Behold the Vermin, Mine Own Heart: a review of Danger Slater’s I WILL ROT WITHOUT YOU

I Will Rot Without You by Danger Slater
Published by Fungasm Press/Eraserhead Press
Available February 8, 2016

Danger Slater wants to make you uncomfortable. And he’s damn good at it. I Will Rot Without You is not some metaphorical title. It very much describes what’s happening to its anxiety-ridden, sickly narrator. The rot in question is threefold: one, The City in which the story takes place is under threat from an apocalyptic storm. Two, the narrator’s crumbling apartment building is being overrun by a sentient hive-mind of malicious cockroaches and overgrown fungus. And three, the narrator has some sort of illness that starts in his hand and works its way up and out, until he’s literally falling apart.

The rot is also emotional, of course. Our narrator is a hot mess. Bills he can’t hope to pay are pouring out of his mailbox. His ex-girlfriend wants nothing to do with him. He’s a coward, penniless, and everything is collapsing around him. This book is profoundly humorous, horrifying, sad, and gross in equal measure. Not since Nick Cutter’s The Deep have I found a book so focused on body horror.

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This is the gross-out for the gross-out’s sake, so if bizarro body horror isn’t your cup of entrails, pass this one by. While I am not usually a fan of this type of writing, Slater’s sense of humor and on-the-nose characterization of both the narrator and his degenerate neighbors won me over. This is a book very much about slacker/urban anxiety. It’s all of your worst anxieties, fears, self-doubts, and sense of being overwhelmed externalized.

It’s also very, very funny. I found myself shaking my head or speaking out in protest at the gluttony of horrors described on each page. The plot is an upward curve of exponential degradation, heartbreak, and fungoid slime—but the story is fast-paced, the writing so vivid, and the humor so poignant and cutting that it never overstays its welcome. By the time the climax hits, you’ll be ready to watch it all drown. Cathartic, ridiculous, and emotionally satisfying, I Will Rot Without You is a funhouse ride through one man’s insecurities and broken heart.

Recommended for fans of bizarro, body horror, and for anybody who’s ever felt like they might fall apart. Literally.

I was provided an advance review copy, and the book will not be available until February 8th. Please check the author’s blog for information on when the book is available for purchase.

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