should write as such, while the characters should speak in a fitting way to who they are.
The conflict between a very touching, though non-traditional for certain, story of Jesus... and then the violent/gutter/evil scenes are interesting. I read all types of books, and I rarely read something that is true to life (in terms of good and evil). When reading a Christian literature book about someone finding their way to God, you never get the real nitty gritty dirt of their previous life. Or, when reading a girly romance novel, you never are told the unpleasantries. Things are mostly good in a good book, mostly scarey in a scarey book, mostly (fill in the blank) in a (fill in the blank) book. This book goes from one end of the spectrum to the other. There were parts in the book that I would want my grandmother to read (I really enjoyed the entire modern Jesus interpretaion), but there were also parts that would make me never speak of the book in her presence (for fear she would try to read it!).
Other than the few things I would have changed before releasing it (if it had been my own book) I did enjoy PILATE. It is certainly NOT the creep-show that some people made it out to be. I was not cringing in overwhelming disgust (well, maybe once). It wasn't the shock I thought it would be, but it was worth reading. I am glad I found it. I will watch for other books by this author and I look forward to seeing where his career takes him. This is certainly a good start.
Oh, and this is also the first official "bizarro" book I have read, so take my review for what it is worth. I am a newbie to this genre and am certainly no expert!!!!!
Note: This book contains graphic violence, illicit drug use, non-consensual extreme sex, and potentially offensive material given the religious references.
In the drug lord controlled area know as "The Harbor", biblical figures have been reincarnated. Immanuel, also known as El Cristo (Christ) is a young woman who has come to save those enslaved by an extremely addictive drug. She changes the lives of those she encounters - such as Pedro (Peter). However, her success negatively impacts drug trafficking.
Pilate, one of the drug lords, is an immortal vampire working for Herod the mayor of "The Harbor". Due to Immanuel's success, Pilate misses one of his quotas resulting in Herod brutally torturing Juan de Batista (John the Baptist) and Mary Magdalene. Pilate is infuriated by this betrayal.
The story follows the resulting power struggle between Pilate and Herod as well as Pilate's frequent visions of his past vampire lives. Through these visions, released by Immanuel, he comes to understand who he really is and the ultimate choice he must make in this life.
Steven Rage's "Pilate" is Bizzaro fiction, a genre I admittedly have no experience with. I found the references to illicit drug use and associated language difficult to follow given my unfamiliarity with the subject matter. I also had difficulty the first few chapters given Rage's unique writing style and cadence. However, my inner ear eventually tuned into this style and rather than being distracted, it resulted in my complete immersion into the bizarre world Rage created.
I did find it odd at times that while the characters in the novel were well aware of historical biblical figures, other than El Cristo, no one seemed to realize they were the reincarnations of these figures. It was also occasionally confusing which "sides" the characters were on though I believe Rage was demonstrating the internal struggle they battled between good and evil.
Rage has created an incredibly creative and detailed, though disturbing world. Fans of this genre will find Rage's "Pilate" a unique, creative, fast paced, brutal, dark, and bizarre novel.
If Donald Goines wrote a vampire novel..... November 25, 2008
Truthfully, I'm not the hugest fan of vampire fiction. It's not that I don't like vampires..it's because there is so much trash that passes for vampire fiction nowadays (i.e. Twilight, etc). So I was pleasantly surprised when I had the chance to read this book.
It's sort of like Donald Goines writing a horror novel. It's similar to Goines because of the detailed use of the urban/drug culture. The author seems knowledgeable in the subject unlike many horror/crime authors who stick drugs into the story without knowing a damn thing about it.
The author writes dialogue as if he's actually hearing it (similar to how Elmore Leonard writes dialogue.) With the drug dealers and murderers we meet in PILATE, it would sound pretty silly if sounded like people straight out of suburbia. This is one of Rage's strengths.
Some of his prose is unique and relaxed which might turn some people off but will definitely grow on you as you read on. It also presents a style that is all his own.
I guess one problem I had was that it was a little bit confusing as to which side each character was on. I felt a little bit confused but I thought that the author more than made up for it in the violent and suspenseful scenes.
The idea of transferring biblical mythology and vampires to a modern ghetto setting is pretty unique. If you think about it (vampires in the ghetto..) it could've very much came out campy but Steven Rage avoids this completely.
Those of you who are fans of Hardcore Horror will be pleased. There are some pretty violent and bloody scenes.
Overall this is a unique book. I guess it could be considered a horror novel but it's not really scary. That's not a BAD thing, really. Edward Lee is horror but his stuff isn't scary either (at least not to me...). This is a new take on the vampire subgenre that's worth reading. Show Less
Pilate- A Brutal Bible Tale is such a weird re-telling of the story of Jesus and His disciples and His Resurrection. However, once the reader becomes involved with the characters- vampires and all - it's a hard book to put down. Mr. Page does a fine job of drawing us in- into the violence and all. Demons work the streets of The Harbor, selling drugs, while "the good guys" do their best to stop them from spreading evil and discontent among the people. Brutal Bible Tales stays with us long after we've turned the final page. Good job, Mr. Rage.Show Less
So much better than you can imagine! August 14, 2008
Alright, I am going to be the person to admit it. I saw Bible tale and I crused outloud. But on full faith and the great Ellen, I bought this book.
The religious story, is merely the forefront of the novel. Instead Mr. Rage gives us a passionate world of dark bitterness and despair!
There are so many twists in this book, you get a great feeling for the characters among a dark canvis. Plus its the ultimate game of cat and mouse with reincarnation, and Jesus as a girl! I knew there was something to the paintings with the long hair.
