The Beauty and the Beasts

BeastThe Beast is a salacious piece of work. First published in 1980, Walter J. Sheldon’s bigfoot novel is filled with all sorts of touchy topics like bestiality, rape, cannibalism, religion and grubby small town politics.

In particular, the novel’s carnal content is off the charts. The shaggy shagging starts on page 16 and continues with regularity until the penultimate chapter. If you’re squeamish about sasquatch sex, then you might want to read something less sensational … like maybe Flowers in the Attic or Tropic of Cancer.

There are two strong female protagonists in Sheldon’s story: Zia Marlowe, a 25-year-old anthropology student, and Self, a precocious bigfoot teenager. Both are willful characters who keep the narrative thread burning from both ends.

Having seen 15 Times of Snow, Self has reached puberty and is consumed by her raging hormones. Says the author: “She tingled when males came near her, and sometimes just at the thought of them. Her vagina itched with desire.”

Unfortunately, a bigfoot penis is rather small (you didn’t know that, did you?) and Self quickly discovers there’s no such thing as postcoital reciprocity among partners. She sleeps with all the males in her troop and she never once feels a “great explosion of pleasure.”

But she’s heard tantalizing rumors. Even though their bodies are smaller, the penises of the “Pink Skin” males (humans) are supposedly bigger than a bigfoot penis. Fantasizing about these rumors keeps Self warm during long cold winters. “What would it be like to live in harmony with the Pink Skins?” she muses as she rubs restlessly between her legs. “What a nonsensical dream!”

Zia Marlowe is similarly obsessed. She has proof that there’s a bigfoot troop in the nearby mountains and she’s eager to find it. She’s 25-years-old, but unlike Self, she’s still a virgin. That doesn’t mean she wants to be a sexless spinster her entire life, however. She’s an exotic beauty “with a faintly oriental cast to her eyes,” and every man in town gives her a randy wink when they see her. For one reason or another, Zia has decided to forego sex until she finds her elusive sasquatch.

Like I said, she’s a tad obsessed. Zia wants to venture forth and bring back scientific proof that bigfoot exists (no killing involved she hopes). More than anything, she wants to bring truth to the world and establish an evolutionary brotherhood between bigfoot and man.

In one dramatic swoop, she finds out how close the two primates really are. Sex is the common link and poor Zia becomes the amative vessel for both a horny colleague and a bigfoot alpha male. It isn’t exactly the scientific proof she’s hoping for, but it’s definitely something Self, her sassy sasquatch sister, already figured out: All men are assholes.

[The Beast / By Walter J. Sheldon / First Printing: March 1980 / ISBN: 9780449143278]

Sharkenstein

Sharkantula“Throwing the gun” is an age-old trope of genre fiction. I don’t know exactly when it first popped up (probably in a Western or Detective movie), but I clearly remember reading Action Comics as a kid and seeing criminals toss their empty guns at Superman after running out of bullets.

Thus the term “throwing the gun” represents a character’s ineffective last stand. Or maybe it’s simply an exclamation of frustration. Either way, it’s a visual cue that underscores the dire situation. If you throw a gun at Superman it can only mean one thing—you’re about to get thumped.

A character does indeed throw an empty gun at the half-shark half-tarantula creature in Sharkantula, but that’s not the only genre-defining trope in Essel Pratt’s novel. There are others such as mad science, hybrid monsters, graphic dismemberment, horny teenagers, secret government agencies, creepy amusement parks and many, many more.

Don’t be mistaken, however; this isn’t a criticism from me. Embracing tropes is what genre fiction is all about, and it’s something you should expect from a book that advertises itself as a “B-Movie Novel.”

Wholly self-conscious, Sharkantula is intended for anyone who enjoys 50s-era monster movies and tokusatsu imports. Says the author early on: “Like a scene out of a cheesy Japanese monster movie, the girls dropped their cameras and screamed as Danae (the monster) hovered over them and snapped her jaws down onto their slender bodies.”

Once the hybrid creature is unleashed, it’s up to a daffy scientist and a group of teenagers to save the world (events escalate quickly in these types of stories). “With the hunting prowess of a tarantula and the insatiable hunger of a great white shark, Danae may be unstoppable,” says one of the desperate teenagers.

