||Dog Horn Publishing
||1996/ reprint 2012 and 2015
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Dog Horn Publishing
Rarity from the Hollow
A children's story for adults. Graphic horror contrasted with laugh-out-loud satire.
Lots of critical reviews and blurbs are available on:
Piers Anthony found that this novel was "not for the prudish." Kevin Patrick Mahoney, editor of the once noteworthy site, Authortrek, found that it was "not for the faint hearted or easily offended...." An early voice in the first chapter speaks about hings that no chld should know. It is the voice of a traumatized child -- a voice that most of us never listen to or want to hear, but which in real life is screaming. this passage is mild in comparison to some of the stuff that kids have said during actual group therapy sessions that I facilitated as a children's psychotherapist over the years. By child developmental stage, it is similar to the infamous adolescent insult in E.T.: "...penis breath...." It is tame in comparison to the popular T.V. series, South Park, which was devoured by millions of teens.
Except for a scene involving domestic violence in the third chapter, there is no violence. There are no graphic sex scenes in the novel, but there is one scene involving a ghost inhabiting a maple tree that by very conservative perspective could be considered erotic, sort of. The renewed romance between the protagonist's parents does include off-scene sexual reference. The android's pursuit of humanity is reality-based and a developmentally accurate description of male adolescence sexuality. However, Lacy Dawn never lets the android get farther than to kiss her on the cheek. The android falls in love, all consuming love by the middle of the story, but he expresses no interest in sex. The "F word" is use once or twice, but there is no other profanity.
The "R Rating" primarily is based on recreational marijuana smoking, a practice that while many teens are involved in, is not intended to be encouraged by this story. Research into the medicinal use of marijuana for treatment of PTSD, Bipolar Disorder, and Anxiety Disorders is advocated by publication of this novel.
Lacy Dawn is the true daughter of Appalachia, and then some. She lives in a hollow with her worn-out mom, her Iraq war disabled dad, and her mutt, Brownie, a dog who is very skilled at laying fiber optic cable. Lacy Dawn's android boyfriend, DotCom, has come to the hollow with a mission. His equipment includes infomercial videos of Earth's earliest proto-humans from millennia ago. He has been sent by the Manager of the Mall on planet Shptiludrp to recruit Lacy Dawn. She must save the Universe from a threat to its economic structure (capitalism) in exchage for designation of Earth as a planet eligible for continued existence within a structure that exploits under-developed planets for their mineral content. Lacy Dawn's magic enables her to save the universe, Earth, and, most importantly, her own family.
Excerpt of Review by Adicus Ryan Garton, Atomjack Science Fiction Magazine:
“Imagine Wizard of Oz and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy smashed together and taking place in a hollow in the hills of West Virginia. Now you have an idea of what to expect when you sit down to read Rarity From the Hollow…unabashed, unashamed exploration of the life of young Lacy Dawn, as she learns that she is the savior of the universe. The naked, genderless android, Dot-com… Add her abusive father, her weak-willed mother, a sexually-abused ghost for a best friend…trees that talk to her, a dog that can communicate telepathically with cockroaches and so much more. There is so much to this story, and its writing is so unblinkingly honest…spares us nothing…her father beating her and her mother, the emotions…the dark creeping insanity that eats away at her Iraq-veteran father, and the life in general of people too poor, too uneducated to escape. In part, it is a grueling exposition of what children endure when …abused. …the only way…to escape is to learn that she is the savior… strong, tough, smart—all those attributes that any child should have—and she reminds us that children are survivors, adaptive and optimistic.
But don't think you're going to be reading something harsh and brutal and tragic. This book is laugh-out-loud funny at times, satiric of almost everything it touches upon…The characters from the hollow and from the planet Shptiludrp (the Mall of the Universe) are funny almost to the point of tears.
...It's absolutely fantastic…."
COZY IN CARDBOARD (1st chapter -- Note: the italics for head thoughts did not post correctly. I couldn't get the font icons above to work. Short sentences without attribution are head thoughts of the previous speaker in the dialogue.)
Inside her first clubhouse, Lacy Dawn glanced over fifth grade spelling words for tomorrow’s quiz at school. She already knew all the words in the textbook and most others in any human language.
Nothing’s more important than an education.
The clubhouse was a cardboard box in the front yard that her grandmother's new refrigerator had occupied until an hour before. Her father brought it home for her to play in.
The nicest thing he's ever done.
Faith lay beside her with a hand over the words and split fingers to cheat as they were called off. She lived in the next house up the hollow. Every other Wednesday for the last two months, the supervised child psychologist came to their school, pulled her out of class, and evaluated suspected learning disabilities. Lacy Dawn underlined a word with a fingernail.
