by Ben Loory
We have all been told we should not judge a book by its cover. This is good advice most of the time. Then there is the time you come across a book with both a flying saucer and a giant tentacle on the cover — and of course you are compelled to pick it up.
Truth in advertising is possible; flying saucers and tentacles do appear in Loory’s stories. It turn out that an octopus with an apartment and flying saucers visiting a town aren’t even the weirdest bits. The strangest and also most beguiling part is how Loory manages to write fairy tales that are not set once upon a time or in a land far away, but seem like they could be now or next door. Except for the impossible parts, like talking animals or Martians in the spare room or all that attention paid to the self-published poet.
Loory keeps in many ways to the conventions of fables: characters generally don’t have names, there are no lush descriptions, the focus is on the action. The storytelling is spare, delivering what is happening and what happens next. It’s all plot and consequences, though the moral doesn’t hit you over the head. Maybe there is no moral, maybe there’s a twist like the best Twilight Zone episodes had, maybe the impossible makes sense and what do you do with that?
Recommended, particularly for fans of the odd who prefer their enchantments in small doses with less external logic and more tell-me-a-story-ness to them.