Excellent all around. Will read it again, certainly worth the money!Show Less
Pilate A Brutal Tale 'ain't' your Momma's Bible story!
I am delighted that it is available on Kindle - I plan to have it sent to my Kindle. I am keeping books that touch me in my Kindle.
Steven Rage has written an alternate land, The Harbor. There are vampires, drug dealers, rank language that will shock you and make you stop. Pilate is a drug-lord. Immanuel is a young woman and is the Christ in this incarnation of the Passion. The story goes from brutal to brilliant to magestic and is an amazing read.
Is it for everyone? No.
This book will make you think. It reminded me of Kazanzakis' The Last Temptation of Christ - not because it reads like that, but with that book and this book, you MUST think - Many books do the thinking for you - that's why this book is so great - you must think it through -
You will run the gamut of emotions and by the incredible ending, you will be spent.
Rage's treatment of Pilate is amazing. No matter if Christ is portrayed as a woman, or as He was before, the story is just as strong, powerful, and violent. And the triumph is with you to the core.
Can you tell I like this book? Yes.
I have never read a book with so much palatible violence. The world Steven Rage created is a scary one. But some can triumph and transcend.
Just know when you are thinking of reading this book, brace yourself for one WILD ride.
I will read the next 'Harborside' book of the series, Jonah Job. Rage is an excellent writer.
PILATE HAS TO BE ONE OF MY UTMOST FAVORITE BOOKS OF ALL TIME. NOT ONLY DID I WAIT ON PINS AND NEEDLES TO GET IT, I READ SNIPPETS OF IT IN STEVEN RAGE'S MYSPACE BLOG. TEASED BY THE WRITINGS AND HOW THEY WOULD END I COULDNT WAIT FOR THIS TO GET IN AT THE LOCAL CHRISTIAN BOOKSTORE!!!
THIS STORY TELLS OF THE LAST DAYS OF THE CHRIST IN THE MODERN WORLD. IT WILL TAKE YOU ON A TRIP NOT ONLY IN YOUR READING BUT ALSO IN YOUR MIND. THE "MIND VISUALS" ARE DISTURBING AND OHHHHHHHH SO HORRIFIC. I LOVE IT!! GORY, BLOODY, DETAILED AND YET JUST A WONDERFUL READ. THE VIOLENCE IS SO GRAPHIC. DEFINITELY NOT FOR THE WEAK. I HAD TO STOP A FEW TIMES TO KEEP MY LUNCH DOWN!!!
STEVEN RAGE DID A MAGNIFICENT JOB ON THIS BOOK AND I CANNOT WAIT TO READ HIS NEXT IN THE "HARBORSIDE" SERIES TITLED JONAH JOB.
THANK YOU STEVEN RAGE FOR WRITING A BOOK THATS NOT YOUR EVERY DAY VAMPIRE NOVEL.Show Less
This enthralling story elaborates on Pontius Pilate's ill-fated destiny and carries the reader into the vivid depths of utter horror in this modern day Biblical vampire story. A truly well-written fable with a good moral message for our detached society...when good people do nothing; evil flourishes. Looking forward to the second installment in Rage's series!!!
Steven Rage has written an enthralling horror tale March 27, 2008
The Harbor is a crime filled, drug infested place. In that environs Pilate is a notorious drug dealer working for mob kingpin Herod. Over the past few months Pilate has failed to meet his assigned quota so his superior fires him and replaces him with an even more ruthless soul. He also has Mary Magdalene murdered. Pilate brings Mary to Immanuel, whose disciples insist she is the Christ. She raises Mary from the dead and kisses Pilate resulting in his remembering his past lives.
Except for his first life, Pilate was a vampire performing evil deeds during the Inquisition; during the California Gold Rush and he feasted while the plague devastated London. He kept on making the same errors and Immanuel knows her time has arrived to fulfill her mission on earth. Will Pilate betray her as he has done when she was Jesus or will he finally learn the eternal lessons?
This is not an inspirational work nor is it blasphemous (at least in my liberal mind). The story line uses biblical villains and places them reincarnated in the present where they repeat their evil deeds as they have done often in the past, but documented two millennia ago. Immanuel and the disciples with the exception of Judas, who finally remembers his first betrayal, are treated with respect and honor in this unique religious horror thriller. Steven Rage has written an enthralling tale that brings back the time Jesus walked Israel to his walking the present United States.
This brilliant alteration of biblical accounts into a modernized tale of drugs, death and deception is not for the easily offended or faint of heart. With graphic scenes of violence, sex and torture Steven Rage has given us a view of Christ's final days had he lived in our modern world. His unique cadence and elaborate descriptions vividly animates every aspect of his writing. Whether offended or captivated, whoever reads this book will not soon forget it.
Reading the first couple of chapters, I told The Wife, "This is absolutely the most violent thing I've ever read!" Reading more, the violence continued unabated but it all fit in. This wasn't just savagery for the sake of being shocking. Once you get over the initial impact, the story is compelling and extremely well written. Between work, The Wife, and The Boy, I'm kept pretty busy so I had to hide out in the bathroom to finish the book.
My advice to you: sneak this book and some snacks and drinks into your private hiding place (or bathroom) and settle down for a good read.Show Less
This story illuminates in our modern world one of the most powerful stories ever told. Rage is a natural story teller and with his compelling and clear voice, he spins imagery so detailed and brutal that it grips the heart, mind, soul and body at once. Then, in the moment of pain and discomfort the light and courage of Christ shines on the darkest part of humanity. If you liked the Passion of Christ or any other painful tales of horror, you will love Steven Rage.