Written by: Chad Lutzke
I began this book with zero intention of reading the entire thing any time soon. I just wanted a taste and then would get back to my currently very busy life. I’ve been in the middle of reading a constant flow of submissions for an anthology I am compiling, so any extra reading time was strictly devoted to those…okay, and I got Stephen King’s new anthology Bazaar of Bad Dreams that I’ve been having a fling with. But certainly no time right now to devote to anything else.
However, when I stepped into the sticky web that is Arachnophile, I soon found myself bound within its pages, unable to break free.
The bizarre world that Betty Rocksteady weaves for us in her tale is one riddled with over-sized spiders and victims of racism as they struggle to find their place in a human world. One of these eight-legged creatures happens to move in next door to the book’s arachnophobic protagonist and his girlfriend. The girlfriend encourages her man to be more inviting to their new neighbor, and soon his feelings toward the thing take a very unexpected turn that Rocksteady has a very strange and unsettling way of presenting as something that could almost be comprehended by the reader. I feel dirty just typing that.
Arachnophile is bizarro, but it’s lighthearted in its execution—an easy read. It doesn’t feel like some poetic acid trip that only the author can truly enjoy. There is a certain claustrophobic and routine-like feel reminiscent of Lynch’s Eraserhead, though don’t let my analogy fool you into thinking this is some slow-paced nightmare that only some will get and others will hate. If you’re not already a fan of this subgenre Arachnophile is a great gateway to help you find your way.
If I have one complaint about the book it’s that the synopsis gives too much away. I would have liked to find out on my own that the story takes a twisted romantic turn. I think not initially knowing where it was headed would have made this book a page turner more than it already is.