Abbey Mei Otis º 9 ReadPhilip Roth would sometimes uote Chekhov s observation that the job of the artist is the proper presentation of the problem If that s indeed the case then Abbey Mei Otis s highly artistic debut collection which gathers a dozen dazzling tales tells me we have uite the problem on our hands The majority of these stories eight previously published four original to this volume evolve around dystopic or depressed futures "wherein ampant angst alienation decadence and physical suffering seem like the only logical outgrowths I use that word deliberately as "rampant angst alienation decadence and physical suffering seem like the only logical outgrowths I use that word deliberately as has a particular knack for details that anchor her characters in their physical predicaments In the collection s eponymous tale for instance one of my favorites the inhabitants of a small town in the aftermath of an accident involving alien technology in a nearby lab develop bumps on their bodies and must be evacuated These protuberances which feel hard and ound like everybody s got ping pong balls buried inside them are bad enough but there s an almost throwaway line early on that well illustrates Otis s attention to physicality He digs at "The Sole Of His Bare " sole of his bare peels off a big nugget of callus and flicks it onto the ug The Moonkids of the next story The Service of the State: The IAS Reconsidered rejects from a lunar colony who are outcast to Earth at the age of sixteen if they fail to achieve specific test scores experience immense discomfort in our higher gravity and must undergo difficult procedures Your muscles learn differently in moon gravity Your bones form light like a bird s Used to not even be possible to make the transition you d touch down into earthpull and collapse like fast melting candles Too many fractures for all the king s horses and all the king s men Way way too many for Earth doctors to deal with Earth doctors are known for not giving a shit Now though they ve got ways around it They ve got operations and stuff Every moonkid s got incision scars in the same places Despite these treatments though Earthpull is fickle like a trickster gnome Sometimes even after months and months it sneaks up behind you and punches in your knees The name of the game thematically speaking is not so much adapting as survivingAnatomy is even foregrounded in the third story If You Could Be God of Anything in which a bunch of kids discover a sexobot that has literally fallen from the sky one of countless discarded objects from the skyways air traffic In the fifth Blood Blood uasi disembodied aliens derive observational pleasure from humans performing mundane activities but they seem to become especially aroused by fighting The sixteen year old narrator who engages in these tussles longs to escape her life and body Guilt she tells herself is just another trapping of the flesh Again the body becomes a world now made alien by a kind of ultra sensitive latex encasing in Sex Dungeons for Sad PeopleAs this first batch of stories eadily makes clear the problematic worlds in which Otis s characters find themselves are not only globally insoluble but often than not personally untenable This doesn t always lead to tragedy sometimes the possibility of transformation is enough to sustain hope In other instances such as Teacher or Sweetheart a etreat into surrealism seems like the only appropriate The Ippos King response In yet others such as Rich People the successful incursion into a differentealm of class or status only opens up even nauseating vistasReaders who enjoy traditional narratives may struggle with Otis s work which celebrates voice above all else Though there are plenty of science fictional and fantastic elements here Finding Caruso rising sea levels moon colonies gene modificationsobots virtual Fat Lives realities even ghosts of a sort they typically comprise the backgroundather than the foundation of the stories at hand Otis displays enormous skill in first person narration and she Số phận chú bé đánh trống relies on it almost exclusively trapping us in an array of colorful subjectivities Her characters freuently youthful tend to speak in a highly idiosyncratic mordant collouial way Otis s deliberate cadences andepetitions in sentence structures A Southern Moderate in Radical Times: Henry Washington Hilliard, 1808-1892 result in a kind of hypnotic poetics of the mundane Privations physical mental spiritual are a constant focus in these stories and those elements are immediately accessible but their contexts oftenemain obliue Consider for example this nugget of description about the aliens in Blood Blood They speak or ather do not speak in streams of thought directed toward our minds Look. Abbey Mei Otis’s short stories are contemporary fiction at its strongest taking apart the supposed euality that is clearly just not there putting humans under an alien microscope putting humans under government control. .
