counter create hit Age of Blight: Stories - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

Age of Blight: Stories

Availability: Ready to download

What if the end of man is not caused by some cataclysmic event, but by the nature of humans themselves? In Age of Blight, a young scientist's harsh and unnecessary experiments on monkeys are recorded for posterity; children are replaced by their doppelgangers, which emerge like flowers in their backyards; and two men standing on opposing cliff faces bear witness to each ot What if the end of man is not caused by some cataclysmic event, but by the nature of humans themselves? In Age of Blight, a young scientist's harsh and unnecessary experiments on monkeys are recorded for posterity; children are replaced by their doppelgangers, which emerge like flowers in their backyards; and two men standing on opposing cliff faces bear witness to each other's terrifying ends. Age of Blight explores a kind of post-future, in which the human race is finally abandoned to the end of its history. Muslim's poetic vignettes explore the nature of dystopia itself, often to darkly humorous effect, as when the spirit of Laika (the Russian space dog that perished on Sputnik 2) tries to befriend a satellite, or when Beth, the narrator's older sister, returns from the dead. The collection is illustrated throughout by the charcoal drawings of RISD artist Alessandra Hogan. In haunting and precise prose, Kristine Ong Muslim posits that humanity's downfall will be both easily preventable and terrifyingly inevitable, for it depends on only one thing: human nature.


Compare

What if the end of man is not caused by some cataclysmic event, but by the nature of humans themselves? In Age of Blight, a young scientist's harsh and unnecessary experiments on monkeys are recorded for posterity; children are replaced by their doppelgangers, which emerge like flowers in their backyards; and two men standing on opposing cliff faces bear witness to each ot What if the end of man is not caused by some cataclysmic event, but by the nature of humans themselves? In Age of Blight, a young scientist's harsh and unnecessary experiments on monkeys are recorded for posterity; children are replaced by their doppelgangers, which emerge like flowers in their backyards; and two men standing on opposing cliff faces bear witness to each other's terrifying ends. Age of Blight explores a kind of post-future, in which the human race is finally abandoned to the end of its history. Muslim's poetic vignettes explore the nature of dystopia itself, often to darkly humorous effect, as when the spirit of Laika (the Russian space dog that perished on Sputnik 2) tries to befriend a satellite, or when Beth, the narrator's older sister, returns from the dead. The collection is illustrated throughout by the charcoal drawings of RISD artist Alessandra Hogan. In haunting and precise prose, Kristine Ong Muslim posits that humanity's downfall will be both easily preventable and terrifyingly inevitable, for it depends on only one thing: human nature.

30 review for Age of Blight: Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Karl

    'The Age of Blight": An Interview with Kristine Ong Muslim by Jeff VanderMeer http://weirdfictionreview.com/2016/09... Contents: A Note on the places in this book I. Animals 007 - "Leviathan" 003 - "The Wire Mother" 011 - "the Ghost of Jaika Encounters Satellite" II. Children 019 - "No Little Bobos" 025 - The Playground" 029 - "The Almost Perfect Hands" 039 - "Jade & the Moonman" 045 - "Dominic & Dominic" III. Instead Of Human 057 -"There's No Relief As Wondrous As Seeing Yourself Intact" 061 - "Pet" 067 - "Zom 'The Age of Blight": An Interview with Kristine Ong Muslim by Jeff VanderMeer http://weirdfictionreview.com/2016/09... Contents: A Note on the places in this book I. Animals 007 - "Leviathan" 003 - "The Wire Mother" 011 - "the Ghost of Jaika Encounters Satellite" II. Children 019 - "No Little Bobos" 025 - The Playground" 029 - "The Almost Perfect Hands" 039 - "Jade & the Moonman" 045 - "Dominic & Dominic" III. Instead Of Human 057 -"There's No Relief As Wondrous As Seeing Yourself Intact" 061 - "Pet" 067 - "Zombie Sister" 073 - "Wonderful Curse" IV. In The Age Of Blight 081 - "Day Of the Builders" 093 - "The Quarantine Tank" 099 - "The First Ocean" 100 - "History Of The World" 104 - Acknowledgements 105 - Photo Credit 107 - About the Author This book was Excellent and Quite Wonderful.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Divine Anas

