cover image The Brains of Rats

The Brains of Rats

Michael Blumlein. Scream Press, $20 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-910489-28-7

The dozen stories in Blumlein's first collection signal the appearance of a major talent on the horror scene. Subtle and chilling in their spare suggestiveness, many of the short tales revolve around medical and surgical matters, but are not grossly gory. In ``Tissue Ablation and Variant Regeneration: A Case Report,'' an extensive surgical procedure becomes a metaphor for Reaganomics at its cruelest. In a similar vein, ``Bestseller'' concerns a failed writer who is forced to sell off parts of his body to support his family. The title story, a 1987 World Fantasy Award nominee, examines the distress of a mad scientist torn by the contradictions of his own sexuality and by the amorphous nature of male and female sexual roles in general, for which he proposes a drastic solution. (Oct.)