Sunday, January 15, 2012

Image of the Beast, by Philip José Farmer

(pb; 1968, 1969. Foreword by Theodore Sturgeon)

From the back cover:

"A grisly love-murder is recorded as a home movie. It is so hellish that seasoned policemen turn from it in horror. Then a second film is discovered. It shows the startling transformation of a beautiful, sensual woman into a ravening wolf. And this is only the beginning. . ."


This multigenre novel (in actuality two conjoined, plot-bound novellas, Image of the Beast and Blown) is one of the best science fiction/horror/neo-noir novels I've ever read. It seamlessly melds elements of the above genres into an often hilarious, reader-seizing read.

The plot: Herald Childe, a P.I., is investigating the horrific, freakish murder of his slimy business partner (Matthew Colben), when his tempestuous ex-wife, the aptly-named Sybil, disappears, too, leading him deeper and deeper into a fluid-splattery cosmic struggle that he couldn't have foreseen.

The darkly-comedic, carnally-explicit, over-the-top and literature-sourced storyline will likely appeal to horror/science fiction/neo-noir readers who don't mind mixing their genres, or seeing clichés skull-blasted into something original and unforgettable.

Worth owning, this. Pick it up, already! =)


Big thanks to Gary Russell, a great friend who recommended - and sent - Image to me almost ten years ago. (I told you I'd get around to reading it!)

Gary Russell is an accomplished author of many stories, including Morph. and Nikkatsu. He co-edits the microfiction website, Leodegraunce - check it out! - with the incomparable and talented Jolie Du Pre

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