    "...the amount of pain we inflict on others shows how much we hate ourselves." This was such a pleasantly weird and thought-provoking short story collection. Age of Blight skirts different scenarios of near-extinction driven by the dark recesses of human nature. I personally love how the first part delved on the flipside of animal cruelty in the name of science and referenced real-life events like The Nature of Love experiment by Harry Harlow as well as the catastrophic experience of "...the amount of pain we inflict on others shows how much we hate ourselves." This was such a pleasantly weird and thought-provoking short story collection. Age of Blight skirts different scenarios of near-extinction driven by the dark recesses of human nature. I personally love how the first part delved on the flipside of animal cruelty in the name of science and referenced real-life events like The Nature of Love experiment by Harry Harlow as well as the catastrophic experience of Soviet space dog Laika. My favorite short stories were under the Children and Instead of Human category as it aptly explores the theme heavily. This was a great collection but I find some of the stories quite forgettable as well. However, I can't deny the fact that I really enjoyed reading it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    David Nestor

    A truly disturbing work of fiction. Some of the stories are outright horrifying where others require you to read into the subtext to understand the darkness lurking beneath. As someone who tends to read novels the continuity in themes and world in most of the stories makes for a cohesive collection and made me a fan of this book in a way that most collections can't. You are drawn into the world and drown in its decay. A truly disturbing work of fiction. Some of the stories are outright horrifying where others require you to read into the subtext to understand the darkness lurking beneath. As someone who tends to read novels the continuity in themes and world in most of the stories makes for a cohesive collection and made me a fan of this book in a way that most collections can't. You are drawn into the world and drown in its decay.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Francesca Forrest

    My first exposure to Kristine Ong Muslim was her short story in Lauriat, a collection of fantasy stories by Filipino-Chinese authors. That led to my reviewing Grim Series , a collection of Muslim’s sharp, often gruesome, sometimes beautiful, poems. So when I was asked if I would review Age of Blight, a new short-story collection by Muslim, I readily agreed. I read through it slowly. It’s dark, highlighting the monstrous things people can be and do. Nothing’s excessive or overstated, but some o My first exposure to Kristine Ong Muslim was her short story in Lauriat, a collection of fantasy stories by Filipino-Chinese authors. That led to my reviewing Grim Series , a collection of Muslim’s sharp, often gruesome, sometimes beautiful, poems. So when I was asked if I would review Age of Blight, a new short-story collection by Muslim, I readily agreed. I read through it slowly. It’s dark, highlighting the monstrous things people can be and do. Nothing’s excessive or overstated, but some of the topics are pretty intensely awful, so it’s not very comfortable reading. After two of the earliest stories, “The Wire Mother” (an excoriation of the psychologist Harry Harlow, who deserves what Muslim gives him) and “The Ghost of Laika Encounters a Satellite” (about the dog sent into space by the Soviet Union), I wasn’t sure I could continue. But the storytelling is so compelling that I did, and I was glad of it. Muslim is a master of the small, sometimes ironic, detail—“black-and-white drawings of rainbows,” for example, or, in the last story (“History of the World,” one of my favorites), this: It is safe to call the man with the binoculars Justin, because that’s what the tiny embroidery on his windbreaker spells out. “Dominic and Dominic,” a story in which a boy seeds his own replicant by burying his fingernails, has this description of the nail-clipping process: He grasped the clipper’s tiny lever and brought the blade down expertly against his nail, the sharp click-clack of stainless steel striking keratin satisfying him. This line from later in the story—when those fingernails have grown into hands, just protruding from the ground—gives you a feel for Muslim’s tone of controlled judgment, but also humor: The finger … [was] pointing skyward with the surliness of a person whose belief system was based on self-importance. I was very taken by these authorial pronouncements—they were like artisanal hand grenades: I had the squelched look of defeat, the squelched look of an ancient creature that believed itself to be dangerous but had no faculties to behave as such. or Happy endings are just curses told evasively. As if to bear out the latter statement, one of the happier stories in the collection, “The First Ocean” (in a postapocalyptic world, an elder tells youngsters about the sea they’ve never seen), revolves around a deception: “They had so much faith in me that I found it difficult to disappoint them. It was impossible not to lie.” There’s even a pronouncement on the defining characteristic of life: That’s the one true quality that defines life—the compulsion to draw something: an essence, a lesson, anything— from others. I turned that one over in my mind and thought, yes. Yes, I can see it. Go in forewarned: it’s a very dark collection. But if you like your chocolate unadulterated by sugar and milk—and if you sometimes have a craving for precision-crafted macabre tales, then you might try out Age of Blight.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ross Helford