All she needs is a little motivation.
Before they had crawled in, Lacy Dawn tapped the upper corner of the box with a flashlight and proclaimed, "The place of all things possible -- especially you passing the fifth grade so we'll be together in the sixth."
Please concentrate, Faith. Try this one.
"A, R, M, … A … D, I, L, D, O," Faith demonstrated her intellect.
"That's weak. This is a bonus word so you’ll get extra points. Come on."
Lacy Dawn nodded and looked for a new word.
I’ll trick her by going out of order – a word she can't turn into another punch line.
“Don’t talk about it and the image will go away. Let’s get back to studying,” Lacy Dawn said.
My mommy don't like sex. It's just her job and she told me so.
Faith turned her open spelling book over, which saved its page, and rolled onto her side. Lacy Dawn did the same and snuggled her back against the paper wall. Face to face -- a foot of smoothness between -- they took a break. The outside was outside.
At their parents’ insistence, each wore play clothing -- unisex hand-me-downs that didn’t fit as well as school clothing. They’d been careful not to get muddy before crawling into the box. They’d not played in the creek and both were cleaner than the usual evening. The clubhouse floor remained an open invitation to anybody who had the opportunity to consider relief from daily stressors.
"How'd you get so smart, Lacy Dawn? Your parents are dumb asses just like mine."
"You ain't no dumb ass and you're going to pass the fifth grade."
"Big deal -- I'm still fat and ugly," Faith said.
"I'm doing the best I can. I figure by the time I turn eleven I can fix that too. For now, just concentrate on passing and don't become special education. I need you. You're my best friend."
"Ain't no other girls our age close in the hollow. That's the only reason you like me. Watch out. There's a pincher bug crawling in."
Lacy Dawn sat almost upright because there was not quite enough headroom in the refrigerator box. She scooted the bug out the opening. Faith watched the bug attempt re-entry, picked it up, and threw it a yard away into the grass. It didn't get hurt. Lacy Dawn smiled her approval. The new clubhouse was a sacred place where nothing was supposed to hurt.
"Daddy said I can use the tarp whenever he finishes the overhaul on the car in the driveway. That way, our clubhouse will last a long time," Lacy Dawn said.
"Chewy, chewy tootsie roll. Everything in this hollow rots, especially the people. You know that."
"We ain't rotten,” Lacy Dawn gestured with open palms. “There are a lot of good things here -- like all the beautiful flowers. Just focus on your spelling and I'll fix everything else. This time I want a 100% and a good letter to your mommy."
"She won't read it," Faith said.
"Yes she will. She loves you and it'll make her feel good. Besides, she has to or the teacher will call Welfare. Your daddy would be investigated -- unless you do decide to become special education. That's how parents get out of it. The kid lets them off the hook by deciding to become a SPED. Then there ain't nothing Welfare can do about it because the kid is the problem and not the parents."
"I ain't got no problems," Faith said.
"Then pass this spelling test."
"I thought if I messed up long enough, eventually somebody would help me out. I just need a place to live where people don't argue all the time. That ain't much."
"Maybe you are a SPED. There's always an argument in a family. Pass the test you retard," Lacy Dawn opened her spelling book.
Faith flipped her book over too, rolled onto her stomach and looked at the spelling words. Lacy Dawn handed her the flashlight because it was getting dark and grinned when Faith’s lips started moving as she memorized. Faith noticed and clamped her lips shut between thumb and index finger.
This is boring. I learned all these words last year.
"Don't use up the batteries or Daddy will know I took it," Lacy Dawn said.
"Alright -- I'll pass the quiz, but just 'cause you told me to. This is a gamble and you'd better come through if it backfires. Ain't nothing wrong with being a SPED. The work is easier and the teacher lets you do puzzles."
"You're my best friend," Lacy Dawn closed the book.
They rolled back on their sides to enjoy the smoothness. The cricket chorus echoed throughout the hollow and the frogs peeped. An ant attempted entry but changed its direction before either rescued it. Unnoticed, Lacy Dawn's father threw the tarp over the box and slid in the trouble light. It was still on and hot. The bulb burned Lacy Dawn's calf.
He didn't mean to hurt me -- the second nicest thing he's ever done.
"Test?" Lacy Dawn announced with the better light, and called off, "Poverty."
"I love you," Faith responded.
"Me too, but spell the word."
