Kristine Ong Muslim's The Drone Outside was published by Eibonvale Press in December 2017.

Information about Kristine Ong Muslim:

Kristine Ong Muslim is the author of several books, including the short story collections Age of Blight (Unnamed Press, 2016), Butterfly Dream (Snuggly Books, 2016), and The Drone Outside (Eibonvale Press, 2017), as well as the poetry collections Lifeboat (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2015), Meditations of a Beast (Cornerstone Press, 2016), and Black Arcadia (University of the Philippines Press, 2017). Her other books are A Roomful of Machines (ELJ Publications, 2015), Grim Series (Popcorn Press, 2012), and We Bury the Landscape (Queen’s Ferry Press, 2012).

Click here to visit her official website.

Information about The Drone Outside:

Watching the end of the world through the cracks. Small windows on massive events – on a doomed civilization drawing its last breaths. A sense of universal decay and collapse conveyed in the smallest of canvasses.

This collection by Kristine Ong Muslim, an author from the Philippines, gathers nine delicate miniatures that pack a strong emotional punch. Stylistically they are rooted in apocalyptic sci-fi and supernatural horror but they are told with a post-modern and surreal touch – like macro photographs of the world's end.

REVIEW: THE DRONE OUTSIDE BY KRISTINE ONG MUSLIM

Kristine Ong Muslim's The Drone Outside is the first chapbook in the Eibonvale Chapbook Line. It's a memorable and insightful exploration of the bleak future of mankind and the deterioration of the world.

My first introduction to Kristine Ong Muslim's stories was her chapbook Butterfly Dream, which was published a couple of years ago. When I began to read it, I immediately found myself captivated by the stories and was taken by the author's way of exploring the human condition, life and death (ever since then I've been a fan of her fiction). I'm happy to say that this new chapbook is every bit as good and fascinating as Butterfly Dream.

I consider Kristine Ong Muslim to be one of the finest authors of modern speculative fiction, because she has a unique and insightful literary voice. This impressive mini-collection showcases her imagination and writing skills in the best possible way, because each of the stories is something different and deeply mesmerising.

The Drone Outside contains the following stories:

- Kilroy Was Here
- The Outsiders
- Anno Domini
- Eventide
- Demolition Day
- The Early Signs of Blight
- The Neighbors
- The Longest Night
- Boltzmann Brain

These stories offer readers a memorable reading experience, because they form a stunning vision about how the age of man ends. They reveal the final moments of the modern world before the inevitable end. The author distinctly evokes a sense of decay, collapse and the end of the world in her stories. She explores the fatal consequences of climate change and how humanity has been affected by what has happened in the world in a bold and gripping way.

All of these stories are firmly rooted in science fiction, horror fiction, modern weird fiction and literary strange fiction. There's a thrillingly haunting and surreal feel to them that will captivate readers. When you begin to read these stories, you'll notice how atmospheric they are and how effectively the author writes about the events.

Here's more information about the stories and my thoughts about them:

Kilroy Was Here:

- In this opening story, a group of people storms a tower to unplug the machine and unhook the wires that tether the machine to them and to their lives.
- This is a strong story that will haunt readers with its imagery.

The Outsiders:

- In this story, the characters think about their current situation and existence in an intriguing way.

Anno Domini:

- A story about a museum in the desert.
- This story is almost impossible to forget once you've read it, because the author combines science fiction and modern weird fiction in a thrilling way.

Eventide:

- In this story, people have been seeing dreams about black mold.
- There's something about this story that slightly reminds me of cosmic weird fiction.
- Reading about the black mold fascinated me, because I've always been interested in reading about strange happenings and how people are affected by new and strange experiences.

Demolition Day:

- This story consists of letters addressed to people asking where they were when the tower, which was mentioned in the first story, was stormed.
- The individual letters are striking in their honesty, insightfulness and tender brutality.
- The tiny elements of black humour in the first letter are brilliant.

The Early Signs of Blight:

- In this story, ten-year-old Ben is visited by a bad man during the nights.
- An unsettling, fascinating and well written story that will linger on the readers' minds.
- I loved the ending of this story, because it was excellent.

The Neighbors:

- A story about Suarez who lives in a bunker.
- A haunting and effective story that will not be easily forgotten.

The Longest Night:

- In this story, the Machins have prepared themselves for spending the nineteen-month long night together in the dark.
- A brilliant and thought-provoking story with an excellent and surprisingly harrowing ending.

Boltzmann Brain:

- This story tells about broadcasts coming from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.
- The broadcasts reveal unsettling things about what has happened to the world and how the climate has changed.
- A pitch-perfect and fitting final story to this chapbook.

The stories in this chapbook slightly remind me of stories written by Berit Ellingsen, Nina Allan, Quentin S. Crisp, Justin Isis, Aliya Whiteley and Brendan Connell, but they're different from them due to the author's way of exploring themes of collapse, decay and change. If you're familiar with stories written by these authors, you should take a look at this mini-collection, because you'll love it.

The author writes excellent prose. Her nearly poetic prose is one of the reasons why this chapbook is amazing and worth reading. Her literary way of writing about the events and the characters is breathtakingly beautiful and harrowing. I can guarantee that when you begin to read this chapbook, you'll be instantly drawn into the stories and will find yourself totally enthralled by them and their atmosphere.

Kristine Ong Muslim's The Drone Outside is a literary gem that beckons readers to explore its horrors and wonders. I highly recommend it to readers who are intrigued by beautiful, atmospheric and thought-provoking speculative fiction, because it's something different and unique (if you love well written speculative fiction, you won't regret reading this chapbook).

Highly recommended!

Log in to comment
Discuss this article in the forums (0 replies).