Monday, July 1, 2019

Two from Two Dollar Radio

Earlier this year I discovered the small press Two Dollar Radio, out of Columbus, OH; I saw a copy of The Deeper The Water, The Uglier The Fish by Katya Apekina at Type bookstore here in Toronto. I read that and liked it, and then I read Found Audio by N. J. Campbell from them. I didn't blog about either of them, but I thought it looks like they've put together an interesting list, and I decided to try some more. The Toronto Public Library kindly sent a pair of them to my local branch.

The Glacier by Jeff Wood

The first thing to note about The Glacier is it's written in the form of a film script. It jump cuts back and forth between several groups of characters whose connections gradually develop over the course of the novel.

In each group there's a figure who's troubled in some way, for whom there are demons externalized in horrific form. So, for Robert, who lives in a suburban subdivision, there's MUD MAN, a being of mud who appears in a neighboring house, follows Robert before killing himself in front of Robert saying that their is no ghost in the machine. Other externalized demons are a drug pusher and the nuclear holocaust.

The ending brings our alienated individuals together; the meaning of the ritual at the end is deliberately ambiguous.

I did feel this would be better as a film. But as an experimental, somewhat surreal film with a big cast, elaborate effects, and correspondingly large budget requirements, I expect that's unlikely to happen.

Radio Iris by Anne-Marie Kinney

While I liked The Glacier, of these two I much preferred Radio Iris by Anne-Marie Kinney.

Iris works as the receptionist for Larmax, Inc. She doesn't really know what the business does, and she sees very few of her fellow employees. One of them, an elderly man from Vienna, tells her she should travel, but then is never seen again in the office; her boss is increasingly away traveling, or so he says, but then once she sees him in town. We might guess the business is going bankrupt, and the boss is hiding it, but Iris doesn't think that: she's dreamy and alienated from the whole corporate world.

We also see her brother Neil, who works in sales, equally alienated from his job, but in a boy's way, given to anger and irritation. There's a tragic accident in the siblings' past; we're given several versions, not completely compatible. Neil went through some therapy for it when he was a child; Iris was presumed to be too young to be affected by the event, but was she?

Another company is next door to the Larmax office, but there only seems to be one young man there, living in the office or possibly in a van in the parking lot. Iris becomes obsessed with him, leaving notes (is he returning her notes?) and drilling a peephole between the offices. They do eventually meet. Is he the answer? Or is it something else?

I thought this was very good. Funny, mysterious and affecting.

Two of the books from my #20booksofsummer list:


  1. Good job! I've only finished one from my list but I'm working on two more. Hopefully I won't embarrass myself this year and knock off a good number. I'm quite enjoying my reading time!

    1. Your list was a lot more scary than mine! I feel like I'm doing OK, but I've finished only one of the large books so far...

  2. I've heard other readers also praise Two Dollar Radio publications. They do a good job getting their books in blogger and vlogger hands, I think.

    Radio Iris sounds quirky and interesting.

    1. I sort of stumbled on them at the bookstore, though after I knew about their existence, they do have a presence.

      I've been liking them; I'll probably order up a few more from the library.

  3. These two both sound like great fun. Two Dollar Radio is a new publishing company to me. Thanks for sharing these with us.

    1. They're over ten years old now, but they do seem to be getting more buzz lately. Anyway I first saw one of their books at a bookstore late last summer.