Thursday, October 04, 2007

A strange, strange read ...

Caitlin R. Kiernan’s "Frog Toes and Tentacles" is an experiment in eldritch sensuality that makes absolutely certain that you'll never forget you were in the laboratory with her. It's surprisingly good - as good as it is disturbing.

Not many books begin with a disclaimer like this: ' ... Should your idea of "kinky" begin and end with fleece-lined handcuffs and spankings, be warned ... '. Not many have to, but this one does.

This limited edition gem reads very fast. At only 116 pages, 14,000 words more or less, the images flicker by all too quickly. These shorts are erotic, first person explorations of the eerie, weird, alien and uncanny.

It's eight tales take us from a familiar seashore to the warm pool of a Salamander working girl to the dark workshop of a puppeteer with many waypoints in between. The companions chosen for us begin with a fish demon, a lycanthrope, and get more imaginative as the pages go by. This exploration feels like an experiment, the author's first to be sure. It's voice builds from a trembling start to brilliance by the end. The characters grow richer and more adventurous with each passing story. By the time "Pump Excursion" comes, Caitlin's brilliant characterization and atmospherics are at their best. The final story, "Ode" to Katan Amano, is an absolute masterpiece that combines the very best of this genre with Caitlin's signature styling.

"Frog Toes and Tentacles" is a "quickie" that really hits the spot.

Frog Toes and Tentacles
By Caitlin R. Kiernan

Illustrated by Vince Locke

Subterranean Press
Limited: 1-59606-050-6
Trade: 1-59606-051-4

1 comment:

Katie said...