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Animated Objects
Linda D. Addison
Space and Time, 110 pages

Animated Objects
Linda D. Addison
Linda Addison has published poetry, stories, and non-fiction in Asimov's SF Magazine, Pirate Writings, Tomorrow Magazine and Epitaph. This is her first collection. She lives in New York City.

AALBC: Linda D. Addison
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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Lisa DuMond

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If you believe films and situation comedies, everyone's secret wish is to peek into other people's diaries. You can read Linda Addison's personal journal and there won't even be a messy discovery/pouting/forgiveness sequence to sit through; she wants you to look inside. She'll share with you her poems, her short stories, even her stray thoughts. Some of it's pretty close to the bone; some of it's hysterical; often, it's mystifying. True, not all of it is golden, but who is, even on their best days?

"One Night At Sheri-Too-Long's Popcorn Bar" and "Just Passing Through" highlight the science fiction slant of the collection. Short, sassy, and delightful, they step directly into worlds that we have yet to encounter. The beings in these worlds are a bit too alien for us to embrace immediately, but far too familiar for us to dismiss outright. "Just Passing Through" makes spectacular use of the one-sided conversation situation. Were the participants more human, it would be easy to see a Bob Newhart telephone sketch in action.

A dip into the horror pool finds "Am I Repeating Myself?" and the claustrophobic nightmare of "Dust to Dust." The paranoia and endless loop of "Am I Repeating Myself?" is a quick, sharp stab at our worst fears, made infinitely more terrifying by the complete loss of hope and relief. Addison's reach extends deep into the least-visited centres of our brains, finding the dark shadows we never wanted to bring into the light.

Escape and the hopelessness of escape resonate throughout her short stories and poems. "The Box" is a trap all of us say we would never fall into. Wouldn't it be nice if that were true? "The Box"'s companion piece, "Little Red In The Hood," offers perhaps a more fanciful look at the unscalable walls of our lives, but also a grimmer one.

Her poetry touches on life and loss and all the themes of fantastical literature. Least successful are the self-conscious verses devoted to writing, attempts to share an experience that is best not explained. The strongest power in her poetic voice lies in the obscured, the wispy details that evade a simple understanding by the reader. Complexity and vague suggestions suit Addison and reveal the raw emotion behind the tantalizing words.

For all that, what command reading again and again are two brief odes. "Joyous Spirit" and "Sassy Love," tributes to loved ones not so long gone, establish a firm link with the author that ties us in closer, gives us a greater understanding of the stories and poems and intensely personal journal entries that fill the covers of Animated Objects. Intimate glimpses in a starkly revealing scrapbook.

Copyright © 1998 Lisa DuMond

Lisa DuMond writes science fiction and humour. She co-authored the 45th anniversary issue cover of MAD Magazine. Previews of her latest, as yet unpublished, novel are available at Hades Online.


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