Rainbows Suck is a brand new novella from British "bizarro, horror and weird fiction writer" Madeleine Swann and the latest in Eraserhead Press' New Bizarro Author Series. It tells the story of Tilli, an unremarkable girl with big dreams of a career as an actress. Tired of being ignored and disrespected by her family, she runs away to London to pursue her goals of fame and stardom. Unfortunately things don't work out the way she had hoped. Alone and with no source of income, she ends up sleeping rough, begging, and living in various squats with a collective of unsavoury characters.
So far, so normal... However things take a drastic turn for the surreal when an intergalactic gang of sentient Rainbow-esque aliens arrive on the scene. Beloved by the public and media alike, these abnormal freaks have everyone eating out the palm of their hands. Well, they don't actually have hands, but the gullible, vacuous population of the world lap up everything they are told without question. The colourful malevolent Rainbows open up a series of galleries across the city which display live, human, "Arts", which appear in a variety of monstrous, weird, wacky and wonderful forms.
Tilli, although sceptical about the true intentions of the Rainbows, sees this as an opportunity out of the hole she has found herself in, and becomes an Art herself. She is transformed into a silver-skinned, scantily clad bimbo and becomes a puppet for her new Rainbow masters. The Arts are merely performing monkeys for the demanding and blood thirsty public.
What follows is part love story, part redemption story, and is far too complex and surreal to explain succinctly. When you strip everything down to the bare bone, Rainbows Suck is a scathing indictment of the fame obsessed, celebrity culture that we live in today and the measures and depths to which people sink to in order to sustain a "celebrity" status. The prose is slick and refined and the action zips along quickly, in some instances, a little too quickly. I must admit, this was my first time dipping my toes into the bizarro genre, and if I am honest, my favourite portion of the story was of the Special Brew drinking homeless Tilli at the beginning. Once the alien Rainbow shenanigans kicked off I found it harder to follow, but that is just my personal taste. If you're into bizarro fiction with heart and something important to say, then you will definitely get a lot out of this, and Madeleine Swann is definitely a writer you should keep an eye on!
Buy Rainbows Sucks from Amazon UK or Amazon US.