BigCity (Stalking Horse Press)
Scot Sothern’s profane western satire, BigCity, is a novel with an unforgettable cast, including the wild and lethal Bitch Bantam, pulp writer Slab Pettibone, and his sidekick FuzzyWuzzy the bear, in a tale as moving as it is scandalous. In postbellum America, BigCity nutures the birth of feminism, robber barons, media stardom, and motion pictures. Tall-Tale characters are realized with humor and pathos, sex and violence and nail-biting action. Teeming masses have come this dark megalopolis for a new life and a throw of the dice.
Bitch Bantam is a giant of a woman and a living legend. As a tot, she was pitted in back-alley gaming joints, against fighting rats, curs, cocks and hogs. She was victorious in bloody battle yet illiterate and chained to servitude by white slavers. Now, freed of the bonds of slavery, she harbors a quixotic obsession of becoming a refined, civilized, woman like those she sees twirling parasols through the glittering boulevards of BigCity. When Bitch falls in love with the famous hammer-of- justice wielding feminist, Helen Beck, she fears her violent primal instincts will drive her love away.
Pulp writer, performer, and rootin-tootin cowboy, Slab Pettibone, has no legs. He travels about, hither and yon, saddled to the back-side of his trusty, four-hundred seventy-six-pound, pet bear FuzzyWuzzy. When great love and loss come together Slab is forced to accept his legendary status as all too human. He strives to be the action-packed hero he created on the written page, while FuzzyWuzzy just wants to eat and shit in the woods.
Dooley Paradise, a well-meaning lad with a political bent, orchestrates the daily existence of a self-sufficient orphanage, TumbleHouse. The tatterdemalion tikes are tutored in reading, writing, thievery and solicitation. When TumbleHouse is besieged by a gaggle of crusading dowagers led by famous feminist, Helen Beck, young Dooley becomes a pawn in a no-win scheme of city-wide corruption.
Daddy Smithy is a showbiz whiz. He has put together a vaudeville extravaganza with Slab Pettibone, FuzzyWuzzy, and Bitch Bantam topping the bill. Now Daddy needs financing to tackle the new medium of moving-pictures. When he barters his six-year- old daughter to twisted tobacco tycoon Warner Quackenbush, he sets in motion a chain of violence and revenge.
BigCity is a fantastical adventure and love story examining the dynamics of change and the politics of natural selection.
Praise for Scot Sothern:
“Deliciously strange and compelling, delightfully lurid and fun, Scot Sothern’s debut novel reads like a feral mashup of Cormac McCarthy and William Gibson amped on cornjuice and spiderbite.” – Mark Haskell Smith
“Sothern is not a mere voyeur, he wades deeply into zones most never will and renders his subjects with dignity and compassion. Lowlife is a moving and compelling piece of work.”--Henry Rollins
“This is raw life without filter, unsentimental, unsparing, brutally beautiful.” - Tara Ison, author of BALL
Writer/photographer Scot Sothern, best known for his up-close stories and photographs of street prostitutes in Los Angeles, spent forty years making photographs and drifting from job to job. His first exhibit, Lowlife, opened at the notorious Drkrm Gallery in Los Angeles in 2010 and his first book, Lowlife, was published in the U.K. by Stanley Barker in 2011. Scot’s work has since appeared in numerous online and glossy magazines along with gallery shows in LA, NYC, Miami, and London. The British Journal of Photography called Lowlife, “The year’s most controversial photobook.” In 2013 Scot took a two-year gig writing a biweekly column, Nocturnal Submissions, at VICE Magazine. In 2013, Curb Service: A Memoir, was published by Soft Skull Press. In 2016, Streetwalkers, stories and photographs, was published by powerHouse Books. BigCity is his first novel.