"P is for poor. O is for oranges from the Salvation Army Christmas basket. V is for varicose veins that Mommy has from getting pregnant every year. E is for everybody messes up sometimes -- sorry. R is for I'm always right about everything except when you tell me I'm wrong -- like now. T is for it’s too late for me to pass no matter what we do and Y is for you know it too."
"Faith, it's almost dark! Go home before your mommy worries," Lacy Dawn's mother yelled from the front porch and stepped back into the house to finish supper. The engine of the VW in the driveway cranked but wouldn't start. It turned slower as its battery died, too.
Faith slid out of the box with her spelling book in-hand. She farted from the effort. A clean breeze away, she squished a mosquito that had landed on her elbow and watched Lacy Dawn hold her breath as she scooted out of the clubhouse, pinching her nose with fingers of one hand, holding the trouble light with the other, and pushing her spelling book forward with her knees. The moon was almost full. There would be plenty of light to watch Faith walk up the gravel road. Outside the clubhouse, they stood face to face and ready to hug. It lasted a lightning bug statement until adult intrusion.
"Give it back. This thing won't start," Lacy Dawn’s father grabbed the trouble light out of her hand and walked away.
"All we ever have is beans for supper. Sorry about the fart."
"Don't complain. Complaining is like sitting in a rocking chair. You can get lots of motion but you ain't going anywhere," Lacy Dawn said.
"Why didn't you tell me that last year?” Faith asked. “I've wasted a lot of time."
"I just now figured it out. Sorry."
"Some savior you are. I put my whole life in your hands. I'll pass tomorrow's spelling quiz and everything. But you, my best friend who’s supposed to fix the world just now tell me that complaining won't work and will probably get me switched."
"You're complaining again."
"Oh yeah," Faith said.
"Before you go home, I need to tell you something."
To avoid Lacy Dawn's father working in the driveway, Faith slid down the bank to the dirt road. Her butt became too muddy to reenter the clubhouse regardless of need. Lacy Dawn stayed in the yard, pulled the tarp taut over the cardboard, and waited for Faith to respond.
"I don't need no more encouragement. I'll pass the spelling quiz tomorrow just for you, but I may miss armadillo for fun. Our teacher deserves it," Faith said.
"That joke's too childish. She won't laugh. Besides, dildos are serious business since she ain't got no husband no more. Make 100%. That's what I want."
"Okay. See you tomorrow." Faith took a step up the road.
"Wait. I want to tell you something. I've got another best friend. That's how I got so smart. He teaches me stuff."
"A boy? You've got a boyfriend?"
Lacy Dawn put a finger over her lips to silence Faith. Her father was hooking up a battery charger. She slid down the bank, too.
He probably couldn’t hear us, but why take the chance.
A minute later, hand in hand, they walked the road toward Faith's house.
"Did you let him see your panties?" Faith asked.
"No. I ain't got no good pair. Besides, he don't like me that way. He's like a friend who's a teacher -- not a boyfriend. I just wanted you to know that I get extra help learning stuff."
"Where's he live?"
Lacy Dawn pointed to the sky with her free hand.
"Jesus is everybody's friend," Faith said.
"It ain't Jesus, you moron," Lacy Dawn turned around to walk home. “His name’s DotCom and….”
Her mother watched from the middle of the road until both children were safe.
The Most Enjoyable Science Fiction
The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in several years
Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton is the most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in several years. Who could think of an intergalactic handbook for entrepreneurs? Who could turn a tree-hugger into a paranormal event of death-defying significance? Who could create characters so believable, so funny, so astonishingly human (and not)?
Robert Eggleton, that’s who.
I put this book on my IPhone, and it followed me everywhere for several days. Strangers smiled politely at my unexpected laughter in the men’s room toilet stall. They looked away as I emerged, waving the IPhone at them as if it might explain something significant.
Oddly, the novel explains a great deal that has become significant in our society. Rarity from the Hollow is satire at its best and highest level. It is a psychological thriller, true to traits of mankind (and other species). It is an animal rights dissertation (you will laugh when you understand why I write that). It celebrates the vilest insect on earth (make that Universe).
The characters created by Robert Eggleton will bug your brain long after you smoke, uh, read the final page. Thanks for the laughs, the serious thoughts, the absolute wonder of your mind, Mr. Eggleton. A truly magnificent job.
You have my permission to use this however you see fit, with the following attribution:
Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former Reader’s Digest editor
Review: “Rarity from the Hollow,” Robert Eggleton
Posted on May 29, 2015 by Heather — No Comments ↓
Pros: It’s unique!