    I started this book right before I was about to get on a plane, and the second story, told from the point of view of Leica, the Russian dog sent into space (where he proceeded to die a very painful death) had me feeling claustrophobic and short of breath. It was enough to make me put the book down for the duration of the flight. The rest of the collection doesn't reach that same level of visceral intensity, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Muslim's vision of the future is alternately terrify I started this book right before I was about to get on a plane, and the second story, told from the point of view of Leica, the Russian dog sent into space (where he proceeded to die a very painful death) had me feeling claustrophobic and short of breath. It was enough to make me put the book down for the duration of the flight. The rest of the collection doesn't reach that same level of visceral intensity, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Muslim's vision of the future is alternately terrifying, enigmatic, and strangely sedate. The linked story collection really only offers glimpses into this world, and I would have certainly liked to see more, but what is there, it's pretty awesome.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This is a dark and foreboding book filled with plagues, fake celery, the interrogation of children, wire mothers and an Empty that disappears you. The stories were the perfect size to digest one at time-- which is how I read this book-- riding the train to work one dystopia at a time. The book is also beautifully designed making use of old photos and images which provide an additional creepy context. I'm definitely going to pass it on to my 9-yr-old son and see what he thinks about it. This is a dark and foreboding book filled with plagues, fake celery, the interrogation of children, wire mothers and an Empty that disappears you. The stories were the perfect size to digest one at time-- which is how I read this book-- riding the train to work one dystopia at a time. The book is also beautifully designed making use of old photos and images which provide an additional creepy context. I'm definitely going to pass it on to my 9-yr-old son and see what he thinks about it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    James

    My favorite story in this collection was "The Wire Mother," which is told from the perspective of one of Harry Harlow's wire mother contraptions. I also enjoyed "Jude and the Moonman," "Dominic & Dominic," and "The Quarantine Tank." My favorite story in this collection was "The Wire Mother," which is told from the perspective of one of Harry Harlow's wire mother contraptions. I also enjoyed "Jude and the Moonman," "Dominic & Dominic," and "The Quarantine Tank."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lucas Ilievskie

    2.75 The premise of the stories held a lot of promise, but the abbreviated length and the rather surface-level exploration of these profound sci-if/horror/dystopian themes ultimately rendered the collection forgettable. However, there were a number of stories that I thought were compelling enough: The Playground, Jude and the Moonman, Zombie Sister, and The First Ocean. In short, a decent if not a little underwhelming entry into the modern weird genre.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Zak

    The writing was really rather good and the story themes were generally weird (which I like) but somehow the stories themselves didn't really feel satisfying and were mostly rather forgettable, at least to me. I went into this collection with high hopes, which ended up somewhat ungratified. The writing was really rather good and the story themes were generally weird (which I like) but somehow the stories themselves didn't really feel satisfying and were mostly rather forgettable, at least to me. I went into this collection with high hopes, which ended up somewhat ungratified.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Some of the best slipstream short stories I've read, on the same level as the best of Kelly Link, Dark and strange stories in a beautiful book with illustrations. Fun and unsettling (in the best way). Some of the best slipstream short stories I've read, on the same level as the best of Kelly Link, Dark and strange stories in a beautiful book with illustrations. Fun and unsettling (in the best way).

