The Exquisite Corpuscle
Starting with a painting by Hugo-winning artist Wu, 22 writers, artists and poets take turns spinning ideas off of a previous contributor's work. The three ""chains,"" which include such varied ideas as a pagoda full of adversarial Raquel Welches and a sorcerer who unknowingly creates a man out of a plum pit, are eventually (and unsatisfactorily) tied together with a story by editor Lake (Escapement) and artwork by Matt Taggart. Some pieces stand alone easily: Benjamin Rosenbaum's brilliant ""Start the Clock"" is set in a near future where a virus has trapped some people in prepubescent bodies, and Heather Shaw's ""Elements"" follows four adventurous college students who participate in a nature ritual that goes awry. Fans of surrealism and innovative speculative fiction will appreciate this fascinating and ambitious exploration of the ""groupmind.""