It quickly becomes apparent that the doctor and his young sidekicks are ill equipped for the job of saving the world. Armed with a collection of dopey weapons (like an aluminum trident, a wooden oar and an anchor prop), the team is hardly imposing. “We look like a rejected superhero group,” they agree. The Fantastic Lames.

In a novel-ending switcheroo, the author introduces a deus ex machina to defeat the rampaging shark. Sometimes described as a gimmick, this hoary plot device nevertheless remains a great way to spring a surprise ending on readers. I wouldn’t expect anything less. Long live genre tropes!

[Sharkantula / By Essel Pratt / First Printing: October 2018 / ISBN: 9781729249185]

Creatures from Infinity and Beyond

CreaturesBeyondDuring his time on this island earth, Terry Carr edited an astonishing number of tip-top science fiction anthologies. Not for nothing, he also co-edited one of the first books I ever read. World’s Best Science Fiction 1968 included a batch of great stories including Harlan Ellison’s career tentpole “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream.”

Despite the efforts of award-winning authors such as Brian Aldiss (“Full Sun”), Robert Silverberg (“The Silent Colony”), Clifford Simak (“The Street That Wasn’t There”), Theodore Sturgeon (“It”) and Eric Frank Russell (“Dear Devil”), there’s nothing that rises to the level of Ellison’s genre-uplifting story in this collection from 1975.

But that criticism isn’t totally fair. In no way does Creatures from Beyond purport to be the “best” of anything. If I had to guess, I’d say it was aimed at a juvenile readership, and was reflective of what the science fiction community thought kids would enjoy at the time—in other words, the content wasn’t as good as Robert Heinlein but it was waaaay better than Perry Rhodan and Tom Corbett, Space Cadet.

More importantly (to me), Carr’s anthology is 100 percent committed to strange, wiggly and slimy creatures. Truly, it’s like the prose equivalent of TOPPS Ugly Monster Stickers (look it up). You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy these tales of giant worms, swamp things, werewolves, blue Martians, plague creatures from Venus and otherworldly cats.

Although the two best efforts are unconvincingly facile, they are thoroughly entertaining nonetheless. Theodore Sturgeon’s giant monster smells like carrion and “moves with the slow inevitability that is the crux of horror.” For 27 pages the thing-made-of-mold drags its hateful putrescence across our earth before being reclaimed by nature.

Significantly more upbeat, Eric Frank Russell’s “ropy alien with enormous beelike eyes” helps facilitate a friendly relationship between Mars and Earth. “By cosmic standards we are a weak and foolish people,” explains the shipwrecked Martian to his new human comrades. “We are desperately in need of support from the clever and strong.”

Weirdly, the only bad story in the book is by the editor himself. “Some Are Born Cats” is simply too annoying and precious for anyone over the age of 13. But don’t let that distract you too much. In every other way, Terry Carr did a fine job of curating a wonderful collection of science fiction monsters from Infinity and beyond.

[Creatures from Beyond / Edited by Terry Carr / First Printing: January 1975 / ISBN: 9780840764591]

Écrasez L’infâme

OgreIn the beginning, the monster in Mark Ronson’s novel is far from overwhelming. Initially it’s described vaguely as a sheet of silver reflecting in the sun. A little like Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil, I suppose.

It takes a while for the author to get warmed up, but he slowly finds his groove. “Down the tunnel came a sound indistinct and liquid,” he wrote. “The pallid organism pulsed and glistened with mucosity.”

Eventually the monster blossoms into an unholy abomination with a history reaching all the way back to pre-Roman English antiquity (and beyond). But oddly, in no way did the gelatinous titular blob resemble an ogre. There was nothing Shrek-like about it. What’s up with that?

The explanation comes from Patricia Derbyshire, a character who conveniently has a university degree in Celtic history and mythology. Her lesson in etymology helps clarify the monster’s linguistic origins. According to her, ancient English religious cults worshipped a deity they called Ooga. Later, French author James Perrault borrowed the word and used it in a new literary genre, the fairy tale. And that, dear reader, is how the word ogre transitioned into popular culture.

And that’s also why Ronson chose Ogre, and not vampire or hobgoblin, for the title of his book. “We’ve been face-to-face with a genuine man-eating beast all this time,” said Richard Finlay, the man at the center of the story. “At least we now have a name for it.”

