cover image In the Mean Time

In the Mean Time

Paul Tremblay, ChiZine (Diamond, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (216p) ISBN 9781926851068

Tremblay (No Sleep Till Wonderland) collects 15 world-ending whimpers that probe disintegrating, tormented personalities, both individual and societal. Many of the stories are seen through the troubled eyes of children and adolescents. A girl's second head channels notable women of history in "The Two-Headed Girl"; a boy narrates environmental disaster in "The Marlborough Man Meets the End"; and a disturbed teen guides readers on a terrifying tour through a decaying amusement park in "We Will Never Live in the Castle." Tremblay turns childhood's creepy-crawlies into grim glimpses of possibly well-intentioned but ultimately fatal government machinations ("Rhymes with Jew") and personal choices that bedevil humanity into self-destruction ("Headstones in Your Pocket"). Bitter and depressing, these inchoate slices of the apocalypse can only be tolerated in small doses. (Oct.)