Unscheduled Departures: The Asylum Anthology of Short Fiction

Greg Boyd, Author, Gregg Boyd, Editor Asylum Arts $7.95 (112p) ISBN 978-1-878580-11-5
Publisher Boyd ( Water & Power ) reprints from his Asylum magazine tales that, in contributor Celestine Frost's phrase, excel at ``fashioning . . . an ornate luxury from bare essentials.'' Improvising on the most basic, immediate materials--straightforward narrative, typography--these stories evoke charmingly arch worlds and characters, often in a matter of one or two pages. Appropriating the form of a book index, Catherine Scherer presents Henry, who, regarding iced coffee, possesses a ``fondness for, near fatal,'' and who attempts 22 cited sexual ``advances, to author'' that are met by 25 citations of rejection. In sharp contrast to this spirit of playfulness, two exceptional stories explore the darker aspects of the fantastic. Eric Basso's ``Equus Caballus'' concerns a kind of kinky Kubla Khan figure whose Xanadu is an icy ravine where he practices mechanical illusions and sadomasochism. Stephen Dixon's stark, disturbing ``Bo'' details how a man's anxiety attack on a subway leads to the total disintegration of his grasp on reality. Taken all together, these stories form an inventive and unsettling essay on the allure and snare of created worlds. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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