By Tafadzwa Mlambo
Corruption, politics, revenge, murder and the all-important shock factor; Ian Martin’s new book Pop-splat has it all. A story set in South Africa and, better yet, Grahamstown specifically, injects new life into dreary Shakespearean literature in the form of the ‘disgusting life of Matt Dreyer, Hamlet of the 21st century.’
The author explores a sick South African psyche and tells a story that is filled with cruelty, violence, perverted sex, mad revenge and bitter despair. But it is a story told in the form of an over-the-top, zany black comedy.
Martin says that Grahamstown suited the plot admirably in the sense that one could view Grahamstown as ‘a place of isolation and exile’, but also because Martin had the ‘absurd’ idea of Matt being persuaded to commit suicide from one of the three bridges along the Garden Route.
Pop-splat is pure fiction but it deals with several important real-life issues ranging from political and economic corruption to cultural decadence, materialism, violent crime and even more recent issues such as the recession and build-up to the 2010 World Cup. People are encouraged to pay more attention to issues that threaten to ‘rob them of a future’. Martin adds, “In the light of recent student massacres at Virginia Tech and schools in Finland and Germany, Pop-splat is particularly relevant.” The more serious aim of the book is to stimulate people into rethinking and possibly changing their values and beliefs to better understand what could drive a student to unleash a mindless and senseless massacre on his own peers.
Martin is targeting a readership between 18-30, but Pop-splat will appeal to any open-minded reader who is keen for an easy read filled with action, humour and ideas. After reading this book one might also want to look for Martin’s fictional biography, The Life of Henry Fuckit 1950-2015, which is being serialised on http://www.kagablog.com. And there is even more to look forward to: he is currently working on a book which is set in South Africa in the year 2030 – after the apocalypse. Judging from the success of Pop-Splat, apocalypse or not, it will be well worth the wait.
Pop-splat is available for R100 from on-campus agent Guy who can be contacted on 078 531 0037. Also check out http://www.pop-splat.co.za.