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Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat ebook

by Andrez Bergen

Andrez Bergen, Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat (Another Sky Press, 2011) The biggest drawback to Andrez Bergen's sci-fi-noir mystery Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat is that it relies.

Andrez Bergen, Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat (Another Sky Press, 2011).

Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat book. Cut to Melbourne, Australia-the most glamourous city. The biggest drawback to Andrez Bergen's sci-fi-noir mystery Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat is that it relies on one of the mystery genre's most annoying artificial constructs: the repressed memory. Whenever I see Andrez Bergen, Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat (Another Sky Press, 2011).

Andrez Bergen is raising funds for Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat: The Graphic Novel on Kickstarter! The 2011 tale of a near-future noir/dystopia gets sequential art treatment - with new plot twists included. The 2011 tale of a near-future noir/dystopia gets sequential art treatment - with new plot twists included.

Andrez Bergen put science fiction, noir, Australia and Japan into a literary hadron collider, and Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat came out. The thousands magazine. Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat is an incredible novel, completely unexpected and with such a wonderfully rich and unique style that is simply mesmerizing, unmissable. Such an engrossing and visual read - with gorgeous, subtle moments in there as well.

Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat - Andrez Bergen. We have compiled several useful Appendices that may enhance your reading of Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat. Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat. a novel by Andrez Bergen. Since not all ereaders display the Table of Contents, we wanted to make sure you knew about these in case you find them of use. Enjoy! The Encyclopedia Tobacciana - Complete personage and media reference guide. The Tobacco-Stained Glossary - Slang, jargon and foreign word definitions.

Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat. By (author) Andrez Bergen. Close X. Learn about new offers and get more deals by joining our newsletter. Cut to Melbourne, Australia–the most glamorous city in the world. A collection of noir, surreal stories, comicbook asides, hardboiled moments, fantasy, dystopia, sci-fi, snapshots of Japanese culture, and the existentialism of contemporary experimental electronic music

Books related to Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat.

Books related to Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat.

Yep, I have a 144-page graphic novel coming out in August, a retelling of my 2011 noir/dystopia novel Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat: The Graphic Novel. Yep, I have a 144-page graphic novel coming out in August, a retelling of my 2011 noir/dystopia novel.

Cut to Melbourne, Australia--the most glamorous city in the world. It also happens to be the only one left standing, but nevermind that, we're there now and I'd like you to meet your narrator, a certain Floyd Maquina, a likable chap with one hell of a story to share. See, the powers that be are knuckling down on the Deviant menace that plagues the city, and our boy Floyd's unknowingly got himself in the thick of it. Cue guns, intrigue, kidnappings, conspiracy and all sorts of general mayhem that make for cracking good headlines. Does Floyd stop the bad guys? Does he get the girl? Does he make Humphrey Bogart proud? Grab some popcorn and read on.
Andrez Bergen's Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat (TSMG) is set in a post-apocalyptic Melbourne, Australia at an unspecified point in the future where the fortunate ones live an opulent life secure under the high tech Dome which encases the city. The less fortunate live a harsh existence in rundown areas on the outskirts of the Dome in a world where the sun seldom shines and acid rain seems to fall endlessly.

Our narrator, Floyd Maquina, is a Seeker. Employed by the government to hunt down so-called Deviants for what is euphemistically called "hospitalization," Floyd has the authority to terminate those who won't come along peacefully. It's something he's only had to do once, but that encounter weighs heavily on his mind, driving him to seek comfort in drugs, alcohol, and classic Hollywood films.

Indeed, Floyd peppers his narrative with copious references to films like The Maltese Falcon, The Third Man, The Big Sleep, and Brazil amongst others, and throws enough hardboiled slang around that a Tobacco-Stained Glossary and Encyclopedia Tobacciana are included as appendices.

With one foot planted firmly in a futuristic world where Seekers routinely undergo Matrix-like virtual reality "tests" to ensure they are still in the fold and capable of carrying out company orders, TSMG manages to simultaneously have its other foot rooted in an authentic, throwback, hardboiled detective vibe. And it is in that fuzzy blending of post-apocalyptic and old-school noir that TSMG carves out what is one of the most wonderfully unique books I've had the pleasure to read.

