Fiction Collective Two is an author-run, not-for-profit publisher of artistically adventurous, non-traditional fiction.

Distorture



Distorture
by Rob Hardin

Paperback
1999
Price: $16.00

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It is the end of the century again: the stories in Distorture are elegiac, exquisite panels written in memory of certain decayed angels.


A woman is buried by a musician who has sworn to protect her. A narcoleptic is found, still dreaming, with cryptic symbols engraved into her back. In an elegant loft, a silver-haired man studies the torso of a comatose surfer, and the bodies of the two men are transformed into an intricate work of art. These are only a few of the tortuous stories of Rob Hardin, a veteran studio musician and stylist whose work has been called "impeccable" by Dennis Cooper.


Distorture is a fiercely modern book full of jeweled descriptions of violent eroticism. In Distorture, his first book of stories, Rob Hardin subverts nineteenth century romanticism and redefines the aesthetics of excess. Distorture splices the digital and the autumnal with the drive of the dark ambient music and the elegance of a late Liszt Sonata.


"Rob Hardin's beautiful nightmare prose foresees a future ravaged w/sexual disconsolation, boys haunted by girls and girls lost in scarification. His muse is the NYC tenement rat delirious in conflicted greyscale psychosis. Inside the blood and heartbreak, he senses mystery. And he writes with the terror of love released." —Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth


"Distorture is a tingler—lushly perverse and lyrically demented." —Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love


"Rob Hardin has been lumped in with a bunch of snooze-inducing cyberhacks on the so-called 'cutting edge' of fiction. In fact, Rob is the bloody razor." —Darius James, author of Negrophobia


"The real reason to pick up Distorture is not because it might define your subculture or tell you what it's like on the streets. This is a volume of carefully wrought and revised, icepick-sharp prose. It's the work of an author who invests a great measure of thought into his writing. This may not seem fashionable, but it's what we need." —Colin Raff, New York Press


Excerpt


Knives For A Narcoleptic-


He'd love to stay for the view but break-time is over. It's later than Schwinn, a precocious degenerate on NA training wheels, wants to hang without working on his four track. Output is key, Schwinn keeps telling Ratboy and Ditch. All day, Rat sidesteps talk of music and the future, changing the subject to The Ritual: Germans tied to trees in the Tenderloin District, strippers gone wet-eyed during the sacrament of blood-book printing. Singers whose stomachs quake under criss-crossed dripping red arcs, modifying the cutter's strokes with shrieks. By the time Schwinn remembers the real subject, Rat is half-way down the street on some cryptic errand-metal case in hand an leaning against the wind like a broom-riding herald.


At he merest mention of The Ritual, Schwinn stares into space. Spent little girls have appealed to him since the age of six. Which is not surprising, since Schwinn's just turned seventeen.


Rat walks over to the entrance of a tenement, looks inside, squints and nods. Must know someone in there, Schwinn figures.