13 Conjurations

Jonathan Thomas. Hippocampus (www.hippocampuspress.com), $20 trade paper (278p) ISBN 978-1614980674
The 13 selections in Thomas's third story collection (after 2010's Tempting Providence) are stronger in conception than in execution. The opener, "Mobymart After Midnight," epitomizes the problem. Thomas combines a Walmart-like mega-chain and vampirism with the intent of creating a biting satire of conformist workplace culture. Many readers will find the name "Mobymart" clunky and heavy-handed, as well as the explanation for the horror its employees and shoppers suffer: that one of its stores was built over that old chestnut, "an ancient, disused graveyard." The dozen other tales suffer from similar weaknesses. "Sympathy for the Deadbeats" imagines a society where zombies are an ordinary part of life, and consumers have a choice of air fresheners to combat the odor of rotting flesh—Decay Away or Fresh Flesh. In this entry, Thomas aims to parody the image of voracious attorneys by having lobbyists introduce "absurd" legislation that enables creditors to go after the undead. Not everyone will be amused. (Aug. 2013)
Reviewed on: 04/28/2014
Release date: 08/01/2013
Genre: Fiction
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