Lotus Rose, MachoPoni: A Prance with Death (Spunk Goblin Press, 2010)
Lotus Rose (for the record, the author is male; I didn’t catch that until I got to the “About the Author” bit) opens the PoniWorld Chronicles series (as of this writing, 5Dec2013, there are six PoniWorld books available) with MachoPoni: A Prance with Death. Now, there are odd books. If you’ve had any brushes with the bizarro movement, you are well aware of this, and there are all sorts of weird psychedelic artifacts from the sixties and all that just awaiting your reading pleasure. And then there are the really weird books, the true chronicles of what-the-fuckery most often found in the “new age” section of your local bookstore, self-published awful poetry, Birth Control Is Sinful in the Christian Marriages, and the stuff that even the local porn merchant keeps under the counter because he can’t stand to look at it—the literary equivalents of Sharknado or The Room.
And then there is MachoPoni.
What. In. The. Flying. Hell.
“And so, brain freeze lobotomy,
Offends like a smiling enemy.
The betrayer’s acts, they bring such pain,
But roofies swipe it from the brain.”
(from “The Legend of Machoponi, Part the Second”)
Among the terrifying poetry and retooled song lyrics (the PoniWorld version of Run-DMC’s “It’s Tricky”, credited of course to Run-P.O.Knee, is especially hilarious, or especially nauseating depending on your point of view), there is in fact a novel here. The plot: Macho and his pals live in Pastel Kingdom, the southern half of PoniWorld, where everything is bright and rainbow-y. He has a rival, Clint, and the two of them are currently at odds over Dust, Macho’s childhood friend/crush and Clint’s current squeeze. The two of them are set to compete in a dance-off in a week’s time (that Dust’s favor is the prize is never explicitly stated, but is always hanging in the background). Macho, who is the proud owner of an enchanted blue bouncy ball, is playing with it one day when an errant kick sends it over the Jagged Line into the northern half of PoniWorld—the Dark Kingdom, home to the undead ponis. (No, I am not making this up.) Macho goes to retrieve his ball and encounters one of the bands of undead-poni sentries, having a little fun with them along the way (and killing their leader in the process as he attempts to chase Macho back over the Jagged Line—it seems that while regular ponis can survive in the Dark Kingdom for a limited amount of time, undead ponis are instantly destroyed if they try to enter the Pastel Kingdom). The dance-off arrives, and, trying to to be too spoilery here, things go disastrously wrong, ending up with Dust in the Dark Kingdom and Clint pleading with Macho to rescue her from the clutches of the Dark Kingdom’s mysterious ruler. Thus begins Macho’s journey through the Dark Kingdom, a pretty standard (if abbreviated; the book lasts just 148 pages) quest narrative informed in roughly equal parts—unless, of course, I am reading way too much into it (which is not an unreasonable assumption)—by Dante’s Inferno and The Lord of the Rings.
I don’t need to tell you, having quoted a bit of it above (and trust me, this thing is full of crazy quotes along those lines), that this is just awful stuff, but it is that particular brand of awful that, if you are a connoisseur of car-accident literature like T. P. Mina and Eliyzabeth Yanne Strong-Anderson, you will want to get your hands on immediately, if not sooner. Also, while there’s nothing explicitly linked to the furry community in this book, there’s a definite push in that direction during the poni dance scene (and it didn’t take Rose long to head off down that road; the fourth book in the series is Dust in Your Eyes: An Erotic Poni Tale). In every empirical sense, this should be on, in fact should probably top, my worst reads of the year list. And yet I find myself oddly tempted, when the inevitable christimas Amazon gift cards come rolling in, to pick up the other five extant books and take another journey to PoniWorld at my earliest convenience. I can’t bring myself to give it an above-average, or even average, rating, but I will say that if it’s your thing, you’ll want to give it a go. It’s so whacked-out that you may even find yourself…enjoying it. **