No matter what it was called—ooga, booga, slug, vampire, cockatrice, griffin, hobgoblin or wyrm—the ogre had to be destroyed. Or as one character put it: “I want to see that damn thing poisoned, burned up, killed—kaput!”

But killing an ancient pagan idol was harder to do than you might think. Gas, bombs, napalm, flame-throwers, acid, lasers, nuclear artillery—there was nothing in mankind’s arsenal that could stop the ogre. Or was there?

Finding clues in weathered scriptures and faded church etchings, Richard and Patricia eventually discovered how the old Celts controlled the ooga. Translating Latin and interpreting ancient iconography was the easy part. More difficult was finding a modern solution that was compatible with hoary sacred rites.

Before the final showdown, Ronson throws a few curveballs to keep readers on their toes. There are competing subplots featuring a village idiot, a serial rapist (infamously known as the Leopard Man) and a clergyman with secrets. In addition, there’s a love story brewing between Richard and Patricia, which, to be honest, is a bit contrived.

By the end of the novel, the ogre is as big as a frikkin’ house with tentacles as thick as telephone poles. When it destroys buildings the effect is like an adult’s fingers smashing through the windows of a dollhouse. It is a vision of hell as only Pieter Bruegel could have imagined it. “Here Satan was no gentlemanly Mephistopheles,” concludes Ronson with an endgame flourish. “It was the very essence of evil—an ever-changing shape with the stench of a plague pit.”

[Ogre / By Mark Ronson / First Printing: June 1980 / ISBN: 9780600200390]

King of the Monsters

MiscreationsI agree with author Alma Katsu. In her chatty foreword to this book, she says that Mary Shelley created the greatest and most iconic monster of all time. Forget about giant gorillas and colossal kaiju, Frankenstein’s Prometheus remains king of the monsters.

Everybody knows the story of Shelley’s iconic creature. Made by man and rejected by mankind, he begged for his creator’s love and humanity’s pity. Born in 1818, Frankenstein’s monster was a sympathetic and lonely figure doomed to an eternity of unhappiness. “What heart, on hearing such a story, could still scorn a monster like that?” asks Katsu rhetorically.

Monstrosity is a complicated topic, that’s for sure. But we can learn a couple of things from Frankenstein. It is a cautionary tale that can teach us what not to do and how not to behave. But it can also teach us how to be heroic. After all, a monster to one person is a savior to another. Amirite?

With Miscreations: Gods, Monstrosities & Other Horrors, editors Doug Murano and Michael Bailey have tasked their contributors to submit prose and verse inspired by the Frankenstein mythos. Some of the stories are linked solidly to Shelley’s original effort (“Butcher Blend” and “Imperfect Clay”), and some have only a tangential connection to the source material (“Ode to Joad the Toad” and “Sounds Caught in Cobwebs”). Despite my predilections, all the efforts are excellent. There’s not a stinking corpse in the whole bunch.

The anthology begins with a dollop of metafiction called “A Heart Arrhythmia Creeping Into a Dark Room.” I enjoy deconstructive monster tales as much as the next guy, but Michael Wehunt’s story (as good as it is) lands the collection on less-than-solid ground.

To better establish the theme of the book, the editors might have considered slotting “Frankenstein’s Daughter” at the top of the ToC. Author Theodora Goss explores the dynamic between the monster and his descendant. And in this way she’s able to give a new perspective on the influential and ongoing legacy of Frankenstein.

One thing is consistent throughout these 23 stories and poems: Man and monster are inescapably twined together. Like it or not, monsters can’t exist without man to will them into existence. Frankenstein walks among us. Get used to it.

[Miscreations: Gods, Monstrosities & Other Horrors / Edited by Doug Murano and Michael Bailey / First Printing: February 2020 / ISBN: 9781732724471]

The Navy vs. the Night Monsters

MonsterEarthEndGow Island was a pile of drab rocks in the middle of the ocean—3,000 miles from New Zealand, 2,000 miles from Chile, 600 miles from the Antarctic ice cap and a million miles from home.

It was unending dreariness and monotony for the 19 military personnel assigned to the isolated and remote government outpost. Many of the inhabitants were suffering from acute island fever (or as author Murray Leinster put it, they were “rock happy”). “Propinquity plus tedium plus tension plus extreme uneasiness inevitably produced some queer situations,” observed Mr. Drake, the island’s dour administrative officer.

