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The Crud Masters by Justin Grimbol

The Crud Masters

by Justin Grimbol

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REVIEW ALSO ON: http://bibliomantics.com/2012/01/12/bizarro-blursday-cassie-la-reviews-the-crud-...

In this novel there are two warring factions, the Crud Masters, who take the place of the Greasers and the NOLA, who take the place of the Socs. The Crud Masters are the poor, sleazy yet loveable underdogs and the NOLA are the rich, stuck up preps that you know would win in real life, but you hope will be knocked down a peg in fiction. Fiction, where even the 1% get what’s coming to them.

Running parallel to this human class struggle, there is the added addition of robots and monsters, who end up in their own power shift. The robots and monsters each represent a different social caste, the expensive, shiny robots aligning themselves with the NOLA and the volatile, looked down upon by the public beach monsters who continually wash up on shore, called Dagoons representing the Crud Masters. Their name is possibly inspired by HP Lovecraft’s “Dagon”, about short story a hideous sea creature. Yes, the Crud Masters have a robot of their own named Soda Can (Soda Pop, Soda Can, get it?) but he is a discolored sex robot and unlike the NOLA and their transformer Swagatron, he cannot make appletinis. JD would love this robot.

Another institution in Grimbol’s world is a subculture known as Moddys, body modification junkies who take it to the extreme. There are characters who alter themselves to look like Klingons (if you are a “Star Trek” fan you will love all the references in this novella) and even a woman nicknamed Pussy Bear, who has the exact features of a bear with the exception of her large humanoid breasts. Think of that crazy man who turned himself into a lizard, or the tiger man except as common occurrences in regular society. Yes, this is set in the future.

In terms of characters, Snuggles is perhaps the most likeable. He’s big and cuddly and picked upon by others, particularly NOLA and you cannot help but feel for him. Especially when he’s walking around in his Star Trek uniform as if it’s the most normal thing in the world. He incites in others a desire to want to shelter him from the cruel harsh world, which is precisely what his best friend and fellow Crud Master, Boogers (named for an extreme allergy problem) does. Plus he reminds me of Snuggles the fabric softener bear.

On the other side of the coin is the Crud Masters version of Cherry, the girl who is unlike all the other NOLA kids/Socs. See the Cherry/Pony Boy relationship for more insight. Unlike the original Cherry though, this girl is laden with a strange, disturbing smelling pheromone that holds everyone around her under her spell, from sea monsters to her own brother. For some reason, in bizarro fiction authers seem to think they need to add gross bodily functions into their narratives. I disagree with this tactic. Weird and gross are not mutually exclusive.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the new slang I learned reading this book, called “Porky Pigging It”. This is when a person wears a shirt but no pants. As in, “He was so drunk he was Porky Pigging It all through town”. I’m sure if you chose, you could also call it “Donald Ducking It”, or whichever pant-less anthropomorphic animal you prefer.

The one glaring problem I have with this novella is the anticlimactic ending. I was laying in bed reading and was immediately confused when I hit print ads; this is because the story had suddenly ended. Suddenly and inexplicably. I went back and re-read the last few pages assuming I had zoned out and missed something, but no, what I had read was the ending, and in my mind it wasn’t a very conclusive one. ( )
  yrchmonger | Jan 21, 2012 |
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Some Giant Monsters,
Robots, and two gangs fighting
In future Hamptons.

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