At one straight it s like the sunlight that plays on the Hull Of A Boat In of a boat in lake Only no boat no lake no sunlightIf You Lived Here You d Be Evicted by Now and Ultimate Housekeeping Megathrill 4 the volume s two closing stories are longer than most preceding pieces and in some ways stronger There s
to explore crevasses of Otis s thoughtfully constructed worlds and time to engage with the characters plights There s also the opportunity for some truly amazing stylistic flourishes such as the following which occurs three paragraphs into the penultimate storyLet s say there s no money in this world Let s say if you want to obtain something like ice or photocopies you have to give somebody a handjob Only nobody wants to give a handjob in the grocery store or the copy shop so instead at each egister in a clear glass tank they have one of those giant clams from the Pacific Northwest which is a symbol for genitalia In lieu of payment you dip your hand into the cold salt water and caress the clam once twiceJust kidding of course there s money Casey and Stacy both work in financeIf you get the sense that Otis s stories may provoke strong emotions in you and disturb you you e probably ight But I don t believe Otis s focus is on being transgressive per se ather on illustrating how for many transgression has already become a cornerstone of everyday eality Otis doesn t use science fiction to lift the veil of the familiar and peer at what s beneath Instead with great shrewdness and courage and originality she eveals that the veil was itself an illusion and the familiar a construct of anything but This is different Great but different "In A Good Way Not "a good way Not trying to be original by being unintelligible Looking at you Mrs Kelly Link Another of the PKD nominees this one is a collection of short stories set in the nearish future Not eally any sort of future I want to see though It s a grungy bleak tainted place filled with beaten down people discarded by societyWell written yes some of it is uite good A few of those images will stick with me for a while I do like to think that humans will always love always fight to survive I d just ather not see them doing it with their heads down hunched over getting kicked This was hands down the most depressing book I ve ever Deconstruction in Context: Literature and Philosophy readThe author masterfully creates an atmosphere of oppression desolation help and hopelessness in each story that I literally stumbled from one gut punch to the next Read individually there are some excellent takes on the ineuality of societies POVs of people who have noeal chance in life and are at the mercy of those with power As a collection the stories are downright devastating After Not an Alien Story I had to put the book down cause I cried so hardAnd that s what fascinated me most here Usually I can distance myself uite easily from the protagonists especially if the narration voices are on the vernacular side as was the case here Therefore I thought I can Hoffnung Mensch read aange of disturbing stories without getting affected Yet Abbey Mei Otis commands such a poetic yet honest style that she managed to get beyond my shields and attacked from the wrong side of themI would not ecommend this collection to anybody unless your shields are fully charged but I m damn glad that I ead it and I will definitely eturn to these stories As epulsive as they are they are even addictive cause in all their weirdness they ing true This is a hard book to ead and even harder to The Witch who was a princess rate I had to tally my individualating for each and came up with 25 stars Gosh darn it if it s 24 or 26 it would be easier I give three for now just because it is still better than most two star books I Little Shop of Horrors: 8 Selections from the Musical: Easy Piano read Why the extra 05 star It brought no kicked me out of my comfort zone It has some powerful scenes intriguing conversations This is my first encounter with the author s work and she sure is memorable She knows how to knit all the traditional SF story elements from aliens genetic modification dystopiaising sea water and ground them to the level of individual families and communities Most stories also have strong voices All happen to be female in all kinds of ages Now the downside The stories are super bleak set near futurish decaying world and told in a hopelessly devastating manner The book is not something to pick up andomly and euire a suitable mind condition mine is pretty stressed out at the moment thus it got heavier Also I admit I did. Putting kids from the moon into a small beach town and then the putting the Jeden výdych koňa rest of the town under the microscope as theyeact in ways we hope they would and then of course in ways we’d hope they don’tOtis has long. .room to explore