Rating: 4 out of 5
Rarity From the Hollow , by Robert Eggleton, is a bizarre and unique tale. It involves a gigantic alien mall, telepathic roaches, a ghost inhabiting a piece of firewood, competitive shopping, an android that’s turning human and dealing with puberty, an early-teens girl who’s being paid by aliens to save the universe, and a whole lot of weed and erections. Also, it includes an intergalactic yard sale.
I found one major aspect of the writing confusing until I finally figured it out (maybe it should have been obvious, but it’s just so unusual). After many conversational pieces, there’ll be a second brief paragraph that looks like conversation but in plain text with no attribution of any kind. What made it even harder to grasp was the fact that they seemed like thoughts of different people. It’s so rare for books to go the full third-person omniscient route that it took me a while to realize that’s exactly what Eggleton was doing. So, whenever there’s something that reads like thought or dialogue but doesn’t have quotation marks, it’s a thought taken from the mind of whoever just had the last dialogue line.
Despite the fact that the main character (Lacy Dawn) is a girl in her early teens, this isn’t a book for that age group. Most of the sex-related humor is pretty harmless (near-constant erections, lots of masturbation, some off-screen sex, and a ton of teasing), but there are some early background pieces that involve child molestation and other types of child abuse. The volume of erections and masturbation got a bit old, but that kind of humor is very reader-dependent.
I found the side characters more interesting than Lacey. There’s DotCom (the android), Tom (the harmless pot-growing neighbor), Lacy Dawn’s parents (they start out abusive and literally get a personality overhaul a short distance into the book), Faith (the dead friend of Lacy Dawn), and Brownie (the dog). DotCom becomes pretty annoying when he undergoes puberty and the constant accompanying erections get pretty old, but he eventually recovers.
I can’t really get into how Lacy Dawn is expected to save the universe, nor what she’s supposed to save it from, since a large portion of the book is occupied with figuring out those two pieces of information. I will say that the book drew me in well enough that I really wanted to know how they would pull it off, and I enjoyed the payoff.
Posted in Reviews Tagged with: aliens, humor, Robert Eggleton, satire, Science Fiction, scifi, SF
May 29, 2015
Is Rare Indeed!
Rarity from the Hollow – is rare indeed
Posted: June 13, 2015 in 4 Star Reviews, Fiction, Sci-Fi
Tags: blogging, book club, book reviews, books, fiction, humor, reading, writing
4 of 5 Fucked-In-The-Head Stars – Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton.
This book is fascinating. And then, just when you thought it was going to get even more awesome, it goes full-on derpy derp, and gets stupid as fuck. It pissed me off so much. I don’t know why books fail so often at being awesome throughout. It’s like they just lose their mojo halfway through, and say ‘fuck it’. Or in this author’s case, I’m pretty sure he just got high as balls and just started pulling shit out of his ass.
This book is about a twelve-year-old girl named Lacy Dawn, and her android boyfriend from another planet, aptly named DotCom. I say it’s apt, because DotCom is responsible for all the email spam in the entire universe. And there’s actually a big spammer in the real world named Kim DotCom. So that kind of cracked me up.
Now, I’m not going to keep calling this stupid girl ‘Lacy Dawn’. Because if you tell me your name is ‘Lacy Dawn’, I’m going to call you ‘Lacy’. I mean, that just makes sense to me. Until I’m corrected, anyway. Nobody in this story ever even tries to call this girl ‘Lacy’, and I find that absolutely ridiculous.
Lacy has a very dysfunctional family. Her dad is a stoned-out drunk fucker that is suffering from PTSD from the Gulf war. He beats the ever-loving shit out of his wife and Lacy all the time. You know, for fun. He does it the old-fashioned way, with a switch. Or for them city-folk, a branch from a tree.
Which is fine, because Lacy has actual conversations with trees. Oh, and ghosts. Well, one ghost. Her name is Faith, and she lives in a tree. And she’s a fucking asshole. But she does have good advice for Lacy from time to time.
The two-thousand-year-old DotCom android devises an evil plan to save Lacy’s parents. He’s gonna hack their motherfucking brains, and make them better. Because he’s sick and fucking tired of seeing his little student get beaten by her parents.
You see, he doesn’t even recognize that Lacy thinks he’s her boyfriend. He’s just an android doing a job. Securing Lacy’s employment for a very important mission. To save the world, of course.
And this is where it goes full-on derpy derp. You see, to save the world, Lacy must go shopping in the biggest mall in the universe. No, not to get supplies, or something. That would make sense. No, she needs to go shopping to save the world. Like nobody is better at shopping than Lacy and her new and improved parents.
