May 7th, 2019
Park pushes the boundaries of speculative fiction in this collection of eight fascinating short pieces that defy categorization. “Climate Change” details an intense erotic entanglement in the midst of global disaster. “A Short History of Science Fiction, or The Microscopic Eye” describes a fan’s encounter with John Palmer, the man who first viewed the ancient cities on Mars, and Palmer’s gradual mental deterioration. Both “Punctuality, Basic Hygiene, Gun Safety” and “A Conversation with the Author” eschew traditional narrative structure for tongue-in-cheek metafiction. “A Resistance to Theory,” in which postmodern literary students wage bloody wars against one another, is perhaps the most avant-garde work in the collection; Park’s inclusion of mundane details balances the over-the-top premise. A nonfiction piece, “A Homily for Good Friday,” takes an unsentimental look at the differences between belief and faith. Park’s writing is sharp, darkly comedic, and laced with pathos. He captures the fragility of the human condition (and the human ego) while offering a sympathetic rendering of human struggles to find answers in a complex world. Seasoned speculative fiction fans will enjoy Park’s innovative detour into the unknown and uncanny.