The Situation: Surreal and fantastic

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews fantasy book reviews Jeff Vandermeer The SituationThe Situation by Jeff Vandermeer

I’m a big fan of both Jeff VanderMeer and PS Publishing, so imagine my surprise when I found a copy of The Situation in my hard drive, a giveaway from Wired that I had downloaded but forgotten, mainly because it wasn’t in my immediate must-be-read-for-review-or-else-we’ll-send-ninjas queue. The first scene immediately hooked me, evoking a New Weird atmosphere as corporate drones created insects that crawled into your ears and conjured nightmares, all the while being quite readable instead of the overwhelming details that characterize China Mieville‘s NEW CROBUZON novels.

The fiction is presented in short bursts of scenes, each one as evocative and compelling as the one that preceded it. The bizarreness of it all seems like the perfect analog to the corporate environment where workers slave away their time working for rich employers, although in this case it is filtered through the lens of the surreal and the fantastic. VanderMeer is consistent throughout, creating apt analogies for the toxic workplace. Aside from that, The Situation is a quick, fun read and if nothing else, an enjoyable “Fuck You” to the incompetents at the office. Even those unfamiliar with VanderMeer‘s fiction will find The Situation accessible.

FanLit thanks Charles Tan from Bibliophile Stalker for contributing this guest review.


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CHARLES TAN, one of our guest reviewers, is the owner of the blogs Bibliophile Stalker and Comic Quest. He also edits Philippine Speculative Fiction. You can read his fiction in that publication and in The Digest of Philippine Genre Stories. Charles has conducted interviews for The Nebula Awards and The Shirley Jackson Awards, as well as for online magazines such as SF Crowsnest and SFScope. He is a regular contributor to sites like SFF Audio and Comics Village.

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