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Forrest
Posted on Monday, October 24, 2005 - 05:53 pm:   

Starting with Publisher's Weekly (with hopes for many more reviews to come!) -

"With imaginative vigor, Aguirre explores the fluctuating boundaries
that separate human from inhuman, terrestrial from extraterrestrial,
and natural from supernatural in the 29 fantasies in his debut story
collection. In "The Butterfly Artist," a zoological illustrator
discovers there's more to life than he had imagined when he visits a
postapocalyptic landscape where beautiful and dangerous new species
flourish. "The Universal Language of Silence" juxtaposes acting with
real life in its eerie account of an insular society of mimes who
rigorously enforce a code of silence on its members. Most of the
selections are brief, plotless sketches built from surreal images that
resist literal interpretation. At their best, they offer arresting and
provocative perspectives that make the ordinary uncommon and the
bizarre plausible. Aguirre won a World Fantasy Award for editing the
anthology Leviathan Three (2003) and readers who enjoyed that book's
genre-bending content will find much to their satisfaction."
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Deborah
Posted on Monday, October 24, 2005 - 06:56 pm:   

Hey, nice one.

I've always thought you made the bizarre plausible, too.

:-)
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Forrest
Posted on Tuesday, October 25, 2005 - 07:27 pm:   

Thanks, Deborah! It's really a part of my nature. I am the bizarre made plausible. :-)
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Forrest
Posted on Monday, January 02, 2006 - 07:03 pm:   

A wonderful review came out at SFRevu (with thanks to Robert for pointing it out):

http://sfrevu.com/Review-id.php?id=3426

And for those that can't link:

Fugue XXIX by Forrest Aguirre
Review by Colleen Cahill
Raw Dog Screaming Press Paperback: ISBN 1933293128
Date: October, 2005 List Price $15.95
Buy this book and support SFRevu at Amazon US / Amazon UK

There are those who say genre fiction are simple stories with no real literary merit. Foo on them, as I can find plenty of examples that break this rule, from works of Philip K. Dick to Tim Powers to Ursula LeGuin, all who prove that just because the topic is fantastic does not mean the writing is poor. More proof of this is in Forrest Aguirre's new collection Fugue XXIX, with 29 short stories that are fantasy, science fiction, mysteries and a touch of horror, all written with a style and grace that will mesmerize.

The unexpected is at the heart of each of these stories. Set in places around and out of this world, the tales revel in the bizarre, the strange and the unique. The titles alone reveal many unusual themes, as in "Convergence on a Panoptic Newtonian: The Interstices of Heaven." This science fiction work examines the search for God by a human amateur astronomer and an alien race facing Armageddon. In a work of dark fantasy, "The Universal Language of Silence" focuses on a mime who refuses to speak to anyone, even an old friend and would-be lover, as the price of speech is very high. The titles are intriguing, but the reward is the unusual twists in the stories.

Many of these are very short pieces, some just barely a page in length, but this only heightens their effect. In only a few paragraphs Aguirre takes us on a dark train of corpses with vile pasts in "Tickets, Please" or to the sinister fields of Johnny Milkpodseed in "Return to Abaddon." Simple ideas like an inventory become a study of new concepts in "Kaleidoscopes of Africa," moving from gems in tubes to people in war. Again, there are surprises at every turn in these works, from the danger of squirrels in "The Nut Lady's Cabin" to the surreal world of zeppelins and cannibal children in "Matriarch."

These are not light and happy stories, leaning to the murky side of fantasy and science fiction. In contrast is the poetic, almost jewel-like quality of Aguirre's writing. The language is tailored to each story, with blossoms of color in "The Mystic Flower," appropriate for a mysterious man who may have tapped occult powers, to the stark words of "Hopeless: A Triptych" were three different views of despair are examined. Only a master wordsmith could create such beauty and dread together, all the while making these pieces that are more thought provoking than horrifying.

At first glance, I was not sure I would like this book as I am not a fan of horror literature. And while some of these stories do fall in that genre, I was happily surprised by this truly wonderful collection of riveting stories. Nothing here gave me nightmares, but I know that I will be thinking about these ideas again and again, often because of how Aguirre crafted his words more than the concept itself. Fugue XXIX is a fine collection from one of the great stylists of our age and another work that proves genre IS literature.
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AT
Posted on Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - 05:56 pm:   

wooo! Splendid review. Would you please contact me?
anna_tambour at yahoo.com
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Forrest Aguirre
Posted on Monday, December 04, 2006 - 10:21 am:   

A new review:

http://ozhorrorscope.blogspot.com/2006/12/review-fugue-xxix-by-forrest-aguirre.h tml

It'll only be up for two weeks, then it's being archived, so look now or dig around on the internet!

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