The Third Bear

Jeff VanderMeer, Tachyon, $14.95 paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-892391-98-8
VanderMeer's seventh collection (after Secret Lives) is a fine introduction to one of our very best contemporary practitioners of the fantastic. In the dark "The Third Bear," an isolated medieval town is beset by a monster that uses the bodies of its victims to create a grisly work of art. "Finding Sonoria" concerns a down-on-his-luck PI hired to find a country that issued a postage stamp but apparently does not exist. The intensely surreal "The Situation" takes place in a company torn by bizarre office politics and dedicated to body modification and the construction of beetles and flying manta rays. "The Goat Variations" is a sophisticated alternate history in which a newly elected U.S. president is briefed on a startling scientific breakthrough with origins not of this world. Fans of slipstream and the interstitial will relish VanderMeer's superb prose, overwhelmingly odd situations, and fascinating, eccentric characters. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/21/2010
Release date: 07/01/2010
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