Elegant language and surrealistic themes defy genre and moral expectations in the weird and transgressive stories found in this collection. Assassins of old gods become their beloved emissaries in “She Who Runs.” Technological body modification leads to a political conspiracy in the nightmarish dystopia of “Still Life with Skull,” and a mad goddess’s frantic dancing powers an entire cosmos in “Sleepless, Burning Life.” Echoes of Dunsany’s myth making crash against nihilistic visionaries struggling for self and sanity, and often the only salvation is escaping into the imagination, encompassed in the hallucinogenic spider venom of the tragic titular story. Once consumed, it allows an underground race to “spend a precious eternity inside the vistas of [their] minds,” a powerful metaphor for humanity and imaginative fiction. Poet Allen’s (Unseaming) pairing of individualistic suffering and cosmic hugeness evokes a lyrical friction between dread and wonder. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/25/2016 Release date: 03/01/2016 Genre: Fiction
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