He weren’t kidding. On a normal day, Drake did his best to keep Gow running smoothly for the U.S. Navy. He had full responsibility for the conduct of affairs, and the morale and the efficiency of the island. To do so, he willingly put his private concerns on the backburner. He was particularly discreet about his romantic interest in his secretary, Mamie Van Doren.

The military post’s boring routine was interrupted one day when an airplane crashed onto its runway. There were 10 people onboard the plane when it left Antarctica. By the time it reached Gow, however, the pilot was the only one remaining. And he didn’t last very long. He shot himself in the head before he could be safely extracted from the cockpit.

First responders immediately spied eight bullet holes in the airplane’s flooring. Checking out the cargo hold, they also found a quartet of cute Adélie penguins and a bushel of thorny and weird-looking plants. That was it—no military personnel, no passengers, no copilot, no nuthin’. The situation was suspicious, to say the least.

Suddenly, the airplane’s curse became Gow Island’s curse. Navy personnel (along with a couple of unlucky dogs) started disappearing, and Drake and his crew quickly grew hysterical with fear of a nameless and indescribable menace. Was it the penguins or the otherworldly vegetation from the aircraft that was responsible for the ambuscade? I’ll give you one guess.

The Monster From Earth’s End is a wildly understated novel. The horror is subdued, the circumstances are forthright and the resolution is measured. It’s a quirky little book and I liked it very much. If you’re curious, the movie adaptation from 1966 (The Navy vs. the Night Monsters) is cheap and laughable, but enjoyable as well.

Gow Island was a bit like Thomas Hardy’s Wessex. Even though it was a pile of rocks in the middle of nowhere, it was a major character in the novel. With its dangerous and foreboding atmosphere, it was a barometer of escalating tensions between man and man—and man versus monster. “The island lay wrapped in darkness as profound as that at the bottom of nothingness,” wrote Leinster. You can’t get farther from the madding crowd than that.

[The Monster From Earth’s End / By Murray Leinster / First Printing: January 1959]

Dig Dug, Part 2

ReturnTunnelIn Gayne C. Young’s previous novel (see my review here) a troop of subterranean albino baboons killed and devoured an alarming number of people at the Texas-Mexico border. Victims included a team of paleontology students, a gaggle of drug cartel musclemen and a handful of highly trained soldiers of fortune. At the end of the book, Lt. Col. Jeff Hunter and Capt. Jarrett Taylor barely made it home alive.

Even though Hunter and Taylor ultimately escaped to safety, they left things messy at the border. The cave dwellings beneath the Rio Grande were still teaming with deadly Agartha baboons, a mutated new species of haplorhini. The situation was still unresolved.

With its talon-like claws, its maw of elongated canine teeth and its massively over-sized eyes, the baboons had successfully adapted to living in an underground cavern of eternal night. “It’s become the perfect predator,” observed a primatologist, “and it has lived for centuries in an extremely isolated and almost completely unpopulated area.” It’s beautiful, he admitted, absolutely beautiful.

Now three months later, both Hunter and Taylor were being recruited for another tour of duty down at the border. A specialized private military service organization called Primal Force was working for a client who wanted to capture a couple of the “unknown-to-science monstrosities.”

A new species of primate, one that’s remained hidden to the modern world, would be worth a great deal to science. After all, who knows what their genome looks like? What secrets did their cells carry? All that new information could lead to a bucket load of knowledge and understanding. It’s the kind of thing that could be turned into a fortune.

And so, like dogs that returned to their vomit, the two mercenaries agreed to join P.F. Services and return to the tunnel to hunt Agartha baboons. Time to buckle up, buttercup.

Despite the book’s title, no one actually returns to the tunnel. One unlucky guy falls down a hole, but Hunter and Taylor had a plan to lure the mutated beasts into the open. No spelunking involved. Their plan works more or less—if you overlook the eruption of gun and baboon violence during the final act.

I enjoyed revisiting the author’s world of killer monkeys and sharp-shooting mercenaries. But I had two minor criticisms. Number one: There were a lot of “red shirts” in this book—the entire crew of a cryptology internet show, the entire “Texas First” fringe group, an entire squad of Mexican cartel gunmen and a handful of Primal Force agents. It’s ridiculous. I think there’s only one significant character introduced in this story that survived the onslaught.

