The Trans Space Octopus Congregation

Bogi Takács. Lethe, $20 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-59021-693-4
In this grim collection of speculative stories, Takács uses magic, technology, and the otherworldliness of space to explore the horrors of humans’ worst impulses. The 22 reprints and one new story showcase people and societies surviving at great cost to themselves in the face of war, apocalypse, and death. While the moral message is impeccably consistent, the stories that convey it do so with varying degrees of success. The grisly sacrificial violence (leading to the question “How much pain can a person take?”) undertaken by two roommates to fend off an attack in “This Secular Technology,” the macabre hopelessness of endlessly identifying and cataloging mundane objects at the behest of alien masters in “Given Sufficient Desperation,” and the eeriness of the parasitic relationship in “To Rebalance the Body” typify Takács’s decision to prioritize strong, shocking emotions above other elements of prose. The dense and often depressing nature of this collection will make it a challenge for everyone except hardcore lovers of dark and weird fiction. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/22/2019
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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