Tuesday, May 12

The Curse of the Campfire Weenies


and Other Warped and Creepy Tales
by David Lubar
Tom Doherty / 2007

Why have I waited two years to review this book? I think it was because it got lost in one of the many piles of books, later to be hidden during moving. But part of me wonders if I didn't deliberately and subconsciously hide this book away. Because I was embarrassed? Because I was offended? Insulted? None of these.

It's because I was inspired. This was one of a handful of books I've read in the past couple of years that opened up a trap door in my brain that leads directly to the unfiltered twelve year old me. Long packaged away safely as a memory, as a slave to selective revelation, this book seems to know where the the cage is weakest and can be exploited. A few stories in and suddenly I'm back in my sleeping bag at Camp Slauson, BSA, up late at night making up ridiculous stories of monsters and unexplainable phenomena.

Lubar's Weenie series are full of the kind of campfire tall tales and horror stories you might expect if Rod Serling and Bob Hope could be reincarnated as a single being. They are damned odd, amusing, and full of twists that only the mother of a pretzel or a yogi could enjoy.

No, I take that back. They're exactly the kind of story a middle grade boy enjoys, and with a half dozen titles in the series there are dozens of them to jump into.

Tales like the boys who dare each other to grab for mud from the bottom of the "bottomless" lake, only to have one of them discover that the farther down you dive the closer you get to the surface... of another world, full of alien tentacled creatures. Then there's the story of the robot with limited memory who is perpetually faced with cleaning "his" room, being turned off and on only for that purpose, trapped forever in doing what he "knows" needs to be done. Or the story of the maniacal wood chipper with a one track mind once it's had a taste of human blood.

Many of these stories are under five pages long, some are barely two pages. Lubar knows his reader isn't interested in anything but "the good parts" and it makes for quick, enjoyable reading. Lubar might not be a household name the way some authors are, but I bet his books are better circulated and well-worn compared to some.
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