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Blankety Blank: A Novel of Vulgaria
By: D. Harlan Wilson
Reviewed by Michael Gibbs


 

Throw a handful of Salvador Dali paintings into a large pot of boiling water, add the films American Beauty and A Clockwork Orange, sprinkle in a few Saturday morning cartoons (preferably Looney Tunes), this is as close of a recipe you will get to understanding how D. Harlan Wilson cooked up his latest novel,  Blankety Blank: A Novel of Vulgaria.

Taking place forty-four years from now (because Lou Diamond Phillips is currently 46 and his character in the novel is 90),Wilson gives us a peek into the underbelly of a suburban community where residents live in look alike McMansions, have theme based parties for social recreation, and own many futuristic appliances and things, such as a BMW Futique with a Knight Rider KITT brain kit. Though his wife, Francisco, thinks skeletons have minds of their own and hers may be haunted and his son, Rutger Jr., feels he may be a werewolf and has an obsession with collecting shrunken heads and his daughter, Layke, may be a nymphomaniac, Mr. Rutger Van Trout seems mostly concerned with his constant evolving farm, which starts with the construction of a silo, and his pets, consisting of an exotic praying mantis, a cow, an anteater, etc. 

Oh Yeah…not to mention that their Vulgairan suburb is being terrorized by Mr. Blankety Blank, a serial killer with a barbershop pole for a head, who pre-warns many people in the community that he is going to be serial killing in their neighborhoods.

Blankety Blank is a surreal ride that often reads like a Zen Koan question that has no rational answer. The humor level remains high throughout the Bizarro novel due to the absolute absurdity within the pages. For instance, imagine Freud and Jung in a WWE cage match, or a couple of married bodybuilders trying to out pose each other at a costume party.

 Here’s a short excerpt from Wilson’s wacky dream world:

The shine blinded one construction worker. He slipped, fell, and parachuted to the grass. Mr. Van Trout put on sunglasses and admired the man’s decent.

Even Mr. Blankety Blank’s ultraviolent killings, which are explained in brutally dark detail at times, come off as slap stick comedy. Filled with fictitious interludes of essays, short histories, definitions, quotes, haikus, and a parable, you are given much information to chew on. In A Short History of the Werewolf, the author writes that werewolves derive from berserkers, who have a “legendary reputation for their horn-sharpening, drag racing, and bocce ball skills.” Though these short histories becomes tedious in Chapter 12: The Short History of Grand Rapids, one can’t help but question if this is another Wilson joke adding to the irrationality of it all.

If you like surrealism, science fiction, thrillers, or like them all mixed together into a Bizarro treat, this novel will keep you entertained and turning the pages. I rate the novel a 5 star read and highly recommend Blankety Blank blank blankety blank blankety blank…….

 

Blankety Blank is available from Raw Dog Screaming Press
http://www.rawdogscreaming.com/blank.html
ISBN 978-1-933293-57-8 (hardcover)
ISBN 978-1-933293-50-9 (paperback)

 

 

 










   
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