I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Slipping: Stories, Essays, & Other Writing by Lauren Beukes
Published by Tachyon Publications on November 29th 2016
Genres: Collections & Anthologies
Source: the Publisher
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Also by this author: The Shining Girls, Broken Monsters
In her edgy, satiric debut collection, award-winning South African journalist and author Lauren Beukes (The Shining Girls, Moxyland) never holds back. Nothing is simple and everything is perilous when humans are involved: corruption, greed, and even love (of a sort).
A permanent corporate branding gives a young woman enhanced physical abilities and a nearly-constant highRecruits lifted out of poverty find a far worse fate collecting biohazardous plants on an inhospitable worldThe only adult survivor of the apocalypse decides he will be the savior of teenagers; the teenagers are not amused.
From Johannesburg to outer space, these previously uncollected tales are a compelling, dark, and slippery ride.
‘You don’t have to name something to understand it.’
In Slipping, Beukes takes the modern world and transforms it into something futuristic and near unrecognizable. The title story, Slipping, is about a girl who, following a severe accident, is transformed through technological advances into a racing machine. Smileys is a strange story about a soldier attempting to extort a woman who sells cooked sheep heads. Pop Tarts is a story about a reality star and the realization that it’s all nothing but scripted fiction. Unathi Battles the Black Hairballs is the story about a woman who must save Tokyo (and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the talking cat). Each of these stories is wildly authentic, vastly entertaining, and a constant focus on the darkness in this world.
‘Culture wants to be free. This is not my original thought. But who of us can claim to be truly original? Aren’t we all remixes of every influence we’ve ever come across?’
The wide variety of genres cause the stories to lack a certain cohesion like a typical short story anthology might, but it does this collection a disservice to think this is a negative. Instead, each of these stories acts as their own palette cleanser from one story to the next and it keeps the reader in a constant state of bewilderment not knowing what type of outlandishness to expect next. I was pleasantly surprised that my favorite part of this collection were the five Non-Fiction pieces included at the end. In these, she discusses personal topics such as how she got into journalism, about the research she conducted for her book Zoo City within the inner city of Johannesburg, and some additional insight into why she wrote The Shining Girls, my personal favorite of Beukes, which made me love it even more. She leaves us on a resolute note, with a letter to her five-year-old daughter about the meaning of true beauty.
I’ve read (and loved) a few of Beukes’ full-length novels and her writing prowess manages to be just as impressive in her short fiction. This obscure collection only proves that her talents are truly expansive and that we have much to look forward from her.
‘Every person I speak to gives me a new perspective, a different lens. It’s made my writing more than it would have ever been. And it’s still an excuse to go adventuring.’