And number two: I winced every time a character named Dori showed up. The author never missed an opportunity to disparage her physical appearance. She was sweaty and big (“nearly 300 pounds,” said Young), she had a massive bust and she jiggled when she rode in a car. For jewelry, she wore a livestock nose ring like a pig or a cow. Her colleagues collectively gagged at the thought of seeing her in her pajamas. Even in death, we are reminded of Dori’s obesity: “The baboons began devouring the flesh from her cheeks, jowls and multi-tiered neck.”

A reasonable solution was eventually found to curb the baboon problem, and I’m confident that we’ll see more of the cave-dwelling cryptids in future novels by Young. In the meantime, Hunter, Taylor and their Primal Force comrades-in-arms rushed onto an airplane bound for Asia. “We’ve got a problem in Mongolia,” explained their new boss. “A big one.” To be continued.

[Return to the Tunnel / By Gayne C. Young / First Printing: January 2020 / ISBN: 9781922323231]

Remember the Titans

Titan ProphesiesThe Titan Prophesies is dedicated to “all those who helped craft amazing tales of giant monsters that thrilled us with wonder, filled us with awe and swept us away to realities where giants walk among us.”

Thus inspired, editor Kevin Candela has given readers a collection of short stories featuring a 200-foot-long “robot virus,” a couple of hungry Cyclopes, an MMO filled with thunderous daikaiju battles, cyborg titan paladins, kujira sanjuutou, a prehistoric tree monster and a gigantic, mutant man-shark.

Overall, it’s a legit assemblage of daikaiju fiction with only a single misfire. For better or worse, the two best stories are slotted near the back of the book. Editor Candela makes his readers wait, but he eventually delivers a satisfying payoff at the end.

“Walking Among the Trees” is about a friendship between an 11-year-old boy and a tree from the dawn of time. “It was a tree of beauty,” says author Essel Pratt; “royal in stature and brooding in strength.”

Working together, the boy and the tree stop a logging company from ravaging the surrounding forest. “Speaking ancient words that were never meant to be heard, the giant woodland beast rose from the ground.” Even though no one understands the low rumbles emanating from its jagged mouth, the tree’s message is clear: man is not welcome in its domain.

Like every movie from Hayao Miyazaki, Pratt’s story celebrates nature and vilifies technology. In this case, mononoke manifests itself in the symbiotic relationship between a young boy and an ancient tree. The results are something Miyazaki would definitely approve of: The majestic protector Tapio, King of the Forest!

Humanity’s relationship with nature can also be found in Roma Gray’s story “Locusts of the Sea.” This time, however, the beasts of nature are 100 times more aggressive and exploitive.

In 1492, sailing the ocean blue, Christopher Columbus’s fleet is attacked by 30 enormous sea creatures. Making an ominous tick-tick-tick sound (like the crocodile from Peter Pan), the whale-sized monsters attack the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria like sharks on a feeding frenzy.

The evil minions from Hell quickly discover they enjoy the taste of man flesh and chase Columbus back to Europe. “What had started out as an expedition to find an easier route to the Orient had created a far bigger problem than the one they had attempted to resolve,” writes the author. The entire civilized world was now in danger.

Jumping to the year 1984, the monsters are no longer confined to water. Evolution has given them legs and their appetite compels them across the continent. The clock was ticking down to an unimaginable apocalypse.

[The Titan Prophesies / Edited by Kevin Candela / First Printing: May 2019 / ISBN: 9781097578207]

So Alone

IShallNotMateShindo Yamaguchi from Japan’s Ministry of Defense knew trouble was brewing. It wasn’t because COVID-19 was spreading or because the 2020 Olympics had been postponed or because manga piracy was on the rise. Yamaguchi knew there was a new kaiju threat on the horizon.

It wasn’t like Japan hadn’t seen a giant monster or two. Tiamatodon, a two-headed mutant theropod, and a Mesozoic-era marine lizard known as Tylogon, had been terrorizing the South Pacific for years.

At the moment, Yamaguchi wasn’t particularly worried about a two-headed Megalosaurus or a prehistoric whale. The new kaiju threat was linked to a nearby flock of pterosaurs. Yamaguchi was alarmed by first-hand accounts of a new flock member covered in body armor. The Japanese agent knew that a bulletproof hatchling would grow up to be a tank-proof adult. Evolution had suddenly become a race war.