And yes, Lacy introduced DotCom as her boyfriend, and her parents were of course shocked. That is, until they noticed he was lounging around naked, and he had no cock or balls to speak of. Just smooth as a fucking Barbie doll down there. But not to worry, he learns how to grow some junk later, when he finally accepts Lacy’s love.
But wait, there’s an evil cockroach plot! I mean the goddamn cockroaches are taking over the mall. And they’re taking over Lacy’s dad’s pot farm. Because of course he has a fucking pot farm. Because you would have to be high as fucking balls to write this shit. And the characters are constantly getting high, because apparently, you can’t even participate in this story without being high as balls.
The last third of this book is about DotCom teaching Lacy’s dog to communicate with roaches. So they can figure out what the fuck is going on. What can they do to help the roaches? Get ’em to move the fuck out of the mall, and out of dad’s fucking pot crop. But seriously, if you can train the dog to talk to the roaches, why couldn’t you just train Lacy to do it? Oh because it’s cool to actually have a conversation with a dog. Which pretty much always goes like this: “Gimme bacon!”
So with the help of Lacy’s dog, they negotiate a treaty with the roaches, and find them a new home. Well, it’s not a new home. It’s just the home they left thousands of years ago. But it’s good as new now. So they move in and decide to call it ‘Earth’.
This book really was fucking crazy. None of it made any fucking sense. It was a total cluster-fuck from beginning to end. And I fucking loved it. Because the author’s writing style was absolutely brilliant. He weaved in first person and third person narratives like every other paragraph. And the imagination on this guy… Damn.
GET WASTED! You may want to be high as balls before reading my book. It confuses sober people. http://amzn.to/1wKcVK6
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Reader Reviews for "Rarity from the Hollow (reprinted)"
|Reviewed by robert eggleton
|A Universe On the Edge
RARITY FROM THE HOLLOW. Robert Eggleton. Doghorn Publishing. Published 2012.
Lacy Dawn is a little girl who lives in a magical forest where all the trees love her and she has a space alien friend who adores her and wants to make her queen of the universe. What’s more, all the boys admire her for her beauty and brains. Mommy is very beautiful and Daddy is very smart, and Daddy’s boss loves them all.
Lacy Dawn, the eleven year old protagonist, perches precariously between the psychosis of childhood and the multiple neuroses of adolescence, buffeted by powerful gusts of budding sexuality and infused with a yearning to escape the grim and brutal life of a rural Appalachian existence. In this world, Daddy is a drunk with severe PTSD, and Mommy is an insecure wraith. The boss is a dodgy lecher, not above leering at the flat chest of an eleven-year-old girl.
Yes, all in one book.
Rarity From The Hollow is written in a simple declarative style that’s well- suited to the imaginary diary of a desperate but intelligent eleven-year-old – the story bumping joyfully between the extraordinary and the banal.
The central planet of the universe is a vast shopping mall, and Lacy Dawn must save her world from a menace that arrives in the form of a cockroach infestation. Look again and the space alien has made Daddy smart and happy – or at least an eleven year old girl’s notion of what a smart and happy man should be. He has also made Mommy beautiful, giving her false teeth and getting the food stamp lady off her back.
About the only thing in the book that is believable is the nature of the narrative voice, and it is utterly compelling. You find yourself convinced that “Hollow” was written as a diary-based autobiography by a young girl and the banal stems from the limits of her environment, the extraordinary from her megalomania. And that’s what gives Rarity From The Hollow a chilling, engaging verisimilitude that deftly feeds on both the utter absurdity of the characters’ motivations and on the progression of the plot.
Indeed, there are moments of utter darkness: In one sequence, Lacy Dawn remarks matter-of-factly that a classmate was whipped to death, and notes that the assailant, the girl’s father, had to change his underpants afterward because they were soiled with semen. Odd, and often chilling notes, abound.
As I was reading it, I remembered when I first read Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle” at the age of 14. A veteran of Swift, Heller, and Frederick Brown, I understood absurdist humour in satire, but Vonnegut took that understanding and turned it on its ear.
In the spirit of Vonnegut, Eggleton (a psychotherapist focused on the adolescent patient) takes the genre and gives it another quarter turn. A lot of people hated Vonnegut, saying he didn’t know the rules of good writing. But that wasn’t true. Vonnegut knew the rules quite well, he just chose to ignore them, and that is what is happening in Eggleton’s novel, as well.
Not everyone will like Rarity From The Hollow. Nonetheless, it should not be ignored.
by Bryan Zepp Jamieson