  11. 4 out of 5

    jade mark capiñanes

    In “A Note on the Places in this Book,” a sort of foreword to this collection of speculative short stories, Kristine Ong Muslim writes that “certain places recur through the stories in this book.” There’s a place named Bardenstan, another’s named Outerbridge, and there’s also a Station Tower, at whose ground floor you’ll find a time loop. “All these places are familiar,” she writes on, “and you may have been in some of them—or all of them. And if they don’t seem familiar, it is likely you aren’t In “A Note on the Places in this Book,” a sort of foreword to this collection of speculative short stories, Kristine Ong Muslim writes that “certain places recur through the stories in this book.” There’s a place named Bardenstan, another’s named Outerbridge, and there’s also a Station Tower, at whose ground floor you’ll find a time loop. “All these places are familiar,” she writes on, “and you may have been in some of them—or all of them. And if they don’t seem familiar, it is likely you aren’t paying much attention.” The stories in this collection have happened, may happen, and will happen anywhere. In this world a ghost may just strike up a conversation with you. In “The Ghost of Laika Encounters a Satellite” the ghost of Laika, the first animal to orbit the earth, talks to you about not only the time she slowly died inside Sputnik 2, but also—and more importantly—about the earlier time she was “in the backseat of a car with people who appear to be [her] keepers, the woman in the front seat and the small child giggling beside [her].” In this world you may find another you. In “Dominic & Dominic,” which is my favorite story in this collection, the six-year-old Dominic discovers that from his trimmed fingernails, which he’s buried in their backyard, another Dominic is growing. In this world, as revealed in “The Playground,” playgrounds may be haunted. Seesaws may move on their own. After playing there children may unwittingly bring home something, like “an unseen tiny hand [that] switches the television to the cartoon channel.” In this world a mysterious disease called “Empty” may just eat you silently, little by little, until you’re no more. And that’s why the title of the short story that tells of this phenomenon is “There’s No Relief as Wondrous as Seeing Yourself Intact.” In this world, when you try to save someone from falling off a cliff, you will fall off the cliff first. Vultures will swoop down and peck away at your dead body, heralding “the long, long age of blight.” And that, according to this book, is “The History of the World.”

  12. 5 out of 5

    Des Lewis

    DOMINIC & DOMINIC “What’s dead stays dead.” We now have Dominic, a six year old boy who one day transcended this book’s autonomous hands and planted his cut fingernails in the ground and later told his too busy “Mother” of an “Other” gradually growing from them. Until this Other became another him. Chewed down to the cuticle self. Leaving a Doppelgänger or Drogulus called Dominic. All of us hard ungulates at heart made to soften our horns by recognising what this powerful fable tells us. Brings de DOMINIC & DOMINIC “What’s dead stays dead.” We now have Dominic, a six year old boy who one day transcended this book’s autonomous hands and planted his cut fingernails in the ground and later told his too busy “Mother” of an “Other” gradually growing from them. Until this Other became another him. Chewed down to the cuticle self. Leaving a Doppelgänger or Drogulus called Dominic. All of us hard ungulates at heart made to soften our horns by recognising what this powerful fable tells us. Brings deadpan to new levels. The detailed review of this book posted elsewhere under my name is too long or impractical to post here. Above is one of my observations at the time of the review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Alexis

    This is a book you can't just breeze through or take for light reading. Let it chew and swallow you slowly, let it gnaw at your conscience and consciousness. Listen to the thuds, the scratching, the yapping, the boiling as temperatures rise and everything turns a blinding white. I found myself stopping midway multiple times, taking deep breaths, repeating passages and replaying the absurd and peculiar images in my mind. I enjoyed Age of Blight so much it's going into my list of books one can and This is a book you can't just breeze through or take for light reading. Let it chew and swallow you slowly, let it gnaw at your conscience and consciousness. Listen to the thuds, the scratching, the yapping, the boiling as temperatures rise and everything turns a blinding white. I found myself stopping midway multiple times, taking deep breaths, repeating passages and replaying the absurd and peculiar images in my mind. I enjoyed Age of Blight so much it's going into my list of books one can and will never forget it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    James

