Thanks to ebooks the traditional barriers to publishing books have begun to fall away, which means greater freedom for authors to write about what they really want. The results are of course mixed, with some great books along with a few that should probably have remained unwritten. One thing is for sure, there are now more books than ever before that deal with a variety of bizarre topics. Discounting the non-fiction titles, which range from toilet etiquette for dates to how to traumatize your children, here are four fiction titles with some rather unique storylines.
Proving that books with very strange subject matter is not just a recent occurrence is Finnegans Wake by James Joyce. In fact, the style and content of this book has earned it a reputation as one of the most difficult to read in the English language. It is written in a stream of consciousness writing style, but also includes literary allusions, puns and portmanteau words, which makes it rather tricky to follow the plot. The titualar Finnegan is a man who dies while constructing a wall by falling from his ladder. After this, things become very weird with his wife presenting his corpse as a meal at the wake and the dead Finnegan coming back to life after getting splashed with whiskey. The book then moves on to other characters, but attempting any kind of summary is almost as hard as reading the story itself. Suffice to say that few books deal with topics as weird as Finnegans Wake.
Naked Friends is the tale of a totally normally guy, named Boner, who ends becoming a private detective thanks to an ad that he had forgotten he placed on Craigslist. Since Boner is living in a minivan and a little short on cash, he decides that he has got nothing to lose by taking the job. Things start out simple enough as his client, Jake, claims that some men with evil intentions are following him. Unfortunately for Boner, the investigation turns out to be a little more complicated than what he expected, especially when drugs and booze become involved. Although Naked Friends sound pretty straightforward, it features characters and situations that are anything but normal.
Anyone familiar with the story of the “Philadelphia Experiment” will get a kick out of this book by Kirk Jones, provided that they can stomach the twisted humor. Starring a lead character, Ed, who is an objectophile the story of Journey To Abortosphere becomes very weird very quickly. Initially Ed is in love with a shoehorn, but after it breaks he turns his affection to what he th inks is a transistor radio. Without giving away too much of the plot, it features the USS Eldridge, time travel and a giant iron fetus with wormhole eyes. The story goes places that few others dare, so it is obviously not for the easily offended, but if you love weirdness this one is off the charts.
The Iron Dream by Normal Spinrad features the weird tale of an alternate history version of Adolf Hitler becoming a science fiction author after emigrating to the united states. He eventually produces a book called “The Lord of the Swastika” which goes on to win a Hugo Award. The Iron Dream is actually a book that is made up of three parts, the first dealing with the story of how Hitler became an author instead of leader of the nazi party. This is followed by the actual story, which features a man named Feric Jagger and his quest to eradicate subhuman mutants. The book then also goes on to provide a scholarly treatment of the story Hitler wrote. It is certainly a very weird topic for a book, but was written by Spinrad to demonstrate the similarities between the ideology of the Nazis and the themes of many science fiction books.