The best satire succeeds by getting at certain truths. Perhaps nobody working in the genre has a better grip on this notion than James Morrow, who’s made a career of irreverently skewering the foibles of humanity. His forthcoming novella THE ASYLUM OF DR. CALIGARI (Tachyon Publications, June 2017) is the latest ingenious example of his work, an inventive historical fantasy that layers slick, intelligent humor over a bedrock of serious antiwar critique.
THE ASYLUM OF DR. CALIGARI is a fast, funny book, which might make it easy to mistake for disposable entertainment. But under its zany surface, Morrow has seeded a sad, heartfelt message about the “transcendently meaningless” cost of war, perfectly situated against the backdrop of World War I. The art-magic worldbuilding is creative and well rendered, and those familiar with the era will enjoy the guessing game of determining whether the novella is a secret history or an alternate one. Brilliantly walking the line, its zippy energy camouflages a surprisingly powerful resonance. It’s yet another seriocomic triumph from one of the genre’s best satirists.
THE BOOK LOVER’S BOUDOIR enjoys the book.
I really enjoyed this novella, inspired by the movie THE ASYLUM OF DR. CALIGARI. I loved the prose style. Morrow knows how to tell a story. As I was reading, I was reminded time and again of some horror greats including Dracula and Frankenstein. The novella has that air of old fashioned, spooky, black and white horror movie about it. The relationship between Wyndham and mad Ilona was disturbing. I enjoyed the intense, madness of it all. Dr Caligari was a great villain. I could imagine him, locked away in a dark room, cackling with glee while the world burned around him. I enjoyed the plan Wyndham and his conspirators come up with to stop Caligari’s madness. Their plan was almost as mad as his. I had a good time with THE ASYLUM OF DR. CALIGARI and would recommend it.
For more info on THE ASYLUM OF DR. CALIGARI, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Elizabeth Story