Muffy, or a Transmigration of Selves (review)
Is a terrible, awful self-published novel by a person who styles themselves "S. T. Gulik." Released in 2007, it is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most horrifically bad novels in the history of literature. In fact, it is so appalling that scientists predict that even if every last copy of it were burnt and the ashes blown up Gulik's arse with a rusty trumpet, the damage it would have done to the average writing skill of humanity would still be irreparable.
Naturally, I therefore had to read it so you didn't have to.
Plotless wall to wall squick. Also, schlorp.
A little more detail, if you wouldn't mind?
Muffy is the protagonist and when we first encounter her, she's 14 years old and just been put to bed by her father. After he's bedded her, natch, and she's playing with his spunkum, which is still dewy in her crack. This is not the horridest thing in the novel by any stretch of the imagination. Nor is the fact that he won't go away till he is satisfied she's enjoyed it. Nor is it that she's then pimped out at age 14. Nor that she's then picked up by an uber rich artist-cum-serial killer called Sarah who produces "transgressive" artworks for top Governmental figures and the Illuminati out of dead people. It's this specific line:
"She pulled hard on the baby's arm and with a schlorp it was freed from Muffy's rectum."
THIS IS WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS!!!!!!!!!
Secondly, it would be abjectly horrifying if it wasn't for the schlorp. The schlorp, being an inherently funny and onomatopoeic yet very annoying word, makes it almost funny. There is nothing funny about the use of dead babies for sex toys outside of Sickipedia. Yet there is nothing horrific about the word schlorp. Congratulations. You fail at literature forever.
Then we read on, and discover that there is no plot whatsoever. There is no transmigration of selves. The entire novel exists as a way of stringing together the squickiest things that the author can come up with without let or hindrance until he/she/it has had enough, which is only after 193 pages thankfully. It's basically the literary equivalent of going scuba-diving in bile. The writing is also without any skill or judgement at all. Aside from the schlorp, and the gratuitous rape scenes, and the chapter entitled "A Father's Love," the content of which you can work out for yourself, there is also a chapter near the end called "Fuck you, who needs a title for a chapter anyway. Just fucking read." Not to mention the bit where Sarah forced an opal chopstick into Muffy's nipple. In between all this godawfulness, there are pseudo-intellectual rantings on why LSD is good because it makes your brain function more like it did as a child, ham-fisted swipes at radical ideas which have already occurred to others, and completely pointless details about how newspaper cartoons are unfunny. Not to mention the usual sniping at acceptable targets, like portraying Ronald Reagan as someone who doubled the national debt by buying off Sarah a sculpture made from a black family so it would help him get closer to minorities.
Let's deviate a bit here into the concept of mature content. Specifically, gratuitous squickiness. Those of you who have been paying attention will know that I like heavy metal. There's plenty of sex and violence in heavy metal, that's for damn sure. I don't have a problem with this. In fact, I like it because of that. But there are certain bands who insist on boosting up the gorno to unreal levels. Carcass, for one. Their first album, The Reek of Putrefaction, had on its cover a collage of dismembered body parts, blood, corpses, and poo. It was a non-stop growlfest from the opening bars of "Genital Grinder" through "Microwaved Uterogestation," "Festerday," "Splattered Cavities," "Oxidised Razor Masticator," all the way to "Malignant Defecation." Pretty unpleasant stuff, I'm sure you'll agree (though John Peel rated it as the best album of the year.) Unfortunately, there's one small problem with it.
It's all a bit shit really.
See, once you've got past the lyrics stolen from medical textbooks and the idea of trying to be brutal-er and gorier than everyone else, you realise that there's not much left after that. Now, thankfully, Carcass learnt from this experience and called the gorno quits after one more album (the much better "Symphonies of Sickness") and then called the band quits after four albums. However, other bands, like Cannibal Corpse, didn't, and are still about peddling the same nonsense as they were when they started out despite having plumbed the depths of absolute offensiveness with "Entrails Ripped from a Virgin's Cunt" and "Necropedophile."
And this is where Muffy goes wrong. The author fails to realise that ultra-violent rape-and-incest scenes are shocking because they're unusually horrific and you don't expect it. If you then fill your novel with wall-to-wall nastiness, it loses its impact. Readers don't care. It becomes, well, tedious. Once Muffy's been anally probed with aborted foeti, you've kind of already experienced everything this novel has to offer.
Yet the author continues with this, probably because he or she or it reckons they're being all clever and "transgressive" and challenging societal paradigms, and if you don't get it, well, you're just not on their level, are you. Basically, the whole novel is an attempt at baiting affectless no-account hipsters who think that stuffing spaghetti-o's up yer clacker is sticking it to The Man. In fact, that's what this novel is, really. Spaghetti-o clacker-stuffing in text form.