Monday, December 6, 2010

Bizarro soup for the fractured soul: Fungus of the Heart by Jeremy C. Shipp

Fungus of the Heart is a collection of stories by Bram Stoker Award nominee, Jeremy C. Shipp. The tales take place in worlds similar to our own, but offer a twisted reflection of the reality we live in.

Undead ambassadors lurk just outside the suburbs. A powerful protector will kill anyone he has to kill to see his lost love, or will he? A ghost works as a human whisperer. An anthropomorphic walrus and a dead bear mend the hearts of the world one poacher at a time.

Each of the thirteen tales is unified by the theme of heart.

Fire, water, wind, and earth are thankfully absent.

Maybe the author had a definite meaning for these stories. Maybe he didn’t. It doesn’t matter.

This is the world of Bizarro fiction.

When reading this book, you will see what you want to see: yourself, your neighbor, your dog. Reading the same story twice will produce two distinct experiences and emotions. No one will have the exact same journey as anyone else.

If fiction that follows the conventions of “normal” stories is the only thing you want to read, then stay away from this book. If you read it, you will be confused, challenged, and possibly even entertained.

The author has a website with a link to several of his short stories free online. Go there. Test the waters. If you don’t run away screaming or stamp away in disgust, then you probably want to read more. Fungus of the Heart is a great place to start.

I don’t give stars on my reviews anymore. If I did, I’d give this one a Vega, which is nothing to sneeze at.

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