- Series: New Bizarro Author
- Paperback: 108 pages
- Publisher: Eraserhead Press (November 16, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1621050084
- ISBN-13: 978-1621050087
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,348,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Hollow Cube Is a Lonely Space (New Bizarro Author) Paperback – November 16, 2011
"Foster's style is downright intimidating. The lyrical flow of his prose is wonderful, and the subjects he tackles are more than sufficient for several head-scratching moments of discomfort and beguilement... This is a collection I'd re-read, for sure."
"A gracefully demented collection that pulls you in fast and keeps you with its irreal humor writ with a remarkable degree of plausible illogicalities."
"This book belongs in the hands of readers who are tired of the same ole, same ole...go out and grab this sucker and get lost within its pages asap."
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Hello?! Is anybody out there?!! Nobody??! Shucks, that's too bad. Because there's a whole assortment of Weirdos in here.
We've got plenty of entertainment, a chimp with a beautiful singing voice and a man who's head tells some great jokes. There's even a whole class reunion taking place, but I wouldn't get too close to that former student wearing a coat made of skin.
You're hungry you say? No worries. There's a clementine here eagerly awaiting for someone to devour her. Looking for more options? If you can distract that mother long enough, you can grab a bite of her daughter whom is completely made of food. (Psst... Rumor has it her mother was raped by a supermarket...)
Yeah, it's a pretty cool group we got here, but every barrel of apples comes with a few rotten pieces. Like that Horkenheimer fellow, he keeps looking at the women with lust filled eyes and at the children with murderous ones. Ugh, or that snowman! If he asks me for another cigarette I'm gonna get Slothra the kaiju to crush him.
Oh my, here comes more! Make room! Huh, that doll looks perturbed. She sure is carrying a lot of blonde hair. Here, sit next to this chewed up, stuffed teddy bear. Next comes a rat couple and their 12 kids. (Munch munch...Gulp!) Oops, make that 11 kids. You can go right here next to the Stork and his decaying companion. Don't worry, I hear he prefers eating feces to living things.
Oof! It's getting cramped in here. Darned hollow cube! Hey, dude. Yeah you with the happy meals. Can we clear out these piles of plastic princesses to make some more room?
As I read this novella, I realized that it contained so many characters I could spend two reviews talking about them all. Instead, I have placed them into three simple groups and will select a couple from each to talk about.
The first group I call HUMAN, and as such the characters falling into this category are just that. I would say this group shares in common the desire to control their respective worlds in some manner. There is Dr. Horkenheimer, who has modernized the whole "survival of the fittest" thing in a very dark manner. Or Nordin Nobel, who's life revolves around, and is defined by, one body part in particular. Roberta Reckford and Grover Grayson are two peas in a pod, both doing whatever is necessary to achieve their goals.
The HUMAN-LIKE group is a varied assortment, to be sure. Petal, a doll, remains a diligent watcher over the child she belongs to. She wants to believe the child's sickness will pass. The snowman just wants a friend, because he knows all too well his time is short. I include the soldier, Kellen Heller, in this group, because rather than being completely human, he is partly a representation of what happens to his kind.
That leaves us with the NON-HUMAN group. Interestingly, I found that this group has the hardest time finding their place in a human filled world. Nobody, a chimp from the jungle, knows he's got talent but cannot be taken seriously by anyone. Slothra isn't even acknowledged by his victims anymore. Mr. Rat leaves the simple sewer life for his family and discovers only hardships on the surface above. And then there is Ted. His is probably the most depressing of stories, of being tossed about and experiencing moments of beauty before being sent to hell.
I have said it before: I really enjoy collections of short stories. So far, every year the New Bizarro Author Series has released one, and this year they did not disappoint.
As can be inferred from the title, I found alienation and social reclusion (whether voluntary or forced) common aspects in many of the stories. Indeed, a sort of isolationist philosophy began to form and was clearly punctuated for me by the final story. I can tell that Mr. Foster has thought long and hard about the separateness inherent in life and how it effects us all.
Another strong theme was the fragility of the body. Several of the characters were made from very flimsy substances, and one character was even made fragile by his parent's obsessive sheltering. What we perceive as fragile, we tend to take special awareness of, like Violet when she runs over a Sasquatch. She takes him in, cares for his wounds, and eventually falls in love with him, never once regarding how destroyed the creature's body has become.
At the core of many of these stories is a struggle between the striving for something better and the apparent meaningless of actions. Why would you not give up when your attempts to become a quadriplegic motivational speaker are squashed by faith-healing, or you grew up believing you will be nourishment for something great only to spend your life rotting away in some lunchbox
But these stories of crushing defeat serve a purpose. Not as warnings, but as suggestions of where your life can end up if you let it be led by fate. The space you occupy now doesn't have to be lonely if you decide to let something else occupy it with you.
A book of short stories, especially those written by a new author, is always a dicey proposition. Fortunately, S.D. Foster has a good grasp of the form. The stories within range from just a page to eight pages.
The 24 stories within cover quite a bit of ground. Some are a funny, some sad, and some thought provoking. All are more than a little strange. Standouts for me include Slothra, the story of an aging giant monster, Snowman, the tale of a man accidentally befriending an obnoxious snowman and waiting for winter to end, and The Course of Clementine, the story of a fruit's life.
Even though their writing styles are different, A Hollow Cube is a Lonely Space reminded me of Bradley Sands' collection, Sorry I Ruined Your Orgy. I'd like to see what S.D. Foster can do in a novel length tale, though.
With his lyrical writing style (which also contains a lot of short paragraphs) you'll get drawn into stories that are about the characters. There are quite a few stories that talk us through the life of one character and how they change over time. Because the stories are only about three to four pages, it makes for a read where it's impossible to get bored, a ride where you'll learn about some of the weirdest characters out there and how they are living it. I laughed quite a bit. I cried some.
Foster showed me how he can bring depth to the table, with stories about suicide, loneliness and the existence of being. There is some brilliant wisdom in here. I love it when weird, easy to read stories can get deep like this. Slothra, Pit Fighting, The (Not Quite) Corpse and the Stork, ...
If you like Bizarro short stories, you should definitely get this.
This book has stories in it for just about everyone who is interested in type of fiction. Even if they aren't when they start, I think this book would be able to hook even some of the most reluctant readers. I will definitely be looking for more work from this author.
There are stories of fruit trying to reach its true potential, A Christmas that doesn't go quite as planned, rats learning what it means to really enter the work force and just about every kind of story in between. Definitely get yourself a copy of this book. Try something new or indulge in something you love, either way, you can't lose.