REVIEW: “Agent of Chaos” by Jack Campbell

Review of Jack Campbell, “Agent of Chaos”, Unidentified Funny Objects 6, 2017.  pp. 76-97. Purchase here. Review by Ben Serna-Grey

This one is dripping with a lot of writer humor, though it’s not so absorbed in the community that it’ll alienate anyone who hasn’t tried to break into the writing world. The story follows Suzanne, a woman who is following her muse, in this case Calliope, an actual, physical muse who leads her into danger, all in the name of adventure and inspiration. After all is said and done it’s going to be a question of if Suzanne even wants to be a writer anymore.

I don’t want to give too much away, but this story dances just between the line of being clever and being groan-inducing, and luckily never falls into the groan side of things. It’s a funny page turner, which is good since it’s one of the longer pieces so far in the anthology. Definitely recommended.

REVIEW: “Tyler the Snot Elemental Scours the Newspaper, Searching for Change” by Zach Shepard

Review of Zach Shepard, “Tyler the Snot Elemental Scours the Newspaper, Searching for Change”, Unidentified Funny Objects 6, 2017.  pp. 68-75. Purchase here. Review by Ben Serna-Grey.

This one is very, very cute and clever. As it would have you guess, it follows Tyler, a snot elemental, who feels lost in life and tries to make a change. Along the way we’re introduced to his friends, each of whom is a fantasy creature of some sort of variety and this is often used to subvert any built up expectations in some way or another. It does have some poignancy to anyone who is feeling particularly lost or wandering in their own life, and may need a bit of a reminder to seek the comfort of friends once in a while.

Highly recommended.

REVIEW: “The Breakdown of the Parasite/Host Relationship” by Paul R. Hardy

Review of Paul R. Hardy, “The Breakdown of the Parasite/Host Relationship”, Unidentified Funny Objects 6, 2017.  pp. 28-42. Purchase here. Review by Ben Serna-Grey.

Have you ever had to work on a group project with someone you just don’t get along with? Now imagine this person was fused to your body and you couldn’t communicate with them while you were awake. That’s the conceit of “The Breakdown of the Parasite/Host Relationship,” told through the chat logs between the project coordinator and the host and parasite who have been paired together for the job.

Through a mix of stubbornness and misunderstandings things escalate until intervention is needed, despite expense to the project. This is another one that didn’t make me laugh out loud, but I still appreciated the cleverness and odd familiarity of it. It brought me flashbacks of when I had to work in a group project in grad school and no one really had a personality that meshed.

Another recommended story, so we’re two for two with this anthology.