Floor lobsters are the result of a corrupt environment

Back in Steve Aylett’s world, reality has been distilled into an essence of pure absurdity. Sentences twist like snakes, stuffed with impossible and frightening ideas. Characters talk ominous gibberish. Reading changes from a leisure to a struggle with a madman.

The story of Only an Alligator, the first Accomplice book, goes like this: Barny Juno finds an alligator in a tunnel and adopts it. The alligator belongs to a demon called Sweeney, whose elaborate scheme to get it back involves turning Barny into an object of hate in a mayoral election.

Barny loves all the winged and stepping animals on the earth, but he eats trolls when he’s nervous – small, real, live trolls, which is a disadvantage in job interviews. His dog Help wears mascara, (nobody knows why). His friend Gregor, often mistaken for Barnys pig servant, struggles with a sexual attraction to dinosaurs. Another friend once had a chrysalis for a head, but the spider-like creature that grew there has now left him.

The mayor’s office is infested with lobsters, which local people think of as an insect.

The city newspaper is called The Blank Stare.

Every page of Only an Alligator is littered with absurd and disturbing jokes, but the absurdity is coherent. Steve Aylett calls himself a satirist, and complains that his readers don’t get it. I think he’s arrogant. But I love his books. They challenge me to a wrestling match, words vs mind. And they usually win.

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