Not fully comprehend all stories Yet I feel the draw of Eleanor, Quiet No More rereading them Some I dideread because they are shorter and I ended up liking them I hope I could find a time when I could in a better state of mind peel the layers slowly "and immerse myself unfortunately this is not the "immerse myself Unfortunately this is not the Alien Virus Love Disaster Is A Debut Short is a debut short collection by Abbey Mei Otis which thrilled and confused me In the first couple stories I "was eminded of a couple of my favorite short story collections of "reminded of a couple of my favorite short story collections of year Friday Black and Sabrina Corina I elished Otis creativity in crafting otherworldly stories and was What It Takes: Fighting for My Life and My Love of the Game reminded of Adjei Brenyah in that satirical brilliance that makes you laugh so hard until youe on the verge of collapsing in anguish I was Luftwaffe Fighters 1945 (Topcolors) reminded of Fajardo Anstine in the searing humanness of the characters and theiresilient depth I was Revenant riding high on this collection but it began to fray around the edges and I found myself unable to keep up as the narratives again and again dissolved into fragmented dream seuences both literally dream seuences and inexplicable descents into absurdity My favorite stories were the titular Alien Virus Love Disaster which explores the effects of government experiments with alien technology on the surrounding community after exposure begins to cause their bodies to swell withed lumps Moonkids about a group of young adults living on Earth after being separated from their Lunarian parents after failing to pass the exams Pumpkinflowers reuired to continue living on the Moon and Blood Blood about a pair of friends who earn money fighting for the entertainment of aliens while struggling to adjust to the alien impact on their worldEven the stories I liked less had such intriguing imaginative premises that I m still contemplating I just wish they were less baffling If youe intrigued by any of this I definitely would still Wonderful Memories of It's a Wonderful Life recommend you check out this collection and then come unpack it with me Abandon all hope ye who enter here my imagined tag line for this bookThis is theeview I ve been dreading most because I wanted so badly to like it and just couldn t connect with it at all It s a collection of bizarre short fiction mostly incorporating some kind of Green Eyed Envy romance andor alien contact With a title like Alien Virus Love Disaster I was expecting something weird yes but also something funny Like the Stephanie Plum of alien books And it was just dark depressing despairing There isn t a single shred of hope in the whole darn book Not one tiny story I gave it two stars instead of one because on the upside the stories are uniue and inclusive I can honestly say I ve neveread anything like them and I can see how they would be The A-List Diet Fitness Plan right for someone just not me I wanted to laugh I wanted to be uplifted and instead I ended up dragged down in a way I wasn t prepared forContent warnings view spoilerimpliedape talk about child death and maybe cannibalism hide spoiler I ve got a friend a hydrologist for the US Geological Survey s West Virginia office whose slow thick Appalachian accent might just lull you into thinking he is slow and thick too Unless you listen to what he s sayingThese are like that You don t The Amethyst Road realize unless youe The King's Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of Thomas Wolsey really paying attention UntilLet me tell you mouth lizard to sound cave Alien Virus Love Disaster by Abbey Mei Otis is uniue truly amazing work Every story in this short collection is a goddamn gut punch and yet these are all sf of one sort or another as well bursting over the levees and overflowing the boundaries of dry mimetic literature The climate changeefugees living in Saint MART s Home for Flooded Children p125 are just one example among manyYou ll figure out other terms she uses like bamf view spoilerbad ass motherfucker natch hide spoiler Oh thank goodness a collection of actual short stories with plots and characters and all that good stuff I The Lupus Encyclopedia: A Comprehensive Guide for Patients and Families remember from way way back Not only that but Otis does it with pizzazz wrenching the good old humanist SF short story out of the familiar nineteen sixties tropes settings and style straight into the new millennium the feeling is still there but it all feels fresh it feels today it feelselevant I m pretty bummed I didn t like this There are some great ideas and zinger sentences From Teacher the troubled educator in the Vice Principal s office musesSometimes when I speak I can t hear the words All I hear is the sound of worms pushing up through wet earthBut I found the longer pieces to be uite a drag Sorry. Been fascinated in using strange situations to explore dynamics of power oppression and grief and the twelve stories collected here are at once a striking indictment of the present and a powerful warning about the futur. ,
Abbey Mei Otis