Monday, January 14, 2008

Book Review: Fried! Fast Food, Slow Deaths edited by Colleen Morris and Joel A. Sutherland

Every Monday, I'll be doing spoiler-free book reviews.

All I have is a PDF copy so I can't really comment on the physical details of this anthology but from the looks of it, at under 300 pages, it looks like a thin book. However, going through the 23 stories in this collection, I didn't really notice. With a title like Fried! Fast Food, Slow Deaths, it's about as subtle as Snakes on a Plane and sets your expectations for the book: it's a collection of horror stories that revolve around the theme of fast food. The book embraces its genre and is unabashedly the fiction equivalent of B-Horror films: you get fun, simple, gross (and sometimes terrifying) stories.

Not denying its horror film roots, there's lots of interesting artwork in the book including the table of contents laid out as a fast food menu and news clippings serving as a sort of epilogue to some stories. Each story is also preceded by artwork that gives the story an ambiance that is quite appropriate to the theme. As for the actual meat of the book, well, there are a lot of stories and while some stories honestly fell flat for me, there's so many stories that one can just move on to the next one (and some stories are even so short that they're barely outside of the flash fiction range). Still, there are some gems in this collection: I was impressed with Michael Josef's "Station 19" which I think creatively explores the fast food theme and converts it into a sci-fi story while retaining the horror element. My two favorites however are "The Bocan" by the editor Sutherland and "Feeding Frenzy" by Matt Hults, the former a story that involves the fey and the latter a well-developed horror story.

As long as you set your expectations right, Fried! Fast Food, Slow Deaths is an interesting anthology to add to one's collection. If you want something easy to read or a fun scare, check out this book. Leave your brain--or your gut as the case may be--at the door and you'll do fine. Otherwise, if you want something more critical or multi-layered, well, this is fast food after all.

Rating: 2.5/5.

Rating System:

1 - There are better ways to spend your time.
2 - Ho hum books, usually typical of its genre. Probably only recommendable to die-hard fans.
3 - A cut above the rest, usually with one or more elements that sets it apart from the norm.
4 - Highly recommended and is easily a pioneer of the genre.
5 - A classic or it will be.

No comments: