Genre – Fiction
Sub-genre – Body Horror/Psychological Horror/Speculative Fiction/Short Stories
Pages – 245
Publication Information – IFWG Publishing International, September 2, 2019, ASIN: B07TCJX6X2
Format – Digital
Reviewed by William C. Bitner, Jr.
Rating – 📙📙📙📙📙
Having never read anything by Claire Fitzpatrick, or having really any idea what the sub-genre “Body Horror” is, I was anxious, thrilled and even a bit titillated to read something new – for me at least. I think I now have an idea and a handle on what “Body Horror” is – and I think I should have considering Ms Fitzpatrick is considered Australia’s “Queen of Body Horror”. A crown I believe she should wear with great pride, as it is for this reader at least, very well deserved. Now, I finished reading this collection of seventeen incredible short stories a few days ago and have been left in a state of awe and wonderment at what I just experienced. I cannot remember the last time horror short stories or a horror novel of any kind for that matter had such a profound or personal affect on me. I’ve been sitting with these stories marinating in my mind and embedded in my soul somewhere hidden for later retrieval. As Ms Fitzpatrick explains in the introduction to these stories (and yes, you should read it as it is as heartfelt and as wonderful an explanation of her creative journey as I have ever read) the ideas of these stories come from her personal experiences with Epilepsy and Borderline Personality Disorder. “I am a crazy person who has seizures. Many of my ideas stem from my fears, my neurotic thoughts, my paranoia.” I think I read things in much the same way as she writes. As a person who has had to deal with mental issues, alcohol and drug abuse and who has been living with HIV for the last 25+ years and now drug and alcohol free for the last 16 years, I find myself sometimes not very comfortable in my own skin or in certain situations. I have found that over the last twenty-five years or so that I’ve been going through my own kind of “metamorphosis”. These stories are examples of nothing short of masterpieces of brilliant artistry, and I for one am a better person for having had the privilege to read them. Brutally honest, visceral, moving, horrifying, sad, terrifying and even a little humorous – these stories are stories of life. Well played Ms Fitzpatrick – well played, indeed “Your Majesty” . Writing is not my thing, I don’t have the vocabulary or the chops for it, but I’ve committed myself to reviewing all the books I read and the experiences that come along with those readings. I hope I did this one justice.
Stories contained within this book are: Madeline, Eat, Mechanical Garden, Jacaranda House, Transplant, The Eagle, Scarab, Senses, The Dog, The Town Hall, Metamorphosis, Happy Birthday – Ebony, Synthetic, Andromeda, The Perfect Son, Thorne House and Deep-Sea Fishing.
From the back cover: This short story collection includes 17 tales of terror. Madeline will never become a woman. William will never become a man. Does June deserve to be human? Does Lilith deserve a heart? If imperfection is crucial to a society’s survival, what makes a monster?
About the author: Claire Fitzpatrick is an author of speculative fiction and non-fiction. She won the 2017 Rocky Wood Award for Non-Fiction and Criticism. Called ‘Australia’s Queen of Body Horror’ and ‘Australia’s Body Horror Specialist’, she enjoys writing about anatomy and the darker sides of humanity.