Well, it happened happily this week, as I enjoyed every story that I read. Huzzah! We’ve got a sock monkey with an odd life, vampires, a creepy old lady, and a dude who can’t write good, and as far as I can tell nothing that requires any homework on my part, which is probably why I found this set so enjoyable. Let me tell you more…
I only know that this story is meant to go with a sock monkey because the introduction tells me so, and I actually listened to it the first time without remembering that fact. So I can tell you that it is highly amusing whether you’re imagining monkeys or a drunk old man. This is probably because whoever it is, his life is awesome. He’s got a mum who’s his dad (a dad who’s his mum? However you want to put that, I guess) and who does underwater tango, and he’s got a dissolved wife who was once in a coma for 70 years, but he’ll tell you his life’s not been very interesting and so I would like to know what else he considers normal! Even if he’s making it all up, I’d buy him a drink to hear another story.
“Fifteen Painted Cards From a Vampire Tarot”
This was another one that didn’t quite come across in audio because it’s a set of very short stories, but it was certainly excellent in print, if hard to describe! Basically you’ve got a series of vignettes that get at the “truth” of vampires — talking about classic vampire mythology, writing new mythology, looking at how we regular humans react to vampires when we meet them (or “meet them”). I think my favorites are “The Magician”, which is just a joke, really; “The Chariot”, which imagines vampires as space colonists; and “The Wheel of Fortune”, in which my favorite response to missing items — “I got hungry and ate it” — becomes a little more sinister.
“Feeders and Eaters”
Oh. Em. Gee. This is definitely my favorite story of the week, and is at least edging in on “A Study in Emerald” and “October in the Chair”. It imagines a man meeting an old acquaintance in a bar, and that acquaintance going on about how he’s been these past ten years, doing some work in the area, boarding with a nice family, meeting his fellow boarder and rescuing her from her sick bed with some raw meat that she ate right out of the container, blood dripping on the sheets… you know, the usual story. And then it gets a lot grosser, really, so if you’re not of a strong stomach I recommend against this one! I think what’s really interesting is that at one point The Acquaintance talks about having done something that anyone would do, and then later all but asks Our Narrator to do that same thing and Our Narrator has no idea what he’s on about. And I can’t decide whether Our Narrator is meant to be a big old jerk, or if I can rest assured that this is not something that anyone would do, because I probably couldn’t do it.
This was a tough one — I haven’t yet listened to it, but it’s darn confusing in print so I may not even try. Basically, it’s a story about a disease, as written by a person with said disease, and one of the symptoms is a complete lack of making sense in writing. Which, oh dear. I spent too much time confused by the first bad sentence before I got to the explain-y part, and then I was still baffled by most of the rest of the story, but by the time I got to the end I realized that the sentences weren’t so much bad as out of order and I was having fun trying to figure out how the story would otherwise go. I still haven’t got it fully pieced together, but I’m much more appreciative of it now than when I started!