Ordered and mesmeric. This family’s interactions can pause to an extent that almost becomes non existent. Do they exist only if all is involved in the conversation? An eerie language that connects time, memories and moments described to the second. So aware of time, of measurements, the foundation of their lives. This seems to be all they have except for Strungballs. One can hear the buzz of boredom in their ears. What do they have besides every boys dream. The most sort after accoutrement with all its status, dangly strings and models. So coveted one must remove a piece of flesh for, again and again until nothing really holds you together.
Reading this short story has one’s imagination suffering as we plod through the minimal and awkward silences that is their lives. We peer into it and can’t help being pulled into its trance and rhythm. It sounds unpleasant but that is good storytelling.
Ten year old Sydney is undergoing a rites of passage, done with a beautiful vision on the perils of materialism and human conditioning. His leap into a different spirituality that he discovers via room 333 and new friend Albert is a beautiful awakening. Where the body and his fears are non existent, triggers the spark for knowledge and realisation of his individuality. Unknown king of the inquisitive, he very quickly questions doctrine and all the whitewash and begins the great unlearning. Sydney is on the search to find himself.
All cultures are full of strange stories, telling them is in our dna. This sci-fi dystopian fable is a gem. I wanted it fatter though, a little more filler could of helped us hold onto its message more. So although, it is a quickie, I enjoyed the imagery. The proud father whose dreams of his son selling or promoting Strungballs is paramount, the melancholic suppressed mother in a backdrop of tears and fears, white, black and red, flesh & robot nurses is vivid. The slow minimalism perfectly empty. The reproduction anatomy lesson in the middle jarred a little, though amused enough. If that particular imparting of fact was extended into a psychedelic touchy feely fun parlour I would of enjoyed the trip a little more and a little longer. Overall, I got to know Sydney and wanted to see how his quest would end, so this taste of author of Mike Russell has me prying into his world. Strange days indeed. You can purchase Strungballs and check out many more stories and Mike’s empire via his website StrangeBooks
REVIEWS BY ABBIE