Kristine Ong Muslim's Butterfly Dream was published by Snuggly Books in May 2016.
Information about Kristine Ong Muslim:
Kristine Ong Muslim is the author of several books of fiction and poetry: Age of Blight (Unnamed Press, 2016), A Roomful of Machines (ELJ Publications, 2015), Grim Series (Popcorn Press, 2012), We Bury the Landscape (Queen's Ferry Press, 2012), as well as Black Arcadia and Lifeboat, two poetry collections from university presses in the Philippines. She also serves as poetry editor of LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction, a literary journal published by Epigram Books in Singapore, and co-editor (with Nalo Hopkinson) of Lightspeed Magazine's anthology People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction. Widely published in magazines and anthologies, she grew up and continues to live in rural southern Philippines. Butterfly Dream is her sixth book.
Click here to visit her official website.
Information about Butterfly Dream:
The stories and non-stories in Kristine Ong Muslim's Butterfly Dream avow mutilation as rebirth, ruin as indestructibility, and safety as an illusion. In “Artificial Life,” a girl is persistent in her belief that her doll will soon come to life. “The Six Mutations of Jerome” documents the grotesque transformations of an everyman named Jerome, while “The Lonely People” follows a group of individuals fleeing from the accoutrements of the modern world as manifested by carnivorous floors and a marauding giant worm. Part travelogue on the vagaries of human consciousness, Butterfly Dream is a glimpse into a reality marred by causal logic and wakefulness.
A REVIEW OF KRISTINE ONG MUSLIM'S BUTTERFLY DREAM
Kristine Ong Muslim's Butterfy Dream is the 4th chapbook in the Snuggly Slim edition series. It's a collection of compelling and thought-provoking stories with themes and issues that range all the way from death to transformations.
When I began to read this chapbook, I wasn't familiar with Kristine Ong Muslim's stories. I had heard of her, but I had never read any of her stories or poems. I'm glad that I had an opportunity to read this chapbook by her, because it's filled with excellent stories.
Kristine Ong Muslim is a versatile author who explores human condition, death and life in a captivatingly peculiar and unique way. She is one of those authors who deserve the attention of quality-oriented speculative fiction readers, because her stories beckon to be explored and experienced by readers who are not afraid of reading something out of the ordinary. She's a welcome and bold new voice in the field of modern speculative fiction.
Butterfly Dream contains the following eight stories (flash fiction stories and short stories), which can be classified as horror, science fiction and modern weird fiction:
- Artificial Life
- The Six Mutations of Jerome
- In the Eye of the Beholder
- The Girl Who Did Not Exist
- Wreck, Slash, Burn
- The Lonely People
- Letter to a Certain Dr. Bill
- The Psychopomps
These stories offer a captivating, disturbing and original glimpse into life, death and reality with a dash of surrealism. There's wonderful originality, imagination and inventiveness in them that sets them apart from other modern speculative fiction stories. Each of them gives readers something to think about.
Here's a bit of information about the stories and my thoughts about them:
- A flash fiction story about a girl called Patty who believes that her doll will soon come to life.
- An excellent story with an unsettling atmosphere.
The Six Mutations of Jerome:
- A story about a man called Jerome who can be anyone and anything.
- It's intriguing how much of the human condition is revealed through Jerome's different transformations and experiences.
In the Eye of the Beholder:
- A well-told story about a boy named Jimmy who has only one eye.
- The ending of this story is brilliant, because it reveals what's going on.
The Girl Who Did Not Exist:
- A story about a girl who doesn't believe that she has a sister.
- A brilliantly disturbing and well written story.
Wreck, Slash, Burn:
- In this story, machines talk about their master.
- An inventive and delightfully quirky story.
The Lonely People:
- A story about people who flee from the accoutrements of modern world.
- The carnivorous and hungry floor, the giant mechanical worm and doorways add a nice touch of strangeness to the story.
- This is one of the best and most captivating stories I've ever read, because it's something different.
Letter to a Certain Dr. Bill:
- This is a story about a letter that has been written to a doctor.
- An intriguingly different, but very good story.
- This story begins with a scene of a bus being driven as far as it can take its passengers. It grows into a captivating flash fiction story.
- An excellent and fitting finale to this chapbook.
All of these stories are good. The flash fiction stories are just as good and interesting as the short stories, because the author has a fluent writing style and has an ability to writes stories of varying length. The longer stories are marvellous in their originality and strangeness. I have to admit that I was surprised by how good they were, because each of them was something special.
'Artificial Life' is one of the best and most memorable flash fiction stories I've ever read. When you've read it, you won't be able to forget the young girl who persistently tries to resuscitate her doll, because the author has written the story so well that it sticks to your mind.
I consider 'The Six Mutations of Jerome' to be an excellent exploration of human condition. The author's visions of the different mutations and transformations of Jerome are fascinatingly original and thought-provoking.
'The Lonely People' is also an excellent and breathtakingly well written story. Reading about the characters was intriguing for me, because each of them experienced different things. The author's descriptions of the events kept me enthralled by their strangeness.
If you're familiar with such authors as Brendan Connell, Justin Isis and Quentin S. Crisp, you're in for quite a special treat when you begin to read this chapbook. It is slightly similar to the stories written by these authors, but also different from them in terms of themes and issues found in the stories. If you like their works and are looking for something new to read, please take a look at this chapbook - you'll thank me for it.
Kristine Ong Muslim's Butterfly Dream is a gem among speculative fiction chapbooks. I highly recommend it to readers who want to experience something different and expect their imagination to be stimulated by what they read. It offers plenty of food for thoughts and makes readers marvel at the various events. Please, indulge yourself by reading this compelling chapbook as soon as possible and let yourself be seduced by its strangeness.