Along the way author Andrez Bergen works in clever jabs and astute commentary on everything from reality shows (Floyd finds himself an unwitting TV star when thrust front and center in a Dog the Bounty Hunter type show) to media manipulation by corporations and the government (that "reality" show being a carefully scripted and edited attempt to control public opinion about Deviants) to our obsession with cosmetic perfection (people in TSMG routinely get surgical enhancement, including photosynthetic technology which allows them to swap out lip, eye, skin and hair color with thousands of available shades), while the conflict between the Deviants and the citizens inside the Dome serves as a rather timely exploration of the social upheaval that results when the economic gulf between classes becomes a seemingly unbridgeable chasm.

TSMG is not for everyone, there's no way around that. Some will find the film references too frequent and, if you're not familiar with the movies, potentially confusing. But if you're willing to roll with them - or to put the handy Encyclopedia Tobacciana to good use - I think you'll find they actually add a verisimilitude to Floyd's character, going a long way toward explaining how he copes and makes his way through a world he often finds as foreign as the reader does.

In any event, I can say without qualification that not only is Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat one of my Top 5 reads of 2011, it is one of the most creative and engaging books I've ever read. Period.
The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic Melbourne Australia. But that's just the setting. The story isn't really about what life is like there (though there's plenty of that in the book). It's about some personal stuff the main character has to deal with. And deal with it he eventually does. Bergen develops this very well. It may seem a little slow in the beginning but there is enough to hold your interest. The story gets better and better all the time, has a wonderful climax, and maybe even a better ending.

Bergen has a writing style that you may either love or hate. For me I had to get used to him and then he started to grow on me. That happened when I read 100 Years of Vicissitude (read that one before I read TSMG). He first sounded like he was parodying the old clichéd detective stories narration. But the more I read him the more I thought he was just influenced by that stuff. Then I eventually got to like his style. He does credit Dashiell Hammett and others as influences. Anyway, if you're put off by his style you may want to hang in there because, by the end, you may be glad you stayed with it!
Somewhere between dystopian sci fi and a detective novel. Helps to be a film buff with all the references. Very funny and a little touching.
Andrez Bergen, Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat (Another Sky Press, 2011)

Full disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher (long enough ago that I'm embarrassed to admit it).

Review tagline: Deus ex Maquina: The Goats of War

The biggest drawback to Andrez Bergen's sci-fi-noir mystery Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat is that it relies on one of the mystery genre's most annoying artificial constructs: the repressed memory. Whenever I see repressed memory pop up as a plotline without some sort of external agent to facilitate memory loss (a fancy way of saying “you drugged your character, beat him about the head, or both”), it is always, and nakedly, a device that is used for the sole purpose of keeping the reader in the dark about a crucial piece of the plot. That might not be an awful thing were “repressed memory syndrome” an actual disease rather than something that got made up by opportunists during the Satanic Panic scare of the seventies and eighties (“repressed memory syndrome” was the main mechanism behind the bogus accusations against the McMartin workers and their families). It is not a real condition, but it has caused real harm. Please, authors, stop using it.

Which is bad, because after a rocky first twenty pages or so, Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat found its voice and kind of soared. It's noir, so there's nothing in here that's terribly unpredictable if you've read enough pulp noir or seen enough forties and fifties thrillers to have a basic grasp of noir plot structure, but it's not really about the destination, is it?

Scott Campbell's wonderful cover art does not prepare you for the trip that you are about to take. Looking at the book's cover, you might get the idea that Floyd Maquina is an urbane, cultured, cloven-hoofed sort of chap who sips martinis and, James Bond-like, solves mysteries in his spare time. Instead, Floyd is a member of Seeker Branch, the government-controlled covert operations branch where, it would seem, the old world's washed-up PIs ended up. Not that Floyd started out as a washed-up PI. He had a good, reasonable life, and he used to do something productive. (We are never told what, but I got the idea he was some sort of nameless, faceless office drone.) But then his wife Veronica got sick. In the hyper-Darwinian world of post-apocalyptic Melbourne, the last city on a blasted Earth that has suffered some sort of horrible ecological disaster that has turned the rain into acid and the dirt into a wasteland, getting sick classes you as a Deviant, and you get Relocated to a Hospital (all terms with initial caps in the book), where another branch of the government “treats” you. Veronica got sick three years ago. Floyd visited her in the Hospital a few times and got to see government “treatment” firsthand. How effective is it? He stopped going to see his wife.

