This is my very first book review, but it's also not something that will become the norm over here. I am trying something new with this one, and it's both the fan in me and the fact that Justin Curfman is a good friend of ours that is driving me to do it.
"Tephra" is a world that Justin Curfman is basing all his stories in. It's hard to say exactly what it is, but let's just say that it's basicly a world created by Justin at a very young age. "Fragments From Tephra" takes us into that world, showing us bits and pieces of what it looks like in about 80 pages. And trust me, it's not like anything out there. Justin Curfman is nowadays mostly known from his indie band "Feeding Fingers", but he also has short films ("Tephrasect", "Zugskin", "Platelets") and books ("Expiration Date", "Catalog of Absurdity") and that's where my interest first started. But what makes Justin so interesting to me is that the world he has created is so clear in everything he makes. Listening to one of his songs leaves just as strong images in your mind as watching one of his films.
I will start with the negative part of this book. I had read a lengthy blog post from Justin that was really interesting to read because it went into his head and his past, explaining the world he had created and how it came about. So what I had expected when I got this book to review was that it would be a full novel-sized version of this blog because it was so damn interesting to read about. But the book is essentially, well.. fragments from Tephra. Meaning: it features pictures, sketches, things taped onto pages and other things that he has made through the years. Which is just as interesting to me, just much less reading. This entire book is visually pleasing if you enjoy some really depraved art. And when there finally is something to read, it's usually along the lines of this: "A dead catfish locked in a birdcage. A donkey riding a horse to the Christian Bullet Factory. I saw this advertised on children's kites soaring over buildings that I designed". Kinda inspirational, to be honest. Just that whole thinking-outside-the-box that Justin brings to the table.
It's hard to specify what you will get out of this book since it will depend on who you are. If you are a fan of Justin Curfman it will be 80 pages of brilliance as you see new bits of his world. But all the same if you have no idea who he is prior to reading the book then you might be blown away by the "Four Faceless Girls Share One Pair of Lips" (a favorite of mine) and just find some great art. Of course, you might also wonder what kind of psycho made this book, and hope that his cell is locked.
I recommend you read the blog spot I mentioned before checking out the book though, a great companion piece: http://justincurfman.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/notes-on-tephra-fragments-and-explanations/
And you can buy the book (and other stuff) over at JustinCurfman.com