Leonard Marcs is temp-to-hire at the Adventurer’s Guild, and like most of the freelancers in Castaway, has no memory of coming to this dodgy little town at the bottom of the Multiverse. All he gets are terrible quests, and when he’s not blackout drunk, he’s being accosted by strange entities who seem to know him. His friends think he’s being paranoid, but when Leonard finds a fish nailed to his door, it awakens forgotten memories of a sinister conspiracy, sending him on a reality-shredding voyage across the mysterious Levels.
Title: Levels | Author: Karl Fischer | Publisher: Bizarro Pulp Press | Pub. Date: 31-Aug-2020 | Pages: 158 | ISBN13: 9781950305339 | Genre: Fantasy | Language: English | Unstarred Review | Source: We received a copy from the publisher for review consideration
This is almost the weirdest damned thing I’ve ever read. Almost. Slaughterhouse Five keeps that crown by a slim margin. Except the difference is I hated Slaughterhouse Five.
This is one of those books that, like Amnesia Moon, is best read when drunker than a skunk because then it’s almost a sane read. To be truthful, I have no clue what I just finished reading. I just know it was batshit crazy, full of imaginative dumbfuckery, and a book that I would probably recommend to friends just to watch the range of emotions sure to splay over their horrified and yet mesmerized face. I’m slightly evil, but having finished this book, I can assure you that so is the author. Elsewise there’s no way he would have come up with… *gestures to the book* this.
Now, I hope you didn’t take that as a bad thing, because it’s not.
Fischer twisted my brain a few times with Levels. Sometimes his shenanigans worked brilliantly and for the first half of the book I was highly amused. The third quarter, though, just felt like too much and fell flat. Luckily the fourth quarter it simultaneously toned down on the bull and picked up on the craziness, so even though I had the uncomfortable feeling of reading a slightly more insane version of Slaughterhouse Five, I was there for it.
So, what I’m saying is… if you feel the need for something absurdly insane that’ll leave you blinking at the page in somewhat amazed stupification, Levels is the book for you.
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Lilyn G is the founder of Sci-Fi & Scary, and leader of the Kali Krew. She does book and film reviews for both genres the site focuses on. Her tastes run towards creature features, hard science fiction, and lots and lots of action. She also has a soft spot for middle-grade fiction that rears its head frequently.
Though no longer involved with Ladies of Horror Fiction due to other responsibilities and a too-full plate, she was one of the original 4 co-founders.
Feel free to chat her up on Twitter as long as you aren’t hitting her up to review your book.
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