ORTHOGONAL: Criminal Variations



My previous reviews of ORTHOGONAL.

Edited by John Bowker

Stories by Richard Mark Glover, Alexis Henderson, Dutch Valore, Jean McKinney and Ken Brady.

When I review this publication, my comments will appear in the thought stream below…

6 thoughts on “ORTHOGONAL: Criminal Variations

  1. HOT WATER by Richard Mark Glover

    “Spoof of civilisation.”

    Which stirs me to think that it is not accidental that ‘spoof’ and ‘proof’ are so co-assonant, especially in our recent times of fake news and alternative facts.
    This provocative short short, meanwhile, is an intimate scene between a man and woman discussing past killings in Kansas, with the woman naked in a faulty shower and shaving her private parts. One that would lose its resonance with some hidden truth (bespoke to each reader) if I told you mine. But here goes: half-shaved to create a chameleon of singularity. I do add, however, that the couple’s quiz question to each other leads to the answer of an author whose works I have plumbed in significant numbers with my real-time reviews linked from HERE.

  2. BABY DOLL by Alexis Henderson

    “Through the night, night after night, she lay awake and I with her because that is what mothers do.”

    From the bloody shower room scenes in the previous work, this one starts in a seedy bathroom in a rest stop where I, the narrator, regret my lack of motherhood following a visit to see my sister’s 4th sprog. Attritional, relentless, powerful, absurdly funny, crisply tactile and slightly psycho, if not completely so, I gain a sort of vestigial of motherhood amid angels or ‘girls’ in the house that cooperate in this charade. Except it is not a charade, as the story itself is my baby, the one I tell, the one I have given birth to with these words; it and its baby within it become more real than I ever intended. But which dies first, which baby? The answer is what you can read of what I write with the pen and clipboard that I am granted at the last moment, in the story’s dying moments, in its last dying words.

  3. BOOTS ON THE GROUND by Dutch Valore

    “Drill it till you kill it, I always say.”

    Boots on the ground, or tyres on the tarmac?
    Dwelling on this, I know I am off to the dentist for an appointment in an hour’s time, and I think of Doc Holliday being put in here just for me! This hilariously crisp short short crystallises suddenly in my mind like an explosion. No mean feat. What a clever way to push the lot of a private firm with land space available in a city! Learnt about Denver and Holliday’s boots, too. A small package with a mighty punch to produce its diamonds, I say.
    (Truman Capote and baby vestigial now added to Flannery to make this ordinance?)

  4. LET THE SERPENT JUDGE by Jean McKinney

    “…and his hands, pitted with tooth marks, are wrapped around his Bible.”

    A Flannery of a Gothic tactile pungency. Also a historical-sounding romance laced with melodramatic Sadism. You judge.
    Full of bite-marks as stigmata or righteousness made manifest. It is arguably an ingenious conveyance of snake stigmata almost to the reader’s own fleshy “You” …. towards the later transfiguration of your two legs into one as the story’s eventual ouroboric gestalt.
    A fable of wifely adultery, a lust yet unfulfilled. Or a mockery of fake husbandly jealousy incarnate. You judge. Not the serpent.
    And a story that melds with the book’s vestigially tentative gestalt so far….
    “… you don’t even want to play that charade. You’re like an eggshell cup. One wrong move and you’ll break into tiny pieces. So you cradle Luvie Dowell’s new baby…”

  5. COPS AND ROBBERS by Ken Brady

    “She got screwed bad that time. Sooner or later, everyone gets a turn.”

    “picked the Malibu up in a mall parking lot”

    Or does that mean a SMALL parking lot? Makes sense with the other ordinance in this book.
    A lively story, to say the least, Flannery fiction on the Mexico border before the wall, a ouroboric turnabout of fucking cops and the cops fucking you, a couple, a Bonnie and Clyde of our Trumpish times, I guess. Stealing cars that give birth to vestigial banknotes. Caput.
    “We’re at cops and robbers twenty-four-seven. It’s what we do. It’s what we know how to do.”

    A book of criminal variations with a short nifty crafty edgy pungent funny flesh-breaking gestalt, using orthogonally ouroboric coordinates from Mid-Western to Southern Gothic.
    Well, that’s my view from Brexit Britain.

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