cover image Love in the Time of Metal and Flesh

Love in the Time of Metal and Flesh

Jay Lake. Prime (, $24.95 (96p) ISBN 978-1-60701-340-2

Lake’s stand-alone novella is a horror-tinged departure from his popular fantasy epics (Green, etc.). Markus Selvage, a Texas native living in approximately present-day San Francisco, gets involved in that city’s deep-underground scene of extreme body modification—readers watch as Markus cuts off his left pinky finger and eventually has it replaced with a syringe—and equally extreme sex. Markus’s lover, Danni, introduces him to this world, draws him in deeper, and then disappears. The story is disjointed, the narrative broken up by flashes to Markus’s childhood, filled with incest and violence, and his future, as he lies in a hospital ward and tries to figure out how he got there. However, the threads are expertly woven together. The writing is graceful and sometimes even poetic, but the subject matter, which tests the bounds of the word “explicit,” will limit the novella’s audience. Agent: Jennifer Jackson, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Dec.)