cover image The Ramshead Algorithm and Other Stories

The Ramshead Algorithm and Other Stories

K.J. Kabza. Pink Narcissus, $15 trade paper (348p) ISBN 978-1-939056-13-9

Science and the supernatural converge to form quirky and original hybrids in the 11 stories in Kabza’s latest collection (after Under Stars). In “Steady on Her Feet,” a pair of doctors dedicated to improving moral deficiencies in their patients offer prosthetic augmentation of personal character. Another eccentric doctor, in “The Soul in the Bell Jar,” creates “vivifieds” (zombies) by stitching souls to the corpses of people and animals. In “You Can Take It with You,” the consciousnesses of newly dead people who are too poor to afford a life after death are uploaded to a server to participate as characters in an afterlife scenario enjoyed by a wealthy businessman. Although the settings for these stories are often notably fantastic, Kabza’s well-drawn characters—such as the protagonist of “Heaventide,” who yearns to escape her culture’s imprisonment of women in domestic roles—are recognizably human, and their emotional authenticity lends gravity to these tales’ wildest flights of fancy. (Jan.)