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Claude Lalumiere - Objects of WorshipClaude Lalumière is a Canadian writer, this collection of short stories is his first book; his most recent publication was the Novella “The Door to Lost Pages”. He is the Editor of 8 Anthologies, writes “Fantastic Fiction” for the Montreal Gazette, and is one of the artists behind the Lost Myths site.

Objects of Worship is introduced by James Morrow, and rounded off with author's notes on inspiration for and process of writing for each of the stories.
Overall I can recommend the book. Yes, this is a new writer still working on finding his voice, and thus the quality and consistency of the stories here is mixed; but his is a new voice with an unusual take on a lot of things, and is worth reading.

Below is a short summary of and my thoughts on each of the stories in the book.

The Object of Worship

The story that gave the collection its title and theme – providing us with a short insight into a world/society which has Gods – present, visible, and interacting with the all-female inhabitants – for every aspect of life (home, work, …). What impact will it have that an Atheist (not that I'd call it that, given that the Gods are very much real) moves into the block of flats?.
It's a sad, and rather compelling story – and a clear candidate for more, or something longer in the same setting.

The Ethical Treatment of Meat
The Zombie apocalypse has happened, and the Zombies now rule the world. They have created a society which sounds a lot like what we had, and they are breeding humans (“fleshies”) for food (mainly brains). And recently a fad for keeping little ones as pets is taking hold, and Church Ministers are preaching about Ethical Treatments and “Human Rights” for the fleshies...
It has its fun bits, but didn't really grip me. And no, I'm not into Zombies, sorry.

Hochelaga and Sons
This is written as the reminiscences of the son of a WWII soldier who acquired superpowers through experiments the Germans conducted on him when he was a POW. He is dead now, killed by a stronger, Nazi super-villain. And of his twin sons only one has inherited his powers, but considers them against his religious convictions.
This is an interesting take on the whole Superhero thing, but sadly does not flesh out the powers/conscience/religious angle(s) as it could have. It thus stays very shallow – how very much a Superhero story indeed...

The Sea, at Bari
A story with a Lovecraft-esque motive, following an attempted exorcism of a traumatic childhood event/memory – or an attempt at reversing a life-changing event? It leaves more questions than answers, but works really well.

The Darkness at the Heart of the World
Coro, a crippled boy living on a flat world, gets caught up, through his own desire to fly, in the fight of Light vs Darkness, Day vs Night, Sweet Dreams vs Nightmares, Sun vs Moon... Good vs Evil? God vs ???
It reads like a Lost Myth from a yet undiscovered civilisation. Good stuff.

Spiderkid
Comic-fan and Arachno-fan (and thus mega-fan of Spiderkid) cathes up with the Love of his Live, and starts to worship primeval spidergod?
There's lots of potential here, but the execution feels stilted and lacking depth. Still, an enjoyable effort I found.

Njàbò

A recurring and progressively more immersive dream of Njàbò, the leader and totem of the (extinct!) Elephants haunts a Patchwork Family, especially the mother of a girls also named Njàbò.
Immersive, fascinating, with a great myth at its centre. And all too short in its resolution...


A Place where Nothing Ever Happens
So, one day, Lucifer got a rather big contract with a large Telco, and all the dead in Hell (and Hell, boring as it is, is all there is in the Afterlife) started calling the living...
Fun, superficial, and I didn't mind the sex... but also nothing which grew on me or showed any real potential for more and longer things.


A Visit to the Optometrist
Another Zombie story, set within the same environment as the previous one. The time with added Dark God (of humans, not Zombies) from “The Darkness at the Heart of the World”.
This did not really work for me. Then again, Zombies were never really my thing.


Roman Predator's Chimeric Odyssey
This is a fascinating fragment, giving a brief insight into a post-high-Civ Earth; Roman (this is a name, ok?) assumes the role of the “Wolf” as the pack leader of the regular hunt of the Chimeras, which are decended from the lab-created BioWar megafauna. But this time he encounters an Alien instead...
A fascinating world. More Please.


Destroyer of Worlds
A story of human lives, caught up in a drama of Indian Deities and Superheroes across parallel universes (in our Universe they are comic heroes, in others they are real!).
It's not Jan Lars Jenson, but it works...


This Is The Ice Age
Everything Electric or Electronic is dead, and has sprouted, very suddenly, large growths of fractal “Quantum Ice”. Most people were near electronics (mobile phones!) and are thus dead. There is no explanation of the how and why... the story simply follows two young survivors, and their observations of a new cult/religion growing in the ruins of civilisation.
In contrast to most other stories in this books this here is not closed, ie it could (should?) be continued, and/or developed into a longer piece, both with the protagonists and the world they find themselves in.


More Claude Lalumiere


Title: Objects of Worship
Author: Claude Lalumiere
Reviewer: Markus
Reviewer URL: http://thierstein.net
Publisher:  ChiZine Publications
Publisher URL: http://www.chizinepub.com
Publication Date: 2009
Review Date: 120617
ISBN: 9780981297828
Price: USD 18.95
Pages: 274
Format: Paperback
Topic: Speculative Fiction
Topic: Mythology

 

Liz Williams - Empire of Bones

 

Peter Watts – Maelstrom

 

Charles Stross - The Atrocity Archives

 

Thomas Pynchon - Slow Learner


Andy Weir - The Martian

 

Peter Watts - Blindsight

 

Doris Lessing – The Sirian Experiments

 

Sydney Padua - The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage

 

S.P. Somtow – I Wake from a Dream of a Drowned Star City

 

Tricia Sullivan – Occupy Me

 

Thomas Pynchon – Gravity’s Rainbow

 

Ken MacLeod - Cosmonaut Keep

 

Somtow Sucharitkul - The Throne of Madness

 

Doris Lessing - Shikasta

 

Ian Sales – Adrift on the Sea of Rains

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