The scintillating SLIPPING packs one heck of a punch
For W24, KJ Mulder praises Lauren Beukes’ extraordinary SLIPPING: STORIES, ESSAYS, & OTHER WRITING.
The 21 short stories and 5 non-fiction essays collected here showcases both her growing talent as author and her keen ability to transform the mundane trappings of the everyday into something unsettling, extraordinary and thought-provoking.
Her fiction manages to deal with real issues in unusual and disconcerting ways; Beukes is not afraid to shine a light into the darkness we willfully try to ignore in order to expose the hard truths hidden in the nooks and crannies of our daily lives.
The themes she tackles covers the gamut of modern life – exploitation, the effect of social media on our lives, identity, relationships, censorship and social injustice.
SLIPPING is a stunning, diverse collection of genre-spanning short fiction by one of South Africa’s best speculative fiction authors.
The stories are gritty, disconcerting and thought-provoking. These are stories with impact; stories that will make you think and alter your perspectives.
Stories that will make you sit up and take notice. While this might be a slim volume it packs one heck of a punch! If you are a fan of Lauren Beukes then this is an absolute must have.
Richard Cooper of FINGER-STEEPLING AND
SHARKS finds the collection compelling.
After four novels,
Lauren Beukes has established herself as one of the most exciting
voices in contemporary SF, as well as one of the most relevant of
contemporary novelists. MOXYLAND (2008) was one of the most
satisfying dystopias of recent years; ZOO CITY (2010) was among the
most emotionally engrossing fantasy novels to appear since Philip
Pullman’s HIS DARK MATERIALS; THE SHINING GIRLS (2013) was a thriller
about a time travelling serial killer that left the reader engrossed
in the lives of ordinary women and their various struggles to
challenge patriarchy; BROKEN MONSTERS (2014) juxtaposed another
supernatural serial killer with modern Detroit, and the result was
not only a tale of fast-paced horror thrills but a remarkably sure
account of people living under economic deprivation.
The stories collected here display many of the talents that have made her novels so compelling. Some are funny, some are terrifying, some are intimate, all are convincing: never overly twee, never predictable in their SF speculations, and all with characters whose voices ring with authenticity rather than come across as literary. Beukes’s journalistic background is an obvious asset, allowing her to sketch a South Africa so terrifying in its moves towards dystopia and so rich in its history, culture and patois that the reader becomes used to a familiar experience reading the opening sentences of these brief stories: wondering and attempting to deduce whether they are set in the future or the present.
The book ends with a moving letter to Beukes’s five-year-old daughter, reminiscent of Philip Larkin’s poem “Born Yesterday”. She tries to move her away from “Barbie and the Dreamhouse or Monsters High because they’re all about clothes and boyfriends and popularity, like the Kardashians for kids, and I try to nudge you to My Little Pony and She-Ra and The Powerpuff Girls and even Winx Club, where they have cool outfits and go on adventures. Where it’s about more than being beautiful.” This seems as delightful and appropriate a note to end the book on as could be imagined: the importance of life is not to accept bullshit from the patriarchy, not to accept clichés of beauty and femininity, but to have adventures, and there is no more scintillating adventurer in modern fiction than Lauren Beukes.
Credit: Lisa Larson-Walker (SLATE)
As part of SLATE’s Trump Story Project, Beukes contributes the original tale “PATRIOT POINTS.”
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Beukes is editing the 3rd issue of TYPE/CAST and is looking for submissions.
For our third issue submissions are open until midnight on Friday, 17 February 2017.
We’re looking for fiction, poetry and short nonfiction works.
This issue’s guest editor is Lauren Beukes.
“I’m excited to be guest-editing the next edition of TYPE/CAST, the Cape Town-based literary zine that publishes writing from the continent,” Lauren says. “I’m looking for stories that are ambitious, imaginative and local, especially from writers of colour. Genre is cool—think noir, speculative fiction, science fiction, remixes of magic and myth, but I also love straight-up realist fiction if it has something to say about who we are in the world.
“TYPE/CAST has registered as a not-for-profit collective. I’m a strong advocate against doing unpaid work. However, I cut my fiction teeth writing stories for free for small literary zines. TYPE/CASTt is non-commercial, doesn’t make any revenue and doesn’t claim any rights, apart from once-off publication in South Africa. This means writers get to have their work professionally edited and can use this as a stepping stone to sell the same piece elsewhere or use this publication as an introduction to their work in other markets.”
For full details on how to submit, please see our submissions page.
For more information about SLIPPING: STORIES, ESSAYS, & OTHER WRITING, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover art by Clara Bacou
Design by Elizabeth Story