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Whargoul (2010): The Issue of Tissue

Dave Brockie, Whargoul (Deadite Press, 2010)

The title character, in one of his less human guises, adorns the book cover.

photo credit: Amazon

The untimely death of GWAR frontman Dave Brockie in March 2014 led me to pull this out, which I picked up a while back at Half-Price Books but hadn’t gotten round to reading. I was never a big fan of GWAR, and in fact hadn’t connected the two (I missed the mention of GWAR on the book’s cover—the colors blend a little too well) until well after I picked the book up. But, all these things being what they may, I cracked the cover and decided to give it a go. Not to put too fine a point on it, this is a terrible book.

Plot: the book is a feature-length retelling of the GWAR song of the same name, with added details, of course, and a couple of bad guys (well, relative bad guys, given the protagonist). It’s the mock-memoir of a demonic being’s wartime activities from 1942 Stalingrad to a near-future America currently rocked by a war sparked by an explosion at the Super Bowl. Over time, he inhabits a number of different bodies and sees major world conflicts from different sides. As he goes on, he discovers that he is not just a puppet of whatever being created him; he has free will, and as he explores this, he grows to resent his creator and, after meeting another supernatural being with whom he bonds, begins plotting the downfall of that mysterious creature and his henchman (and Whargoul’s eternal rival) Necrosov.

You may get the idea from that attempt at a synopsis that Whargoul has a plot. It does eventually develop something that resembles one, though it takes half the book to get off the ground, and most of the time it barely has a chance to poke its head up from the trench it inhabits, while Brockie attempts to shell it into oblivion with lyric fragments, observations on the warlike nature of humanity, and gratuitous sexual interludes that still manage to be oddly prudish when it comes to actually doing the deed. The points where the book does try to develop a plot show the potential it had; this could have been quite good, given a whole lot of editing and a complete rewrite of the entire first half. But what I am reviewing is not the book we might have had in another universe, or the one we might have gotten had Brockie not shuffled off this mortal coil before learning from the mistakes he made writing this one. And this one is not worth your time. * ½

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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