Ahh the guilt! I wasn’t going to post this week. I’m on vacation in Stone Harbor and have been greatly enjoying some much needed R&R. But alas, I couldn’t hold out. I’ve been catching up on a lot of reading because the only thing to do here is sit on the beach and read (it’s amazing!). I’ve been reading novels mostly. I finally finished Highmage’s Plight, so there will be a review on that later (I’ll post it during the BBF so stay tuned). I also started World War Z which has been great so far. But then the guilt . . .
A short fiction post every week. That was the deal I made myself. My Kobi posts are all but non-existent (I miss that little guy!) since I moved out and if I don’t keep up the short fiction posts then everything I’ve worked so hard (well medium hard) to attain will collapse into ruin.
Well without further adieu, I suppose I should begin this week’s short fiction post. It’s about George R. R. Martin’s Meathouse Man. I’ve come to understand George R. R. Martin is fairly popular these days. Certainly a household name. I’m pretty sure you can get a good deal through a conversation just by mentioning his name and spouting out a few random facets you’ve happened to pick up along the way. It works even better if you’ve seen an episode or two of his HBO series. You don’t even really have to have read any of his work. I never had and I’ve been getting by pretty well (granted I did start watching the show and am pretty much caught up as far as that is concerned).
So, at the beach I was skimming through a zombie anthology and saw his name. It seemed like an opportunity.
I won’t comment on any literary aspect of the writing except to say that it was superb. Everything measured and tempered for maximum effect. Very well done there although I expected as much given the nature of the criticism surrounding his other work.
What I would like to comment on is the content of the piece. It’s horrifying. I often forget how good horror makes a reader feel absolutely uncomfortable while reading. At each break between sections I stopped and seriously debated whether or not I would continue.
Let me explain.
The premise of Meathouse Man is rather simple. It is the story of a man who is in search of true love. A man who struggles to rise above base pleasure, above anonymity , above being numb. Something along the lines of having loved and lost being better than having never love at all. He eventually decides that the world is built to break men down and that to believe anything else is just and intricate deception constructed by those too weak to see the truth. Depressing huh?
If that isn’t hard enough to take, please also consider the universe this man lives in. He is a Corpse Handler. Basically, he controls the bodies of six people who are already dead with the aid of synthetic brains (something of a techno-necromancer I suppose). Now the ability to control the dead is fully integrated into this society. Dead men work in the fields, the mines, the forests. They act in theatres and shows. Worst of all, it is dead women who pleasure their customers in the whorehouses.
Yea, pretty revolting stuff.
I think I’ll end the post here and let that sink in. I’m not upset that I read it. Nor am I upset that it exists (freedom of expression and all that). I’m a little bit grateful to be put outside my comfort zone. However, I am still upset; that’s really all I can say to express my feelings after reading it. Perhaps that is the point. I’ll let you decide. Please comment if you can.