A bio-horror tribute to life’s tragic comedy: marriage
HE DIGS A HOLE is a deep pit sucking, in much more than the insane concept of self-mutilation in the name of worms and holes and stagnant marriages. Imagine if David Lynch produced a gritty, raw, live-action JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. Without the cute characters. Adding much more threatening ones to take their place. Flesh trees yielding organ-like fruit. Nematode-human sex scenes. Robotic neighbors. And it wouldn’t be a Danger Slater book without a super graphic and extremely uncomfortable nod at a facet of existentialism.
As the back cover professes, protagonist Harrison Moss chops off his hands and replaces them with gardening tools in a brutal scene reminiscent of a Sam Raimi production, then digs a big hole in his backyard. This is the introduction. From there, He Digs a Hole gets very dark.
The language is provocative and direct, Slater’s writing hinting at a strong Vonnegut influence in his deliberate wit and matter-of-fact style. The characters are well developed and show growth, some forward and some downward–at times, very abruptly downward. The story is intriguing, split into three parts that go above, below, and in between the setting. My only reserve was the author’s use of Fourth Wall to interrupt the story for comic relief. Albeit, it was hilarious each time–and I appreciated the clever use of the mechanism to amp the chaos and momentum building to the climax as it was very well done–but it was perhaps a bit too much at points. But that is my opinion and from a comedy perspective it was a hit.
As with the other titles in the quickly expanding Danger Slater universe, He Digs a Hole is a fantastically written allegory about life; specifically, He Digs a Hole is about the loss of meaning in life and the struggle to escape bland, day-to-day existence in a dead marriage. It’s a snapshot of what life looks like when we hit the absolute rock bottom of a meaningless existence and start to dig. A great story with page-to-page intrigue and a concept that will make you steer clear of the lawn and garden section for the rest of your life.
CS Nelson has appeared in horror, diesel punk, and bizarro publications in the Lower Forty-eight and United Kingdom. He lives in Fairbanks, Alaska where he plays ice hockey, skis, and can be found wearing a wig from time to time as, “Smudge,” guitar player for arctic metal band, Wet Thunder. He is also a substitute teacher and Army Scout. For a good time darkly, visit his website at http://nelsoncs.com.