Enter Seeker Branch. Hospital bills are expensive, so the government offered Floyd a job as a Seeker, with a fat salary that would cover those bills and leave him a little at the end of the month. What else could he do? The irony of the situation is that Seekers exist in order to track, ferret out, and turn in (or kill, if the need arises) Deviants. Thus, Floyd has turned into an alcoholic wreck who can't stand his job and refuses to watch his wife die slowly. His only friends are fellow outcasts—Nina “Laurel” Canyon, a fellow Seeker who never takes off her elbow-length gloves; Colman, a former University professor who has turned to dealing drugs for a living; Anthony, the opposition leader of one of Australia's last two cricket clubs, whose matches are as real as professional wrestling. As we open, Floyd is on an Activities (the term Seeker Branch uses for Deviant tracking and apprehension). Or is he? No, turns out it's a nightmare, the same one he's been having for weeks, about an Activities that he knows went horribly wrong, but about which he remembers nothing. Seeker Branch's version of employee counseling is the Test, a virtual-reality world they drug you and throw you into for such wide-ranging activities as counseling, on-the-job training, interviews, you name it. Floyd's taskmasters, we soon find out, are cruel indeed—more so than the usual government cutouts that populate novels like this. So what's the big question I put at the end of every synopsis? I'm not sure you can ask just one. (The jacket copy gives you a veritable smorgasbord.) What happened on that Activities? Can Floyd, who is still in the process of losing the love of his life to a terminal illness and an even more terminal medical system, find love with Laurel? What the hell is up with that title? (Floyd has a thing for old movies, and we find out eventually that it's a quote from an old comedy he is especially fond of.) Do the Cricketing Police really exist? Can plastic really replace real teeth? Will Floyd drink himself to death before he gets fired? Is Ben Wheatley going to direct the film adaptation of this? (Because that would be rad.)

If you can get past the repressed-memory thing, there's a great deal to enjoy here. This probably goes double if you're a movie buff, because Floyd frames everything in terms of old movies. (And wait till you get to the last page. I actually laughed out loud.) I wouldn't exactly call Floyd stereotypical, he's too much of a real person for that, but there is definitely an archetype thing going on there. Everyone around him, though, is Bergen playing with those archetypes and doing as much as he can to pervert them. This has the (possibly intended) side effect of heightening Floyd's everyman status. That may grate on some readers. It didn't on me; as much as Floyd is kind of unlikable, it endeared me to him a great deal. Be aware that, as always, YMMV. The pace is pretty straight noir; Bergen pauses now and again for some worldbuilding, and as I have mentioned the opener is a bit rocky (I think I had to get used to the way the book handles dreams), but otherwise things move along at a good clip, with new bits of plot unveiled fairly regularly. I wanted to go into some of those above, but it seemed like we'd be getting into spoiler territory there. Also on the upside: it's obvious that Bergen has a lot to say about government-run healthcare, environmental issues, the role of the multinational corporation, etc. (it would be a bit cheeky of me to speculate there's at least one jab at Land of the Dead in this book as well, but if the shoe fits...), but Bergen is the best writer I have come across in recent memory at not letting any of that stuff get in the way of a good story. He trusts his readers enough to get it, which so many author's don't. And that almost makes up for the repressed memory stuff.

I'll let you in on a secret: it is very, very rare that I start a review without knowing what the book's rating is going to be. I don't believe it's ever happened that I have gotten to the final paragraph without knowing, but I was pretty darn close on this one. This is a fantastic little book that has an eight-hundred-pound Deviant sitting in its foyer. If you can squeeze past that, then I can't recommend this book highly enough. But it's a pretty tight fit, so I am far more reserved than usual, and because of that, I'm kind of splitting the difference and then leaning upwards a bit. ***
Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat ebook
Andrez Bergen
EPUB size:
1600 kb
FB2 size:
1736 kb
DJVU size:
1692 kb
another sky press (April 1, 2011)
234 pages
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