Monday, May 26, 2008

Book Review: The Imago Sequence and Other Stories by Laird Barron

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

A blind purchase on my part, The Imago Sequence and Other Stories didn't immediately warm up to me but I was eventually won over by Barron's lengthier stories. The author utilizes an old concept--horrors beyond mortal ken--and infuses them with his own unique writing style that is detailed, in-depth, and builds on character as well as atmosphere. This collection even has some science fiction thrown into the mix that Barron manages to seamlessly combine with his writing. An example is "Hallucigenia" which is a fusion of all sorts of horror tropes, whether it's external or internal horror. Barron takes his time weaving this story and slowly building it up to its inevitable conclusion. "The Imago Sequence" is another impressive story that revolves around a series of paintings and bears a distinct Lovecraftian influence. Another good reason to pick up this book is "Procession of the Black Sloth", a story that is featured here for the first time. Barron manages to turn the protagonist's hallucinations into an effective writing technique that similarly makes the reader wonder. Overall, the stories in The Imago Sequence and Other Stories can be challenging to read at times yet the pay-off is well worth it as Barron's imagination is quite fertile and easily evokes Lovecraft without overtly delving into the Cthulhu mythos.

Rating: 3/5.

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.

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