“Nature equipped mankind with an advanced intellect and tool-making abilities, and these abilities allowed us to become the dominant animal on the planet,” explained Yuzo Abe, college professor and kaiju expert. “But Mother Nature has not forsaken her other children. We are in an arms race against the flock. If the armored juvenile lives long enough to sire offspring, his descendants could produce even more dramatic adaptations.”

Along with husky body armor that made him look like a medieval warrior, the pterosaur also sported opposable thumbs. And later, when the flock attacked a couple of island military outposts, the youngster (now called “Brown Scale”) was seen to possess a keen strategic intelligence. “Those monsters don’t fight like monsters,” said a sea pirate who witnessed the flock in action. “They fight like soldiers.”

As the danger escalated, the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force went on the attack. Its mission was clear: destroy the mutant pterosaur as quickly as possible.

The Japanese weren’t the only ones that wanted Brown Scale dead, however. The flock didn’t want his seed contaminating future generations. Brown Scale was an aberration. “He was deformed,” said the flock’s matriarchy, “and deformity breeds more deformity.”

Everything led to a novel-ending kaiju clash pitting Brown Scale against the Japanese, the flock matriarchs and Tiamatodon, the two-headed freak. Each of them wanted Brown Scale dead—or at least permanently clipped.

But as things unfolded, all the blood and thunder turned out to be nothing but sound and fury. Nobody wanted Brown Scale to sire an X-flock of mutant pterosaurs. In truth, Brown Scale didn’t want to surround himself with a harem of breeders anyway; he only wanted a monastic, sexless existence (although he probably wouldn’t mind spending a little bit of time with his sister Razor Beak occasionally). “He yearned to be alone with the same intensity another person would long for company. The idea of becoming physically intimate with his own kind filled him with revulsion.” Props to author Neil Riebe for writing a unique kaiju story and giving readers a surprisingly reflective novel-ending resolution.

[I Shall Not Mate / By Neil Riebe / First Printing: February 2019 / ISBN:  9781794482463]

The Blitzkrieg Hop

RooReaders don’t have to wait long for the killer kangaroo to show up in Alan Baxter’s latest novelette. The Australian buck begins its blitzkrieg hop right away on page two: “The roo’s mouth closed over its victim’s neck,” writes Baxter. “The flesh peeled up and away with a wet tear.”

Yes, there’s a ferocious kangaroo bedeviling a small town in the Aussie outback. But why is it so bloodthirsty and violent (and where the heck did its sharp teeth come from)? Normally these grass- and shrub-grazing animals are harmless and pastoral “like upright deer,” says the author.

The explanation dutifully comes during the final chapter, but observant readers who can identify the book’s outside/inside story will probably figure everything out pretty quickly. Or, if not, they can simply read the author’s Forward and Afterword. That’ll do the trick.

Only 400 people live in Morgan Creek (a town described as a “human blemish on the pristine outback”). Most of the local men are layabouts and wife beaters—the worst of the bunch is old Bill Catter. He’s so bad, his wife Pauline prefers to sleep in an abandoned goldmine at night rather than in her own bed. “No one likes that shit cunt,” says one neighbor. “We should have run him out of town years ago.”

And now Morgan Creek’s got a rampaging roo to worry about. Over seven feet tall and insanely jacked, the animal could be seen in the moonlight flexing its muscles like a parody of Mr. Universe.

Just because it looked like a kangaroo, however, didn’t mean it actually was a kangaroo. In truth, it could be anything. Up close its fur had a musky and dusty odor, says Baxter, like something spicy and smoky. Like something brought forth from the fiery pits of Hell, perhaps?

After decapitating, eviscerating and dismembering a handful of unlucky residents (it’s all good fun btw), the monster is eventually trapped in the town’s abandoned goldmine. This is when Bill Catter, his wife Pauline and the roo have their final showdown. Spoiler alert: the last paragraph provides a #MeToo kick in the pants. I think the men of Morgan Creek are about to get hammered.

In his foreword, author Baxter freely admits that he shamelessly wrote The Roo to be as ocker as the outback. The word “ocker” is slang for “aggressively boorish in a stereotypically Australian manner.” That’s a great way to sum up this book. Mission accomplished, mate.

[The Roo / By Alan Baxter / First Printing: March 2020 / ISBN: 9780980578263]