Friday, 27 January 2012

Review of METAMORPHOSIS BLUES by Bruce Taylor (Fantastic Planet Books, 2011)

Metamorphosis Blues

Metamorphosis Blues, the latest collection of short fiction from Bruce Taylor, has all the familiar elements fans expect: the meticulously constructed, rhythmic—indeed, almost musical—prose; dreamscapes where t-shirts can talk and the “raw stuff of space” is embodied in a man’s featureless face; arachnophilia (or phobia?). The familiar themes are here, too: the importance of childhood friendships; the ever-present threat of the past; the fine line between good and evil, where parents turn too easily into abusers and Santa is an anagram of Satan; and, most importantly, the overriding sense that the world, though sometimes dreadful, is full of wonder and magic. My favorites include “Movies,” the tale of a family theater trip that descends into surreal, comic violence; “The Ear of Ozone,” a ludicrously overblown pastiche of bad sci-fi writing which stars a malodorous alien, a semi-clad girl, and a cowboy with a one-word vocabulary; “You Can Hardly Wait,” the story of a nursing home resident, Bruce, who eagerly anticipates the apocalypse. This book makes me want to buy a telescope and watch the night sky for radioactive meteorites and cosmic death spiders. The end is nigh, and isn’t it comforting to know?

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