Sunday, September 30, 2007

Shorts in a Wad: the review

From its clever title onward, Steve Krodman's little tome Shorts in a Wad: One Hundred 100-Word Stories delivers.

The book is a compendium of short-shorts: stories, poems, and meditative reflections on subjects ranging from Superman's ability to make diamonds by sending charcoal briquettes through his intestines (Superman is actually a recurrent trope in this book) to hilarious parodies of the great monotheisms to puns so corny that you'll laugh because you're groaning. Each story is, as advertised, 100 words long; Krodman's book is a happy little stack of self-contained universes, 10,000 words deep.

I have a special affinity for books like this because I tend to write in the "bathroom reader" mode as well: there's a substantial demand for shit-and-go reading, and while Shorts is by no means fixated on the scatological, the book is nonetheless a fitting crown for one's toilet tank-- and lest I be misinterpreted, let me make clear that this is a high compliment.

It's hard to choose among the shorts when trying to decide which one is best. I have quite a few favorites and expect that you'll have yours, too. "Graduation Exercise" had me rolling, as did the aforementioned Superman story, "Critical Mass." Speaking of "mass," I busted a gut reading "Waiting for Pentecost," which pokes fun at Christian tradition. I could go on, but you get the picture-- the book is a trove of good humor.

And not only humor: "First Love: A 100-Word Elegy" is sentimental food for thought, arresting in its beauty. The entire chapter "Future Imperfect" is funny, yes, but it also contains some very interesting ideas about the crazy future toward which humanity is shoving and dragging itself.

Krodman's 100-word pieces are simple and modular enough that you can read the story collection straight through from its first page to its last, or you can zigzag through it as randomly as you please, or-- and why not?-- you can start at the back and read your way to the front. It's no exaggeration to say that the book has something for everyone, but most of all it provides the reader a sometimes-funny, sometimes-frightening glimpse into the weirdly brilliant mind of its author.

Get your Shorts in a Wad today.

(Steve, I'll email you later with my bank account information...)

UPDATE: I'd like to contribute some back-cover blurbs if I can. You can use these if or when you do a second printing.

"I laughed so hard my nuts turned purple. Then green. Then they started barking."
--Kevin Kim, author of Scary Spasms in Hairy Chasms: A Panoply of Paeans to Putrescence and a Cornucopia of Corrosive Coprophilia

"The ultimate test of a work is whether it can distract you from an activity you love. I'm happy to report that Krodman's book is so compelling that I did the unthinkable and withdrew from my sheep to give his words my undivided attention."
--Kevin Kim (etc.)

"Jesus is NOT going to be happy."
--Kevin Kim (etc.)

"I had a vision of my death after reading this book. Federal agents break down the hotel room door and find my day-old corpse in bed. I'm naked, dead of a heart attack, but instead of a Penthouse clutched in my left fist, it's Krodman's work. Honestly I can't think of a better way to die."
--Kevin Kim (etc.)

"Muhammad is NOT going to be happy."
--Kevin Kim (etc.)


1 comment:

Elisson said...

Why, that review left me all choked up. In a good way. Think "sexual asphyxiation."