Manic Christmas by Lindsay Crook

For “Snowflake,” there’s perhaps no greater torture than performing as a Christmas elf at the mall. Understandably, she’d feel that way, from the pedophile Santa to the grimy, screaming children. It doesn’t get much worse than that. Except for maybe being subjected to a hot box apartment with no air conditioning, a bare trickle of water pressure, and an elderly neighbor who listens to her television far too loud for anyone not hard of hearing. She’s got problems, but it’s about to get more interesting. She’s about to make them your problems instead.
With irreverence and humor, Lindsay Crook assaults the hyper-commercialized Christmas holiday. She also sets her sights on inconsiderate neighbors, annoying coworkers, perverts, and Karens through the proxy of her protagonist, exhibiting knee-jerk reactions of violence that every reader is sure to relate to.
How much chaos can one Christmas elf cause in the week before Christmas? You might be surprised.
As with the previous Manic story, Crook manages to hit on topics from misogyny to miserable workplace conditions, while also attacking the seeming ubiquitousness of perverse male behavior, from the security guard to the mall Santa. Sure, it’s a fun romp as well, but there’s a whole lot of uncomfortable truth in this story as well.

This story was released as part of the AntiChristmas event at http://www.godless.com for December of 2021. You can pick it up for yourself by going to the website or by downloading the app to your mobile device. The link is below:

Manic by Lindsay Crook

Is there a more horrible occupational combination of thankless and stressful than working in fast food? Probably not. For the protagonist of Lindsay Crook’s Manic, life at Bill’s Burger Barn is one endless flow of disrespectful customers, sleazy bosses, and revolting working conditions. It’s enough to drive anyone mad. But maybe, if her personal life weren’t also in shambles, she could hold herself together past Wednesday. That’s a big maybe, though.
It’s going to be a long week, but she’s going to make it everyone else’s problem if she has her way. One can hardly blame her when the universe seems to set things up just right.
Crook is making poverty and impulse control issues sexy again.
Wait, were those things ever sexy in the first place?
I’m sure they were.
I’m going to let it ride. Crook is bringing sexy back in a big way!
Lindsay Crook fills these few pages with plenty of violence, biological warfare in the form of toxic food treatment, and even more violence. There’s more than that, though. At the core, this is a story that showcases how unutterably awful life can be for women because, as much a caricature as Manic might be, it’s probably not far off from the average week for altogether too many women. The world might be a better place if those women finally had enough, just like this protagonist did. Of course, it would be a better place if people just behaved better in the first place, but that might be asking a bit too much. Crook also manages to capture the stress and hopelessness that goes hand-in-hand with poverty-level existence and working demeaning, demoralizing jobs, only to barely make ends meet.

You can pick up a copy of Manic by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:

All Men Are Trash by Gina Ranalli

Gina Ranalli has managed to write something cathartic with AMAT (I’m going to avoid using the proper title since I already got banned from Facebook for seven days by sharing a photo of the cover). This book is something necessary in response to cultures of incels and MRAs, as well as the sheer volume of toxic, sexist reactionary trolls attacking any attempt at inclusion or acknowledgment of intersectionality. In another (more superficial) sense, it’s also a bit of fantasy violence geared toward women in the same way literally decades of fiction has provided men with a plethora of fantasy violence. It works on all fronts with equal efficacy.

Reading this book, I was reminded of two other works of fiction. There was a television series, Masters of Horror, quite a few years back, and one of the self-contained stories was entitled “The Screwfly Solution.” The other fictional work it reminded me of was David Moody’s series of books that started with the novel, Hater. Both of those works were built around the concept of sudden, unexpected violent impulses arising within the population and a stark division between “us” and “them” becoming the way of the new world. All Men Are Trash takes a similar concept and infuses it with strong feminist sensibilities and a whole lot of satisfying violence.

This is perhaps not a good book for anyone prone to say things like, “Not all men,” or maybe it’s precisely the sort of thing they should read…to gain a little bit of perspective.