Review of “Our Mortal Undressing” by Hamilton Perez

Plot:

There really isn’t much of a plot, but a presentation of five vignettes of death’s encounter with humans throughout human prehistory and history. Death is alone and wants the companionship humans seem to share. It is capable of taking human form, even to the point of having sexual encounters with humans. It wants to know humans.

Thoughts:

Author Perez paints a scene in a few words using lovely metaphors:

The night is cold, the sky black and shimmery as frost. Nearby a fire swats its golden arms against the dark, and around it, they sleep. One man keeps guard over his kin. The fire beside him whispers, flickers and curls, making his skin glow amber and orange. I recognize him…

This is engaging and a delight to read.

Narrator Karen Bovenmyer reads the text slowly and clearly. Her rendering of different voices is believable. She is pleasant to listen to.

However, what these vignettes don’t do is tell a story. I appreciate the novel perspective—death is talking about what it’s like to encounter humans rather than the other way around. It’s also unusual to think of death as having unmet needs. However—

Excuse while I go chase some kids off my goddamn lawn—

Damn it, if you’re gonna write fiction, tell me a story. Yes, you’ve got lovely metaphors that depict poignant human longing. From the first to that last, death speaks with an almost human desire to be loved and wanted. It seeks to know humans.

And? So then?

This is a personal preference, but I didn’t care for this story. Others will disagree.

Bios:

According to his blurb and his website bio, author Hamilton Perez is a writer and freelance editor living in Sacramento, California. His stories have appeared in Arsenika, Metaphorosis, and The Dark. He has a dog, and he really, really likes bread.

According to her website bio, narrator Karen Bovenmyer earned an MFA in Creative Writing: Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine. She teaches and mentors students at Iowa State University and Western Technical College. She is the Assistant Editor of Escape Artists’ Pseudopod Podcast and was the 2016 recipient of the Horror Writers Association Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship. Her short stories and poems appear in more than forty publications.

This story can be listened to/read here.




Title: “Our Mortal Undressing”
Podcastle 663, January 26, 2021
Author: Hamilton Perez
Narrator: Karen Bovenmyer
Host: Setsu Uzume
Audio Producer: Peter Behravesh
Length: approx. 25 mins.
First published: The Dark, May 2018
Rated: R

Published by 9siduri

I have written book and movie reviews for the late and lamented sites Epinions and Examiner. I have book of reviews of speculative fiction from before 1900, and short works in publications such Mobius, Protea Poetry Journal, and, most recently, Wisconsin Review and Drunken Pen Writing. I'm busily working away on a book of reviews pulp science fiction stories from the 1930s-1960s. It's a lot of fun. I am the author of the short story "Always Coming Home," a chapbook of poetry titled "Sotto Voce," and a collection of reviews of pre-1900 speculative fiction, "By Firelight."

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