*

The WEIRD (13)

Real-Time Review continued from HERE.

The WEIRD: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories
Edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer
First published in Great Britain 2011 by Corvus, an imprint of Atlantic Books Ltd.

26/11/11 – another  two hours later

The Boy in the Tree – Elizabeth Hand

“Psychotics, autists, artists of the lesser rank: these could be altered by empatherapy.”

As an artist of the lesser rank, myself, and with no false modesty, I genuinely found this story difficult at first but, unlike with the Butler story, the rich and gradually acclimatisable prose from an artist of an undoubted high rank did accretively penetrate me with an absolutely gorgeous overdrive gear-change of reading beyond my normal cubic capacity.  Seriously addictive – in itself as a densely prose-textured SF vision of a ley-line empathy / symbiosis (hey, this book reeks with it like a Proustian arbour!) – and in a ‘scientific robbery’ (cf the previous Okri story where this phrase originates) with resplendent, sumptuous, haunting dreams / nightmares and ‘nemonymous night’-type chameleon intra-personal  swaps and connections (again, hey, this book is steeped in these things like a daisy chain of mobius-section souls). Three instances of PET-cruelty (including sexual molestation of them by a girl). Dr Harrow aptly named after the contraption in the Penal Colony. Servers and the NET.  Empties and the readers, like me, gradually being cable-threaded by the Human Engineering Laboratory (HEL) into the crucial nubs and liens of this capricious science disguised as what I can only describe as a ‘rarifiction’. A Willow incident. It just had to be a Willow for the story’s pervasive Boy in the Tree, didn’t it?  But eventually (no?) the only true  empathy (even if scientifically enhanced) is with oneself…?  This story is another major read from the Reva-Menders and their well-maintained-in-reality-pages book of word-to-brain synaptic servers. “I’m not responsible. I can’t be responsible.”

Continued as The WEIRD (14) page HERE.

Index of this whole real-time review HERE.

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