Caleb J. Ross' booklikes

The official booklikes blog of author Caleb J. Ross.

My Heart Said No, But the Camera Crew Said Yes!

My Heart Said No, But the Camera Crew Said Yes! - Bradley Sands A Bradley Sands story is not like any story you’ve read before. Though his work carries a noticeable Steve Aylett influence, Sands dismisses even the implied logic of his own creation, opting not to utilize his and Aylett’s stylistic contradictions for the sake of full narrative, instead insisting on delivering at the line-by-line level.Sands, with is second book, a collection of stories called My Heart Said No, But the Camera Crew Said Yes, discounts reality in a way that renders it obsolete. The book’s strength lies in the way irreverent images are juxtaposed, repeatedly, often rhythmically, creating a sensation that has no use for the traditional confines of literature. As these stories progress, we are acclimated into Sands’ own reality.I could literally pull a random line from a random page and have my point exemplified. So I will:“The four walls of a washing machine ambush him from all sides. It completes a wash cycle, rendering him as pruny as an archetypal witch after spending a relaxing afternoon in her cauldron” (pg. 10).Again? Okay:“Upward [a character’s name:] agreed to meet me under the stipulation that I inhale a substance that simulated death by releasing a pheromone that attracted fiendish lumberjacks with no qualms about misusing their chainsaws” (pg. 65).This style lends itself best to pieces that are themselves intentionally mocking reality. In the piece, “Gen Papa-Georgio,” Sands illuminates the inherent absurdities of a commercially manicured pop band-cum-intellectuals, using literal depictions: “The fact that their shows were well attended, even though the stage was always obstructed behind a wall of ashamed serpents, is proof of their greatness” (pg. 34). The two Encyclopedia Orangutannicas pieces (“Croatan” and “The Two-Toed Sapsucker”) work because their form, mock encyclopedia articles, doesn’t rely on arc or character as part of its makeup.By intention, these pieces have no character development, rarely a story arc, and no emotional investment. They aren’t stories. They aren’t really vignettes, either, as these characters cannot be said to have a life of which to slice. Perhaps “explorations” is a better term. To be honest, I don’t know what they hell they are. And it’s that aversion to classification that makes every single page so much fucking fun.Sands’ last book, a novel, was perhaps too long for this anything goes style. The long form necessitates a solid storyline, which when clouded by Sands’ unpredictable humor and wit, leaves the reader hunting for resolution. But the short form, the way Sands works it, assures the reader that it’s okay to not seek a storyline. Stories are about manufacturing a reality. To Bradley Sands, reality just gets in the way.