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Customer Review of Richard Gessner’s newly published
book “The Conduit and Other Visionary Tales of Morphing Whimsy”

Richard Gessner’s The Conduit and Other Visionary Tales of Morphing Whimsy is an enticing and impressive feast of literary surrealism and playful prose.
It’s a no-holds-barred thrill-ride into the wondrous world of unexpected and whimsical happenings that are anything but ordinary.

The Conduit and Other Visionary Tales of Morphing Whimsy is one of the few collections which perfectly encapsulate what literary surrealism is all about, because
it has unexpectedness, whimsiness and – above all else – beautiful and lyrical prose. The unexpected and whimsy elements are gorgeously displayed in the stories.

I love the author’s prose, becase it has a lyrical feel to it. He effortlessly delivers delicious sights and wondrous vistas to his readers.
His literary playfulness and his unique writing style is reminiscent of Brendan Connell.
I was impressed by the prose, because I enjoy reading literary prose that is filled with details and evokes a sense of strangeness.

This collection may not be to everyone’s liking due to its strange and surreal contents, but that’s one of the most important reasons why it should be read.
I strongly believe that we need more collections like this one, because they invigorate literary surrealism and bring freshness to it.

This collection contains the following stories:

The Zoo-brary
Excerpts from the Diary of a Neanderthal Dilettante
The Conduit
The Ball
The Unicyclist
The Embezzler
The Ink Device
Arbitration, At Goo…
The Unpatented Universe
The Hermit
The Parallel Between the Cake and the Tail
The Olfactory Inversion
The Fool
The Widow’s Peak Ghost
The Funeral Service
The Man in the Couch
Lady in Transit
The Sleepwalker
The Battery Song
White Fuzz

What suprised me most about these stories is that they have plenty of depth and layers. Surreal fiction is seldom as multilayered as it is in this collection.
I found myself being amazed by the subtle complexity of the stories, because they give quite a lot of food for thoughts.

One of the most intriguing things about this collection is that the author has created self-contained microcosms with rules of their own.
These microcosms are filled with delicious and imaginative details that will astonish readers and they are distinctly different from what other authors have created.

“The Unicyclist” and “Arbitration, At Goo” offer readers surprisingly original and memorable visions of surreal strangeness.
In “The Unicyclist”, clusters of duck-billed platypus eggs are multiplying in the scrotum of a unicycling nomad as he pedals onward and protects the precious bluish eggs.

In “Arbitration, At Goo” two continents are linked by a pipeline through which babyfood flows and links the respecting populations by their diet, and the inhabitants
of both continents have regressed to a permanent condition of teething.

Surreal strangeness does merely appear in the above mentioned stories, but can also be found in other stories.
“The Conduit” tells of a man who has been stabbed in the heart at the edge of a pipe. The man crawls inside the pipe to live with the wound.
What follows next is a veritable banquet of surreal imagery ranging from the ancestors of the victim and assailant to enemy remoras.
“The Widow’s Peak Ghost” is an excellent piece of flash fiction, because it tells of a man who travels the route of his hairline and finds the
ghost of his widow’s peak buried in a pore of scalp oil dust.

“The Funeral Service” offers readers a quirky vision of medical school where an anatomy teacher is half tiger and half rubber ostrich and lives
inside a cadaver on a dissecting table. I like this story very much, because it is simultaneously amusing and macabre.
What becomes of the medical student when he becomes a graveyard for the dead is simply amazing.

“Excerpts from the Diary of a Neanderthal Dilettante” is a brilliant story that consists of short diary entries.
It’s a wholly original look at such things as art, literature, students and teachers, because the author approaches them from a new direction and
examines everything in his own unique and amusing way. I have to mention that this story left me wanting more,
because it is not often that readers are given an opportunity to read this kind of stories.

The author’s way of writing about strange changes and metamorphoses feels vivid and has a strong sense of wonder and curiosity to it.
He fluently describes what happens to his characters and how they envision their environments and situations. In some of the stories, his characters have springs stuck through
their bodies, a dead man is worried that worms won’t like his enbalming fluid and a man uses albino mice to cure his baldness etc.
It was enjoyable to read about each of the characters and their fates and predicaments, because their situations are mind-bogglingly peculiar and thought-provoking.

Richard Gessner’s quirky and twisted humour strongly appeals to me. I find his sense of humour highly enjoyable and wonderfully strange.
It’s great that he has spiced up his stories with quirky humour and has dared to experiment with unconventional elements, because it marks him
as a unique talent in the field of literary surrealism. In my opinion, Richard Gessner is an author to watch, because I have a feeling that
this collection is merely a taste of what is to come.

The Conduit and Other Visionary Tales of Morphing Whimsy will please the appetites of those who are willing to read something different
and allow themselves an opportunity to be seduced by beautiful prose and imaginative stories that push and stretch the boundaries
of surrealism in a whimsical way. It’s one of the most original collections of the year and should not be missed by readers who love
literary fiction and speculative ficton.

This collection has a few elements that strongly remind me of stories written by Brendan Connell and Rhys Hughes.
It also contains elements that are reminiscent of Franz Kafka and Raymond Roussel
(especially Roussel’s Locus Solus comes to mind when reading this collection).

Richard Gessner’s The Conduit and Other Visionary Tales of Morphing Whimsy is one of the most pleasant and most unique reading experiences of the year.
I sincerely hope that the author will continue to write more stories, because he has his own voice and he dares to write his own kind of stories.
I highly recommend this collection to everyone who loves surrealism and beautiful prose.

Highly recommended!
on November 4, 2017

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Mention in Hamilton Street Gallery Courier News article

Letter fro Allen Ashly science fiction writer


Posted on

January 19, 2017


Posted on

January 19, 2017