    A collection of dark short stories that will haunt long after the reader puts the book down. In just over a hundred pages, Muslim gives us several stories. I was reminded of writers like Kelly Link and Aimee Bender, whose sparse prose gives the often surreal and disturbing settings and action more power. But in some ways, Muslim's stories are even darker and play on some of our most primal fears. Recommended. A collection of dark short stories that will haunt long after the reader puts the book down. In just over a hundred pages, Muslim gives us several stories. I was reminded of writers like Kelly Link and Aimee Bender, whose sparse prose gives the often surreal and disturbing settings and action more power. But in some ways, Muslim's stories are even darker and play on some of our most primal fears. Recommended.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Marlena

    This book is full of really weird stories. Good weird, in a way that makes the images and events that happen in "Age of Blight" infiltrate your dreams. The way the past and future intertwine in these stories is confusing and exciting. Kristine Ong Muslim has quite an active imagination -- or are these all true stories? This book is full of really weird stories. Good weird, in a way that makes the images and events that happen in "Age of Blight" infiltrate your dreams. The way the past and future intertwine in these stories is confusing and exciting. Kristine Ong Muslim has quite an active imagination -- or are these all true stories?

  16. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Brundin

    I read about 2/3 of the book and quit. Some of the short stories were clever but others fell flat. In the end, I'd rather find another book that engages me more. I read about 2/3 of the book and quit. Some of the short stories were clever but others fell flat. In the end, I'd rather find another book that engages me more.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Eliza

    3.5

  18. 4 out of 5

    Philisiwe Twijnstra

    So weird and so satisfying

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Raymond

    Wow, this book. A collection of (very) short weird stories, I think my only complaint about it is the overall length, as the collection is only a hair over 100 pages. But within those hundred pages you get great stories about clones, about sea monsters (and the discovery therein), apocalyptic diseases, and so on. Why is this so great, though? I think there's a reasonable comparison to Kelly Link here, but where Link keeps her tongue firmly in cheek throughout, Kristine Ong Muslim succeeds in perfe Wow, this book. A collection of (very) short weird stories, I think my only complaint about it is the overall length, as the collection is only a hair over 100 pages. But within those hundred pages you get great stories about clones, about sea monsters (and the discovery therein), apocalyptic diseases, and so on. Why is this so great, though? I think there's a reasonable comparison to Kelly Link here, but where Link keeps her tongue firmly in cheek throughout, Kristine Ong Muslim succeeds in perfectly balancing her stories on the line between disturbing and ridiculous. There's enough of the awkward, gross, and strange here to satiate the hunger for strange stories, but it's hard not to giggle at the kid who used to use his tentacle to swing from the bannisters in his house, too. Overall, I don't know how well known this book is or how easy it is to get it, but if you like weird short stories, you need to get your hands on it. Such a great surprise.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Leif

    Ong Muslim fingers the edge of rot; she works at the dead skin raised above the flesh, probing at the abcessed wound underneath, looks up and, without blinking, sees the world itself in the same devastated malaise. These are stories that circle their ends: where the dead become undead only to stare, unblinkingly, at children who do not see them; where bodies grow from human cast-off biological debris to take the place of the humans that birthed them. These are stories about the edges of ecologic Ong Muslim fingers the edge of rot; she works at the dead skin raised above the flesh, probing at the abcessed wound underneath, looks up and, without blinking, sees the world itself in the same devastated malaise. These are stories that circle their ends: where the dead become undead only to stare, unblinkingly, at children who do not see them; where bodies grow from human cast-off biological debris to take the place of the humans that birthed them. These are stories about the edges of ecological, world-disaster, where the world ends and we see it happening not as spectacle but as unyielding, sickening, sickened real. And inside the human body there are changes too: tentacles, hunger for violence, pain of observation, the inhuman cruelty that accompanies our every living breath. These are stories of pain and heartdeath, but told without melodrama, without remorse – with, instead, a keen and probing gaze. Think about the ones who cannot be saved. Think about the ones who cannot adjust to being different. Think about all our stories and those of the ones before us. This terrible unfolding does not always see a blunt object take shape. Sometimes, it distorts the object and the landscape that conspires to retain its shape. (77) Ong Muslim tells the apocalypse the way the 99% will see it: a violent break between one sickness and the next, one death becomes another wound.

