Title Skull Nuggets
Author Amy M. Vaughn
Genre Bizarro, Weird Fiction
Page Length 123
Publication Date 27 Aug 2018
Publisher JournalStone – Bizarro Pulp Press
Read Date Feb 2021
Forato House is looking for test subjects: Are you between the ages of 21 and 61? Are you depressed, anxious, unfulfilled? Join us at our state of the art residential testing facility where we have perfected trepanation, the ancient art of drilling a hole in the skull to achieve a permanently higher state of consciousness! But that’s not all! We are currently seeking individuals who wish to eradicate their neurophages. Through our proprietary process of injecting hallucinogens directly into the frontal lobe, you can rid yourself of brain mites and experience lasting bliss. Do it for science! Do it for peace of mind! Do it for the people you love!
Definitely one of the most creative explorations of mental illness I’ve read. Not only is it bizarre and weird as fuck, it’s sensitive, with something meaningful to say. The writing is a little unpolished in parts, but who cares, it’s sound enough. I think what I was most impressed with is how Vaughn depicts what it is like to live with a chronic mental health illness, the subtle nods to daily struggles and thoughts that come along with unwavering depression, the desperation to be free of its grasp, even if that means taking the risks in seeing the great god Pan. I also greatly appreciated the subtle shade thrown at an ineffective care system focussed more on profits and gatekeeping for personal gains than actual care of the in need.
But it ain’t all doom and gloom sadness – the story reads quick with a deeply entertaining narrative, many light-hearted quips, believable characters, and a whole bunch of important and normally unsaid truths. Just don’t take its contents too literal or read this as a self help manual. Please don’t drill a hole in your head.
It’s very rare these days that I give a book 5 stars, particularly on the first read, but this just spoke to my soul and views in many ways. I struggled not to highlight a passage every page or so. I really appreciate this story being told and shared. Highly recommended.
Anyway, I’m off to release the vapors – jk lol. Until next time, peace and love!
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Jack CJ Stark
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