Title: Goddamn Electric Nights
Author: William Pauley III
Audiobook Length: 2 hours and 38 minutes
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Genre: Fiction, Short Stories, Horror, Bizzaro Fiction, Novella
Read Start Date: March 12, 2023
Read Finish Date: March 15, 2023
Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: When electricity hangs in the air so thick the moon and stars fizzle and drown in a sea of light, the people living within it, breathing it in, can never be “normal.”
From disfigured mutants accidentally murdering god to a man falling madly in love with a blood-thirsty VCR, we promise you’ve never read anything as bizarre as this!
In these six tales, Pauley explores the lives of those living in the darkest corners of the world, those living electric:
Contains the stories:
1) Slime Night!
2) Killing Teddy (previously published under the names Insection 8 and The Third Floor)
3) The Spiders of Honeyville
5) $5 Electric Suzie
6) Spin Doctors Mixtape
My Review: Goddamn Electric Nights is a collections of various stories. I have reviewed each one separately below. I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Slime Night!: (about 40 minutes). Out of all the stories, this one was my least favorite. It depicts the tale of two teenage boys vying for the affections of the same girl. However, their portrayal of her is unflattering, portraying her as promiscuous and having undergone multiple “wire hanger” abortions. The boys engage in a bizarre pinball game known as Slime Night!, where losing results in being drenched in slime. By the conclusion, one of the characters experiences a significant personal revelation. While not terrible, I believe the story could benefit from more extensive exploration of the emotional complexities, perhaps through a longer narrative.
Killing Teddy: (about 20 minutes). The story opens on an excellent note, with the first-person protagonist, who is the superintendent of a building, abruptly awakened by a deafening scream followed by the menacing sound of a chainsaw. To his horror, he finds a woman and a colossal ant inside one of the apartments. The woman recounts an implausible tale of a Japanese game show where the prize money is 500k, and the contestant, Teddy, must be killed and transformed into hundreds of distinct species to entertain the audience. Without weighing the consequences, the superintendent agrees to help the woman for a hefty sum. However, unforeseen events unfold as a result. Overall, this story is a delightfully imaginative and entertaining read.
The Spiders of Honeyville: (about 28 minutes). The story commences with a plumber visiting his lover’s residence to unclog her shower drain. However, after he eliminates a snake, a yellow fog bursts out from inside it, killing both the plumber and his mistress and turning them into zombies. In the second part, we learn that the snake species has evolved a revenge mechanism, which results in the predator’s death. Scientists are studying this phenomenon and come across a pregnant woman infected with it, from whom they deliver the baby via cesarean section. But the baby is promptly stolen, and in a pursuit, the thief drops the baby, causing it to explode and release a yellow cloud over the entire town. Consequently, the scientists devise a plan to combat the zombies with genetically engineered spiders, which backfires, creating a town full of zombie Spider-Men. Overall, this story is hilarious and had me chuckling throughout. This one is probably my favorite story in the collection.
Hynagagia: (about 15 minutes). This was the first part of The Tower, another novella by the author, which I reviewed here.
$5 Electric Suzie: (about 17 mins). In this story, Susie, an anthropomorphic VCR, needs blood to stay alive. The protagonist of the story becomes infatuated with Susie and starts feeding her his own blood. Eventually, he develops an obsession with her and begins to kill people, starting with his own parents. The tale begins with the protagonist as a young boy, and as he grows up, he continues to feed her. He spends his whole life in the service of the VCR. This story was weird, and not one of my favorites. Nothing much happened from a plot perspective, and the sexual connection with the VCR was uncomfortable.
Spin Doctor Mix Tape: (about 38 mins). The story begins on a somber note, with the protagonist’s girlfriend’s cat dying accidentally. However, the narrative is imbued with a sense of humor, as the narrator adopts the tone and delivery of a newscaster. The girlfriend forgives him, and when he invites her and his parents over for dinner, everything goes smoothly until they realize that he fed them the cat instead of the planned chicken. The protagonist explains that he was short on cash and had no other option. The girlfriend breaks up with him again, but after listening to a Spin Doctor mixtape he made for her, she decides to give him another chance. Although the cat’s death and consumption were a bit off-putting, the story was enjoyable overall.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.