Imaginative stories elevated by creative renderings of tropes from genre fiction.
Debut author Gonzales, executive director of The Austin Bat Cave, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center, offers up a collection of 18 sparely constructed stories, rife with ingenuity and beholden to few rules. The opening story, “Pilot, Copilot, Writer,” finds a journalist attempting to make sense of the fact that his hijacked plane has been circling the Dallas skyline for two decades. The title story is about a scientist who, after shrinking his wife to nearly microscopic size, finds himself at war with her. This leads to laugh-out-loud lines like this one, about his wife’s paramour: “So what else could I do but cover him in honey and seed and then feed him to the bird?” “One-Horned & Wild-Eyed” explores the rivalry that explodes between two friends—over the unicorn they’re keeping in a backyard shed. Still other stories infuse real emotion into nightmarish scenarios. “Life on Capra II” depicts a futuristic solider who pines for his lost love, even as he blasts away at swamp monsters and killer robots. In “All of Me,” we meet the zombie lurking inside an office drone, who wishes for nothing more than a date with a married co-worker and to devour the obnoxious guy down the hall. Others, such as “Wolf!” and “Escape from the Mall,” are more traditional takes on the monsters of our nightmares. But then Gonzales nails the reader with a roundhouse kick like “Farewell, Africa,” about a famous speech delivered in concert with the actual sinking of continents. The author also peppers his collection with five sinister obituaries that are quite fun, if superfluous to this inspired string of off-key hits.
Delightfully eerie tales from the dark side.