Elegant language and surrealistic themes defy genre and moral expectations in the weird and transgressive stories found in this collection. Assassins of old gods become their beloved emissaries in “She Who Runs.” Technological body modification leads to a political conspiracy in the nightmarish dystopia of “Still Life with Skull,” and a mad goddess’s frantic dancing powers an entire cosmos in “Sleepless, Burning Life.” Echoes of Dunsany’s myth making crash against nihilistic visionaries struggling for self and sanity, and often the only salvation is escaping into the imagination, encompassed in the hallucinogenic spider venom of the tragic titular story. Once consumed, it allows an underground race to “spend a precious eternity inside the vistas of minds,” a powerful metaphor for humanity and imaginative fiction. Poet Allen’s (Unseaming) pairing of individualistic suffering and cosmic hugeness evokes a lyrical friction between dread and wonder. (Mar.)
“Mike Allen will infect your subconscious with hallucinatory and alarming delight. This book is a must-read for fans of weird fiction and dark fantasy.”
—Helen Marshall, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Gifts for the One who Comes After
“Surrender yourself to The Spider Tapestries and let these tales rewire your mind.” —Scott Nicolay, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Do You Like to Look at Monsters?
The Spider Tapestries, Mike Allen’s sophomore short story collection, takes a wrecking ball to genre boundaries, showcasing seven stories that mix transhuman noir, Lovecraftian horror, and surrealistic sorcery in an exploration of the further reaches of the Weird. Readers who savored the disorienting strangeness in Allen’s debut collection Unseaming, a Shirley Jackson Award finalist and Amazon.com horror fiction bestseller, will find The Spider Tapestries begins where Unseaming left off.
As Nicole Kornher-Stace, author of Archivist Wasp, explains in her introduction, “Allen outdoes himself even further, borrowing and synthesizing across genres with gleeful abandon....This results in stories like ‘Twa Sisters,’ with an atmosphere and setting as if Heironymous Bosch had been brought in as a consultant on Blade Runner. Or ‘Sleepless, Burning Life,’ which, with simultaneous nods to steampunk and metaphysics, explores and upends the familiar trope of Mortal Chosen by the Gods.”
The seven stories in this slim collection range from dark fantasy to sf to horror—sometimes all within one tale. There are enough spiders here to make an arachnophobe go into hysterics, but they are not the only ones spinning webs. Goddesses, aliens, and genetic splicers all pull on strings. Gems include "Sleepless, Burning Life," about a woman in love with a goddess, and "Twa Sisters" with a man hiding secrets in his brain. Especially vivid in its blending of imagery and narrative is "Stolen Souls," in which a former cop tries to reconnect the stolen pieces of his lover's consciousness. VERDICT As he did with his previous collection Unseaming, poet Allen weaves intriguing connections among his tales, applying dizzying, sensual images. Poets often make excellent writers of the short form owing to their ability to use few words to evoke an emotion or paint a picture; this volume displays that skill.—KC
|Publisher:||Mythic Delirium Books|
|Product dimensions:||5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.33(d)|