- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (May 5, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1522945385
- ISBN-13: 978-1522945383
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.3 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#501,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #1248 in Fantasy Anthologies
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Strange Medicine Paperback – May 5, 2016
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"Hand on heart, I have never read anything like this in my life... truly unique... I will never forget reading this book." -The Book Reviewer
"Simple yet wacky...funny and charming. Mike Russell seems to have mastered the art of throwing absurdities onto paper, while keeping his writing bright and interesting at the same time." -Cultured Vultures
"The phrase 'good things come in small packages' comes to mind for while each story is a tiny peek into a new world, Russell's works contain a powerful core that speaks directly to the reader. With considerable aplomb, Russell tackles heavy subjects such as death, sex, relationships, and the human desire to conform. His pithy style makes for an enjoyable quick read that sticks with you for days and leaves the reader to ponder those deeper topics that are all too often pushed below the surface of our day to day lives." -Beautiful Bizarre Magazine
"Just what the doctor ordered...I always look forward to Mike Russell's work, he's so out there that it's refreshing." -Oddly Weird Fiction
"Unlike anything I have read before." -The Geek Lyfe
About the Author
Mike Russell was born in 1973. He grew up in the small village of Pulborough in the south of England. As a child, he enjoyed daydreaming, art and writing strange stories. As an adult, he enjoys daydreaming, art and writing strange stories.
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Usually, in my reviews, I give you my What Didn’t Work. I don’t have one of those here. As this is my second review of a Mike Russell book, I realize there isn’t supposed to be cohesion and real sense and logic. Let's just look at a few of the stories in Strange Medicine:
72 Bricks is a story of a construction of bridge and walls that follow a man throughout his life, connecting or separating things. When they cause a separation that matters most to him, it cost the young man a lot more.
Shish is a tale of love and fish. Two things for this young lady that will always be with her.
Telephone; have you wondered if your attraction to your phone is abnormal. When you end a call with I Love You, who are you really talking too.
At the end of each reading, I realized that the mind of these characters have snapped and it is there the medicine needs to be applied. You might need a dose yourself after reading these stories.
My favorite stories from this collection were The Spy and Brain. The Spy is probably the shortest tale in this book but once you get to the end you have that “Aha!” moment and realize what’s going on. Brain made me think of a few people and wondered if they too have thrown a stone away. For it to be a strange story and completely impossible, it was relatable and was satirical in its meaning.
Mike Russell does not shy away from stories that are weird and fantastical in nature. He doesn’t subscribe to long tales with climaxes that happen half way through a 300+ page book and then begin to decline in a resolution. He is an expert in pulling you in and leaving you thinking in a few thousand words and with imagery that is hard to forget.
Highly recommend Strange Medicine.
If anything, this collection is tighter in its voice and subject matter. It's equal parts "Man vs the Universe" and "Relationships between People." Indeed, one vignette is titled "Dr. Dennis and the Universe" which contains perhaps the most quotable one-line of the entire collection with the thrice-repeated:
"Sometimes the suffering of one individual is so great that it renders unjustifiable any purpose that the universe could possibly have."
Grief has never been better summarized.
Another tale seems to poignantly comment on today's current American political mantra:
" '. . . one has to adjust one's beliefs if they are contradicted by evidence presented, doesn't one?'
'No,' the Professor said, 'one does not. I will never have to adjust my beliefs because my beliefs are correct. If evidence is ever presented that appears to contradict my beliefs, I can assure you that it will be the evidence that is at fault and not my beliefs.'"
My favorite tale was the allegorical, heart-warming/heart-breaking "Seventy-Two Bricks." An engaged couple, Geoffrey and Tiffany, come across a seemingly misplaced bridge constructed of 72 bricks. Tiffany's perplexed, but Geoffrey quickly finds two items laying at opposite ends of the bridge. He finds comfort in figuring out a connection between the disparate objects. Later that day, elsewhere, they find an identical bridge, and again two items at either end. Geoffrey notes the categorical connection, while Tiffany finds their initials right where she'd etched them into the first bridge.
Weeks later, the couple find a wall constructed of 72 bricks. Two items lie separated by the wall. And most curiously, the couple's initials are etched into one of the bricks. Geoffrey despairs at not being able to determine the categorical connection between the 2 items and confesses that he has seen said bridges and walls his entire life. The bridges always cheer him, while the walls depress him. Not wanting to see her beloved despairing, Tiffany sets herself to the task of finding a categorical connection between the objects. When she does so, the wall transforms . . .
This collection is recommended. I received my copy of the collection directly from Strange Books through bookreviewdirectory.wordpress.com.