Onion Songs is a collection of 42 short stories spanning the writing career of Steve Rasnic Tem, with an emphasis on the bizarre, the off-beat and the meditative. Here Tem confronts the big questions of human experience (ageing, death, identity, relationships) like a collector digging deep in the clutter of an attic and pulling out only the most unexpected and most telling finds.
His style tersely poetic, Tem is able to give fine reproductions of the texture of everyday life while writing with all the invention of unrestrained nightmare. The mindscapes contained here, where circus clowns cling to meaningless office jobs, skeletons fall like snow, ‘true unicorns’ rummage in garbage piles, and fires are liable to break out at any moment, first engage us deeply where things ache most, then compel us to keep reading with a beauty that, for all its strangeness, we finally recognise as human.
Steve Rasnic Tem (born 1950) was born in Jonesville, Virginia, which is in the heart of Appalachia. He went to college at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and also at Virginia Commonwealth University. He got a B.A. in English education. In 1974, he moved to Colorado and studied creative writing at Colorado State University. He is married to author Melanie Tem. The couple have three kids and live in a large house in Colorado.
Steve Rasnic Tem's short fiction has been compared to the work of Franz Kafka, Dino Buzzati, Ray Bradbury, and Raymond Carver, but to quote Joe R. Lansdale: "Steve Rasnic Tem is a school of writing unto himself." His 200 plus published pieces have garnered him a British Fantasy Award, and nominations for the World Fantasy and Bram Stoker Awards.
Photo by Debra Lee Fanatia.