Science Fiction Though the Decades

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

2000: Punktown (Thomas, Jeffrey)

Sci-fi, prose, and horror wrapped in imagination (4/5)
From June 7, 2009

Jeffrey Thomas explores his Punktown universe in this collection of 18 short stories. Punktown (officially know as Paxton) is a city on the planet of Oasis which is inhabited by indigenous aliens, humans and a slew of other alien races (some human-like and others... not so much). The entire collection isn't horrific enough for me to able to label in the "horror" genre; rather it's more of a science fiction novel which would comfortably fit the mixed genre of sci-fi/horror. These two essential elements are presented in each story. There's also a fair bit a prose and word usage which keeps the reader endeared amidst the horror--all snug in the wealth of imagination.

This resplendent rare cross-genre extravaganza can be witnessed in Jeremy Robert Johnson's collection Angel Dust Apocalypse, which slants more towards corporeal horror but leans on the gritty underpinnings of a future dystopia. Call it "bizarro-" or "weirdo-" fiction, but the tags applied to these collections detract from the surreal niche in which they fill... an effervescent niche inhabited by the writings of China MiƩville of Perdido Street Station) and Haruki Murakami of Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.


The Reflections of Ghosts - 4/5: Drew makes clones for customers, which happen to be mangled versions of himself, so that they could do whatever they please to the helpless copies. He makes a female clone for a wealthy customer who he can mistakenly relate to on a basic level and finds himself in a dilemma. 15 pages

Pink Pills - 4/5: Marisol finds she has a type of tumor named Orb Weaver's Tumor, which is growing from a lump in her jaw. At the alien physician's office, a technician befriends her who could also provide a truth to her lingering suspicions of a rumor. 12 pages

The Flaying Season - 4/5: Kohl has an interest in reviving her erased memories of two traumatic episodes. Could her sister refresh her memory? Could the doctor reload her memories into her brain? Or could a coffee shop customer be a link to her past? 10 pages

Union Dick - 3/5: Yolk is a Union representative and veteran from the Union Wars. His job is to ensure that factories have enough active human employees to work in tandem with their robotic counterparts. One company, though, takes advantage of a loophole in the rule which angers Yolk's dedication to preventing degradation. 11 pages

Wakizashi - 3/5: Officer Soko must assist alien diplomat in its religious purification, even though it will be a horrible death for whoever agrees to be the victim. 14 pages

Dissecting the Soul - 3/5: Maddie is a pathologist who is retrieving the memories of a recently executed murderer. During her retrieval she reviews some events which made the man the monster he became. 6 pages

Precious Metal - 5/5: A robotic jazz band is gunned down inside a club as gangster Grey watches. His clan may be to blame but how does the boss Ng justify this assassination? 10 pages

Sisters of No Mercy - 3/5: A group of women view an act of initiation as the member-to-be Ayn dismembers her victim. With Ayn's further act of dismemberment upon the male race, how will her zealousness be viewed in the eyes of her fellow sisters? 6 pages

Heart for Heart's Sake - 2/5: Impoverished artist Teal and his girlfriend Nimbus are confronted by the power company for stealing electricity and need to come up with money. Thankfully, at his art exhibit a wealthy man purchases his massive artwork... but also comes with its performing beauty, Nimbus. Will this sacrifice help or hinder their relationship? 19 pages

The Ballad of Moosecock Lip - 3/5: Dazey and Brine are drug makers and dealers. They bring a mysterious girl into their circle who then falls victim to the addiction and her life falls apart. Dazey and Brine decide to save her they only way they know how. 6 pages

Face - 4/5: Declan mourns the loss of his mutant son Ian as he revisits the Christmas decorated sewer-mall they had visited in the summer before Ian's death. Declan faces guilt, envy and love yet cannot cope with his loss. 8 pages

The Pressman - 5/5: Manny is a pressman at a printer who works with the new insubordinate yet creative robotic pressman. The mantis-like machine makes Manny seethe with hate and the machine's attitude doesn't help any. 4 pages

The Palace of Nothingness - 4/5: Titus is a Properties Investigator for a real estate company. When reviewing a section of the city, he sees a building, if it is a building, which has been under change decade after decade, yet there is no official mention of its function. Titus takes it upon himself to explore its innards and innateness. 9 pages

The Rusted Gates of Heaven - 2/5: Mendeni visits the Bellakee's estate to see a relic which he had picked up on satellite. The invitation turns into a further unexpected invite and ends with yet another invite, each more provocative than the last. 4 pages

Immolation - 4/5: The non-union Plant worker clone Magnesium Jones escapes to fulfill an assassination contract. This hit is being paid by Plant union employee Parr and the target is the union boss. What are Parr's intentions and the 5-years-out-of-the-tank clone Jones can trusted? 16 pages

Unlimited Daylight - 5/5: Anoushka explores the city to visit book stores and takes lunch at an Indian restaurant in a Choom town. She spies a goggled man there and finds him again in his own bookstore. They befriend each other and talk about each other's language and genres. 15 pages

The Library of Sorrows - 3/5: MacDiaz is the detective of the grisly multiple-murder scene. His memories of this and other murder scenes haunt him, as he has a memory chip installed. His delusional mother has been placed in drawer where she'll stay until she dies. Is the chip more of a blessing than it is a curse? 13 pages

Nom de Guerre - 5/5: A quartet of human assassins meet with a quartet of Vlessi assassins, an alien race shrouded in mystery (rumored to be interdimensional beings, doppelgangers and vampires). Their opposing pharmaceutical company clients have faced them off against each other. Will the rumors be unveiled? 18 pages

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