Dave Brockie: Whargoul

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Dave Brockie: Whargoul
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Whargoul
Action, Horror, Science Fiction
Eraserhead Press
December, 2010
Story length: 244 pages
Website
Back in late December of 2010, I received an e-mail from one of my contacts about a special item being released that day by Gwar frontman Dave Brockie, better known as Oderus Urungus. It was the day that his novel, Whargoul, was being released exclusively through Amazon. Of course, I began to jump for joy as a Gwar fan, and my assumption of this book being an expansion of the character the song “Whargoul” was created around on their album Ragnarök. The first chance I have to order this book, I did, and the next day, there it was amid the various other items ordered, one item per box (way to waste trees, Amazon!), and it quickly was in my hands. I cracked it open. I plowed through the first forty or so pages, and then I quickly realized that Whargoul was not going to be what I had expected despite my correct assumptions of the story and it’s concept.

The premise of Whargoul revolves around the character of the same name and follows him throughout the years and various wars he had taken part in. Throughout the novel, he meets random characters, many of which don’t really prove to be of any real importance, but often help to build the character of the Whargoul himself. The story explains his many faces, about how he regenerates from the souls of the dead, especially of babies, and how he wants to find his father, his creator, and eventually put a stop to it. The story does progress nicely through chronological order to the significant wars of mankind’s past, but the most intriguing wind up being such battles such as World War, as well as the time he spent as a woman and the services he gave to the specific Middle Eastern countries he had been working with. His time with the nazi’s also wound up being rather interesting. But the problem here is that each chapter represented a different time period for Whargoul, but at the same time also wound up being a bit chronologically irritating as sometimes you couldn’t tell if he was in that specific time period, or in modern times. One chapter he’ll be talking about his current home and the men outside looking to kill him, or escaping from them, and the next you’re in a different country and time period.

Throughout the book, one of the issues that stands out immediately is some minor typos, overall grammatical errors, as well as double word usage that is not necessary in any way, such as the use of “and and” in a sentence, clearly being a typo. These will also just appear at the wrong times and even the word that appears twice has no real reason to be there, though this part is very minimal. But, aside that, you have to deal with Dave Brockie’s writing style. It’s clear the man is not an accomplished writer in any sense, or even really went to school to learn how to properly write a novel. A lot of the sentences in here are penned more like lyrics to a song, and that just ends up adding some filler to the book sincek much of it could be explained better to fit more fluidly in the story and it’s progression through the war scenes. Some of this you could argue was overlooked by any editor who went through the book, but some of the text in here simply is not that engaging and can be over simplified into a sentence that feels compounded upon itself instead of properly expanding or explaining what David is trying to push in the statement. And, considering this is a first person narrative, it can become frustrating, as well as even boring, which does sadly happen a good deal thanks to a lot of filler in the book and expanding on unimportant things.

Of course, the book does get a little perverse and just generally disgusting. And while this is common with Gwar lyrics, most of the time it ends up feeling like filler. The book’s dimensions are larger then a traditional paperback, though not standard hardcover dimensions, so while the two hundred forty four page length may not seem like much, it still ends up being a bit of a long read. This would be an excellent thing for the book if these passages didn’t seem to expand on some parts that seem interesting, such as the Whargoul’s questioning his or her sexuality and what it would feel like, a life of living in feces and journeying through sewers and the undergrounds. But, then things would just go too far for too long. You’ll end up reading pages that describe in great detail how humanity surrounds itself in human waste through the plumbing of the buildings, and the way people go to the bathroom at work, covering various bowel movements and their perks against one large one and it’s cons. You’ll read about how throbbingly hard and erect the Warghoul’s penis is, journeying more into detailed torture porn, or even the rather interesting and confusing bit about his semen melting away the face of a soldier in the opposing army. Some of the knowledge towards the machinery of the proper times too is impressive, as well as the guns and ammos used in the story, and the book even does go into a bit of a science fiction twist upon Whargoul meeting his “brother”, Necrosov, while working for the Nazi’s, and how Necrosov gradually continues to build a metal skeletal system under his skin. Those elements become very interesting and often don’t feel as drawn out or simply included for shock value as others are, but the most interesting bits expanded on are typically when Whargoul ends up killing, or being the reason that a friend had died, especially upon realizing that he unintentionally resurrects himself after being killed by murdering and devouring the soul of his only friend.

As the story progresses, Whargoul clearly begins to grow more intense on his goal to find his father, and it’s not until much later in the story that he does. A good deal of time is given towards the expansion of his creator, and even towards Necrosov. This is when the book takes more of a Science Fiction twist, moreso then the metal skin of the brother in the series, by introducing his father was a LoiGoi, an ancient being that came to Earth and was trapped here. It’s sole intent is to turn mankind against itself and destroy the entire race that way, and by the end of the book Whargoul does manage to find his father, igniting a final confrontation between himself and Necrosov. However, the story is detailed by Whargoul in his final form while playing golf, and it seems to be segwayed into that way, yet the story seems to throw that idea away after the confrontation somewhat for the conclusion. The battle itself is interesting, having the LoiGoi create various war situations throughout all the years and wars each were involved in to find which one of it’s sons were the strongest to lead it’s army, but it’s told more as a video game kind of situation with changing battlefields and warriors to the point where it starts to lose it’s roots in reality and go a bit off-the-wall. However, this shouldn’t come as too much of a shock since the battle leading to this ends with a Native American with machine guns driving a truck into the battlefield and taking out the demons of the LoiGoi to try to save Manhattan, but in the end failing and setting off a nuclear warhead he had in his truck, clearing the vicinity, and giving way to the revolving battle system. And, upon finally confronting his father, the story goes into detail about the sexual organ-like elements of the LoiGoi that attack Whargoul, like a giant protruding penis from it’s face. This, and the previous battles with Necrosov, end up feeling a little weak and should have not only been expanded on outside of the revelation that Whargoul comes to, but just generally longer and built up to be bigger instead of more like a slightly unenthused closing to the book.

Whargoul makes for a nice companion piece to the “Whargoul” song and it’s history, and honestly with the way to the battles in this narrative are detailed out, one can see this story translating well to film, though it would obviously end up heavily editted. It’s nice to have a novel that expands on the Gwar universe, but the problem with this is that his lyrical tendencies towards the band definitely shine through in his writing, and in the end it led to a strong and interesting story, but plagued with boring filler material often clearly aimed towards shock value in the book. This isn’t to say that this approach is bad. Whargoul definitely is a filthy, disgusting book around a reanimating creature that cannot be killed and gets off on war while trying to find his creator, and if you’re into that kind of filthy story telling you’ll definitely enjoy this. But, even then, there’s no denying the book will lose you after a while, even if you are a Gwar fan such as myself. Sadly, due to the filler material, there were times I simply got bored of reading it, and couldn’t really keep going, walking away from the book for weeks, even months at a time before picking the book up again. But, through it all, the story does it’s purpose, and by the end it all comes together and still makes for a good read at the end of the day, even with all it’s faults.