The Science of Lost Futures

Ryan Habermeyer. BOA, $16 trade paper (216p) ISBN 978-1-942683-60-5
If the Brothers Grimm wrote today, they might turn out something like this imaginative collection, Habermeyer’s debut. Habermeyer’s biography identifies him as “a scholar of European folklore and fairy-tales.” That strain, combined with a puckish attitude towards the bizarre and grotesque, make his an arresting voice. The 19 stories collected here include a fair amount of flash fiction. “A Genealogical Approach to My Father’s Ass” begins with this piquant sentence: “Olaf Haber, respected oat farmer, ate raw human buttocks in the closing days of the third Silesian War.” The longer stories have similarly attention-getting openings and spool out like macabre fables. “The Foot” chronicles a coastal community’s obsession with a dismembered foot that washes up onshore and inexplicably becomes a kind of talisman. The very next story, “Visitation,” is about a runaway womb. In “The Good Nazi Karl Schmidt,” a typical American family gets a Nazi as a pet. Not all the stories announce their outrageousness right out of the gate, though it’s always waiting in the wings. In “The Fertile Yellow,” a husband goes through a series of weird rituals to enhance the chance of conception. “In Search of Fortunes Not Yet Lost” puts an impish twist on the myth of the frontier. Habermeyer’s stories are consistently outlandish and inventive. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/19/2018
Release date: 05/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
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