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Sick Bastards


Matt Shaw

Sick Bastards
average rating is 2 out of 5

Horror, Extreme, Dystopia, Supernatural

R. Alex Jenkins

I love horror, extreme horror and a bit of splatterpunk now and again so I was really hoping for the next amazing book/author in this genre. I didn't get it.

This is my third Matt Shaw book and I haven't enjoyed any of them. Let's put it down to a silly OCD determination to prove to myself that there must be something decent out there?

If the aim of this book is too make you scream with indignation, it succeeds.


  • It's dystopian(ish)! Survival after nuclear fallout (with so many possibilities).

  • Some of the sex scenes are graphic and compelling.

  • People eat each other (I enjoyed Off Season by Jack Ketchum a LOT).

  • The repeat cover designs of all these books are genius marketing. Black covers emblazoned with red or white text shouting SICK, ROTTEN or REPUGNANT F*CK at you, making you believe there's a solid body of really good extreme horror out there. I know this is adult material, but it's more like YA splatterpunk because of how rambling it is!

Although shocking and extreme, Sick Bastards isn't disturbing or psychological.

The author blurts it out as hard and fast as possible in a scattergun approach to draw attention to his work, but instead churns out substandard material, maybe to incite enough negative publicity to drive people to his books and find out for themselves? Nasty breeds nasty.

I've got a better idea, lets rename I Am Legend 'Vampire Shitheads' to sell more copies.

You know those books that are so sprawling that they need to be explained away at the end? One minute characters spit in each other's faces while munching down on human flesh, the next it's how much they love and care about each other before venturing into the beyond.

I really dislike the writing style, lack of craft and the absence of careful planning. It's amateurish, circular and bad literature.

You know why I rate Hogg by Samuel R. Delany as a decent 3-star read - probably the most disgusting book ever published - because it's well written by a very talented author. He tarnished his reputation through it, and please keep away if extreme rape or sodomy are not your thing, but it's three stars all the same.

Classified in some quarters as dystopia, if you want to experience brilliant books in this genre try 1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451 or The Road, to really appreciate the bleak, dire hopelessness of it all with great storytelling and bizarre ideas. For the depth!

This is what makes post-apocalyptic horror intense and depressing because of how it makes you think. Why are we here? Is there any point in going on?

It's not just about ropey writing styles either. Cormac McCarthy expresses himself in a technically unconventional way, constantly bending the grammatical rule book, whereas his vision, accuracy and storytelling are amazing.

Matt Shaw isn't a good author because he doesn't spend enough time fleshing out his ideas, doesn't proofread sufficiently and churns out books two-a-penny in barely more than novella format. It's not the extreme content, but the poor execution! He fails to immerse you in his universe or come across as believable, feeling like you're reading personal notes rather than thriving in the mindset of characters.

Ad-libbed, unconvincing, horribly introspective and repetitive. So much waffle and rambling dialogue.

That's it for me. I gave Matt Shaw a real go, three gos, and now I'm done with blitzkrieg writing tactics with no real depth or planning. This has been a horrible review to write.

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