A Review of “Isotropes: A Collection of Speculative Haibun” by T. J. McIntyre

Spencer Dew

McIntyre shuttles us off to other planets, leads us through retellings of fairy tales, plops us into petri dishes, and conceals us at the edges of sacrificial ceremonies. This free PDF chapbook, while scattered in its subject matter, relays scenes of horror that, for all their variety, have a certain similarity. Tentacles uncoiling through the salty fog, the hiss of static on a dead station, apocalypse in general, with all the trimmings–McIntyre offers all this and more, and as some readers will appreciate the faint trace of diluted Lovecraft, others will admire the book’s engagement with traditional form:

unhinged deities
the worlds we try not to see
the veil is so thin

Many readers, alas, will find the writing shoddy and the collection incoherently arranged, a patchwork of not-so-fresh corpse-bits that fails to convince. Here, for instance, is a representative sample, a stream of narration from the perspective of a lost and hungry child beholding a sight of wonder in the woods:

The house on the horizon looked unreal. Candy glazes sparkled in the growing sunlight. A puff of smoke emanated from a licorice chimney, and we knew that inside there would be warmth. We knew it might be a trap. Anything too good to be true usually is, after all. But, by that point, we did not care. We just wanted to be warm.

There’s little warmth or life here, though the “unreal” is given a fresh glaze in each poem.

Official T. J. McIntyre Web Site
Official Philistine Press Web Site

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One Response to “A Review of “Isotropes: A Collection of Speculative Haibun” by T. J. McIntyre”

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