The old adage goes that “you should not judge a book by its cover” and though it is a virtuous sentiment it is not one that is typically followed. Welcome to day Twenty Five of my 31 Days of First Impressions Challenge! In this challenge I will be reading the first entry or chapter of a different serial (or web fiction) and then give my first impressions on them be they good or bad. In short: I will be judging a book by its cover.
Today I read I Killed English, by Garrett.
Author’s note: this serial is written by a friend of mine so I may be biased. Also, being my friend usually means that your humor is pretty warped.
The absolute first thing you see when landing on this site is a quote from Revelations interposed above a photo of a disembodied duck head with a cardboard top hat. I have nothing coherent to say about this. I have a lot of incoherent things to say about it, but that helps no one. I am at once amused and terrified.
Look, I could go on to say that the site was easy to navigate and other technical aspects I have considered on the other posts, but what exactly am I supposed to say about that header? WHAT IS THIS?! This is distilled madness. This site gave me the strongest first impression so far as it left me laughing uncomfortably for more minutes than I am willing to admit to, but it certainly was not a good impression. This site is horrendous.
The site has not been updated since Valentine’s Day, which means that it might be abandoned, though haunted might be a better word for it.
The author’s stated goal on the site is to wage war on language itself and the author warns that “reading this blog for any non-masochistic reason makes you an unmistakably awful person”. I am not prepared for this.
“Orville hated working at the gas station. It was a volunteer gig, so it didn’t pay much. Really, it didn’t pay at all, seeing as it was less of a volunteer gig and more of a “I have a warrant out for my arrest and cops don’t come here because it smells very bad” sort of gig.” – I killed English, Chapter One: Felipe.
I…I actually like this hook. It reminds me of the mad ramblings of a drunk Tom Waits and has an especially irreverent tone of humor to it. If I am to be honest, I was taken off guard by how well this was written given the fever dream landing page. The hook is interesting and hints at an already intrepid history, I found myself very curious to see how this story plays out.
I was not prepared for this ride when I bought my ticket. This chapter was a strange journey, and it was one that I was surprised to take sober.
The chapter follows the main character and his exploits in a “teriyaki nook” and though it is titled “Felipe” no one by that name ever makes an appearance or is even mentioned. Even though it is only about 500 words I find myself totally unable to sum up what I just read. This is not hyperbole: my head hurts after reading this chapter.
The author revels in the absurd and has found some way to take refuge in audacity in that I am mostly unable to criticize what I logically know was not good but somehow enjoyed anyways. It appears that I am a masochist.
Reading this serial felt like being stuck next to a schizophrenic homeless man on a bus and being entirely unable to get off. It is also simultaneously hilarious. Much like Denham’s Dentifrice, this is not a serious place and much of it is tongue-in-cheek. Unlike Denham’s Dentifrice, I feel like it is my civic duty to not recommend it. The unfair thing about all of this? I want to read more.
There are other serials that did not get this verdict, ones that I would not continue reading, who, in retrospect, deserve my attention. Those serials were written with love and passion and though they did not always hit their marks, they did try to put their best foot forward. This serial is the complete opposite. The foot it puts forward is infected, and I suspect much of this was written with a mix of booze and vitriol.
And with that, my credibility is forever in question.
I Killed English can be found at https://ikilledenglish.wordpress.com/
Join me tomorrow for my impressions on Shaeor’s serial Chosen Shackles, or check out my own serial: