Share for friends:

Spider Kiss (2007)

Spider Kiss (2007)

Book Info

3.76 of 5 Votes: 1
Your rating
1595820582 (ISBN13: 9781595820587)
m press

About book Spider Kiss (2007)

At first it seemed like I was going to like this book a lot.It opens with a crowd of girls eager to see Stag Preston, a young crooner (it feels a little weird to call him a rocker since so much rock has happened between now and the fifties) with a lean body and fitted clothes and a sweet ass red pompadour. Oh, and it's important to note the girls are wearing tight sweaters. As they did at rock shows in the fifties. Girls bit their fists as their eyes started from their heads. Girls spread their hands against their breasts and clutched them with terrible hunger. Girls fell back into their seats, reduced to tears, reduced to jelly, reduced to emotional orgasms of terrifying intensity.I think that's a pretty accurate description of certain fandoms. It turns out, though, Stag Preston sings songs that are no deeper or lyrically impressive than a Justin Bieber song. It's the way he sings them that gets everyone. But there was a subtext to the song. Something dark and roiling, an oil stain on a wet street, a rainbow of dark colors that moved almost as though alive, verging into colors that had no names, disturbing colors for which there were only psychiatric parallels. Green is the dead baby color ...I feel like I have to be a synesthete to understand this. Whatever, it sounds cool.The book is written from almost an omniscient point of view, but not quite. It's mostly told through Shelly (aka Sheldon), who's Stag's manager or publicist or something. Anyway, once Shelly discovers Stag and he cuts a record, we find out Stag is a horrible human being. Shelly gets home one night and receives a frantic call from Jean, a stenographer."Please ... get over here, will you! ... He's breaking down the, Jeezus, Shelly, please!"Shelly heads to the hotel where Stag and Jean are, thinking lovely thoughts along the way. Thoughts like he doesn't care if Jean has her "ass stripped off" as long as Stag's rep stays intact. Once he gets there, he sees Jean has clobbered Stag into unconsciousness, and he complains about her doing that to his "meal ticket." She's not hurt, not that Shelly bothered to ask. We know, though, because he's doing it with Jean on the next couple pages.In one scene, Stag tries to come on to Shelly's girlfriend, Carlene, while Shelly's in the next room. Carlene is trying to fix him a drink."This isn't too funny, Mr. Preston.""Hot and cold running Stag.""Mr. Preston.""Stag! You don't have to get nasty about it. I'm only being friendly. Extending a little good cheer to my friend's girl.""Hot or cold, Mr. Preston?""Depends on the receptacle."Her carefully plucked eyebrows rose. "They've taught you big words, too. I thought all you knew were words for your songs; the ones with one syllable."Upon getting rejected in such an awesome manner (easily my favorite part of what I managed to read), Stag reacts by calling Carlene a bitch multiple times and threatens to "climb her frame." I have no problem with reading about a terrible guy like this, but when the rest of the book has little to offer, it's not really any fun.There are a couple more scenes with Stag getting aggressive with women, like really aggressive. He rips the dress of a nightclub singer while she's singing in the nightclub. And then he gets a young black singer pregnant and yells at her about having to protect his career and he's not marrying her, blah blah blah.This book should have been awesome. It's hard to believe, with all this drama, that it manages to be boring as hell. I mean, this is rock 'n' roll. It's pretty hard to make it boring (although judging by that movie Rock of Ages, maybe not that hard). I think it's Ellison's writing style. He seems pretty enamored of his own cleverness. Like, thanks for the three page discourse on hipsters. "A hipster is a pseudo." Got it. Cliches begin to stink after they've lain around a few years ...Well, then, Mr. Ellison, maybe you shouldn't have filled your book with them.

Some books introduce us to characters we come to love and adore. In our minds they transform into parents, teachers, siblings or lovers. These are the characters that grab our imagination and continue to move us through the story with a strong, swift hand. And then there are books who give us characters that we know a little too well to like, characters that are more comprised of bits and pieces of ourselves than we'd like to acknowledge. And then there are books that give us characters we hate so strongly that they hold more power over us than the other two combined. Spider Kiss possesses the most striking example of the third and more than a healthy dose of the second, so naturally, I found it impossible to put down.Music from this era has never completely done it for me. I like it, it's nice, I have plenty of it on my ipod. But an entire book centered around the subject based in a time period I think is rather dull? Not very exciting stuff. And yet as the story progresses, as the characters fall into a never ending cycle of greed and depravity all of this slips away because really, the story is universal. The basic frame of the plot is only a cleverly built vehicle for the real meat of the story. Ellison could have based it anywhere on anyone and it would have packed the same punch.There's really not much more to say other than for me to express my utter awe that this book doesn't have more reviews yet. Ellison's prose jack knifes off the page as he tackles his subject. The novel its self is an eerie blend of social criticism, moral rebuke, demonology, feminist telling and good old fashioned noir pulp. If you haven't read it do so now.

Do You like book Spider Kiss (2007)?

While Spider Kiss by Harlan Ellison captured my interest before I even started the book, it pretty much failed at supporting any of my expectations for it. It falls into the category of yet another fictional novel about music that I just did not enjoy. I respect the book for being able to accurately describe some of the, for want of a better word, drama that follows a star in the music industry, especially the part dedicated to more obnoxious and aggresive types of music. Despite this, the book was dull for me and I don't know if I have ever read a book containing so many unlikeable characters. Preston, the worst of all, was just aweful in every way and I really didn't care what happened to the self-loving, greedy, undeserving so-called star. I did like the ending though which, as can easily be predicted, describes how some stars fall back to the dirty ground where they belong. I am not saying that the book is bad, or that it lacks emotion, because it most certainly isn't and does not, but it did a lot of the things that I don't like books to do. Ellison's unique if slightly annoying way of describing things was interesting to read though and I do want to try more of his work, but I think a short story collection might appeal to me better since that is what he is most known for.
—Adam Wilson

Rockabilly is a classic example of how a book can have a crime as a pivotal element in a story line, yet not be a crime novel. There are a few such books--Leave her to Heaven comes to mind. Nor is the book about the central character of the book whose downfall comes at that pivotal moment. It's about the narrator whose life is affected by the Rockabilly star who he elevates to stardom.This is the first book I've read by Harlan Ellison and I was amazed at how much of his own ego comes through on every page. I've never been so aware of the author's presence, almost to the point of distraction.

When I first picked this book up, I had read a bit of Ellison's work here and there. Short stories mostly, as that is typically what he writes. I didn't know at all what to expect from this book, but I was very pleasantly surprised. If you're a fan of the behind-the-scenes of the lives of notorious celebrities, the idea that fame given to the wrong person can become catastrophic, then this book will appeal to you. It takes that concept and blows it up into something really menacing and fascinating. This book cemented that I would seek out more of Ellison's work, and I'm definitely not sorry.

download or read online

Read Online

Write Review

(Review will shown on site after approval)

Other books by author Harlan Ellison

Other books in category Fiction