Irregular Creatures by Chuck Wendig begins with his acknowledgement that Lithuanian pornography is a source of inspiration. That is in sentence three of the acknowledgements and I am not going to put the book down until I get to the end. Maybe there will be pictures.
Because this is a book of short stories, I want to make some observations on each one. From beginning to end there may not be any single unifying theme. But watch out for the occasional appearances of cats with wings. And in the last paragraph of the last story (not a spoiler, by the way) is the best depiction in words of a Fourth-of-July fireworks demonstration I have ever come across. It is not actually about the Fourth-of-July but if you get there, you will see what I mean.
Dog-Man and Cat-Bird (A Flying Cat Story) This is a warm story about shifting relationships in a family. Mom the adversary becomes mom the ally. Pets, at least cats, are helpful to humankind. This is the longest story of the collection but it moves fast. So do the cats. And there is even a dog, finally, that will make the reader feel good.
A Radioactive Monkey This guy walks into a bar and says to the bartender … OK, that’s how it starts out. After reading this short story to the end, you might want to go to WOW music parodies and listen to one of their apocalyptic zombie musicals. After reading this, you will know the one.
Product Placement Burger King would do it your way, if you could find one. In Donnie’s world, things are not what they seem. There is a sort of duality to everything. Sometimes Donnie is allowed to see it.
This Guy Sometimes a line from the story says it all. In this case “And I slam his head in the dumpster. It pops off and lands on a bed of rancid bok choy.
Mister Mhu’s Pussy Show Graphic sexual language alert!! Except for those of us who have lived in Bangkok. For us, this is pretty normal. There has long been the urban myth of why some foreigners become speechless in the presence of such beauty.
Lethe and Mnemosyne There is an angry chicken and a 1952 Chevy Bel Air hard top. Sounds like writing prompt to me.
The Auction Did you ever want to return a recent purchase? Did you have a good reason? This story is for you.
Beware of Owner Don’t take any delivery requests from Raymond’s dad.
Do-Overs and Take-Backs This one I mentioned above. The last paragraph is (literally) explosive. But getting there is a huge part of the fun. This is my favorite story.
Chuck Wendig, Chuck Palahniuk, Joe Hill, and especially the short stories of Stephen King will keep your reader’s mind twisting, turning, and fresh. If you are a writer, read these folks. You won’t need further writing prompts.