  21. 5 out of 5

    John Rey Dave

    A boy grows a doppelgänger in his backyard, a feeding machine laments the torture of her children, a boy murders another boy he considers different and abnormal, a pet exchanges bodies with his owner. Many of the stories in this collection deal with the human and animal body, with corporeality, and the inevitability of death and decay. The stories paint a dark, hope-less world, with not one ray of light anywhere, not even in the later stories (maybe “First Ocean,” but it’s still a hope-less stor A boy grows a doppelgänger in his backyard, a feeding machine laments the torture of her children, a boy murders another boy he considers different and abnormal, a pet exchanges bodies with his owner. Many of the stories in this collection deal with the human and animal body, with corporeality, and the inevitability of death and decay. The stories paint a dark, hope-less world, with not one ray of light anywhere, not even in the later stories (maybe “First Ocean,” but it’s still a hope-less story) A really good read. My main takeaway is how the stories added to my notions on the ability of the speculative mode to paint/point at the ugly images of decay, of human and environmental abuse, and of children’s presumed/perceived but vulnerable and malleable innocence, shaped by adults, of course.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Natalye

    This book was unsettling and creepy, kind of like a "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" for adults. I went in blind, so I didn't know what to expect, and already in the first story I could tell I was going to be in for a ride. So why the two stars? Well, I didn't hate it. In fact, I liked the way Muslim messed with the reader's mind a bit. But I also found it a bit too... macabre? for my taste. Just not my cup of tea. And I also found myself a bit bored, maybe because the stories were so short t This book was unsettling and creepy, kind of like a "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" for adults. I went in blind, so I didn't know what to expect, and already in the first story I could tell I was going to be in for a ride. So why the two stars? Well, I didn't hate it. In fact, I liked the way Muslim messed with the reader's mind a bit. But I also found it a bit too... macabre? for my taste. Just not my cup of tea. And I also found myself a bit bored, maybe because the stories were so short that I couldn't get involved/invested in it before it was over. All that said, I know it's a book a lot of people really enjoyed, and I know plenty of people who would also probably like it. It just wasn't for me.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    The year is 2115 and some kind of cataclysmic event has devastated the planet, triggering a wave of extinction events that the population more or less takes in stride. Yet life in the suburb known as Bardenstan and in nearby Outerbridge, “the only part of America where plants are still grown in soil,” life goes on with some semblance of normalcy. Children attend school. Parents got to work. Families gather together for dinner and chew fake celery. But in Muslim’s world the dead return to life wi The year is 2115 and some kind of cataclysmic event has devastated the planet, triggering a wave of extinction events that the population more or less takes in stride. Yet life in the suburb known as Bardenstan and in nearby Outerbridge, “the only part of America where plants are still grown in soil,” life goes on with some semblance of normalcy. Children attend school. Parents got to work. Families gather together for dinner and chew fake celery. But in Muslim’s world the dead return to life with terrifying regularity, families adopt two-legged pets they torture and train, and people fall prey to a terrifying disappearing disease known as The Empty. Terrifying glimpses of our dystopian future.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jerrod

    Beautiful and yet horrifying fables that play at the boundary of real and unreal. Muslim patches together many of these fragments and stories from the scraps of fact from our own world but heightens their garishness and the terror of witnessing them lucidly. Extremely unsettling and morally complex, with an extremely effective prose style that is clinical and understated, allowing character and action to speak for themselves. What is fantasy, if we live with so many lies?

  25. 5 out of 5

    s

    I'm still reeling from the amazing writing so a proper review will come soon but ooh boy DO I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS I'm still reeling from the amazing writing so a proper review will come soon but ooh boy DO I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    Disturbingly dark stories that reel you in through Muslim's well written prose. Disturbingly dark stories that reel you in through Muslim's well written prose.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    weird, speculative, but not overly horror influenced short stories. interesting

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tobias

    Nicely unsettling stories right here. (Disclaimer: we published one of them in Vol.1 Brooklyn in 2014, so I may not be entirely objective.)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ron Burch

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brittany Farrell

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.