Man, I had so many stab wounds, it was crazy. There I was at the conference center, and I hadn’t even adequately prepared my presentation. And so begins “Bleeding Man and Wounded Deer,” one of the stories in this collection of literary short fiction from the pen of acclaimed Seattle novelist Ryan Boudinot. Bouncing among experimental fiction, absurdist farce, paranoid futurism, and stinging satirical and stinging satire, Boudinot’s comic, inventive prose lays bare the hopes and anxieties of our age.
From a heartbreaking and pitch-perfect account of the end of Bert and Ernie’s relationship, to a story about lovelorn robots looking for a “chop-shop owner who’s willing to look the other way” in a world where robot sex is illegal, to a Miyazaki-esque story about an entire town that shares the same heart, Boudinot’s prose crackles with acerbic wit. Also featuring: “Chopsticks” (named after the protaganist’s cat, who develops a hard drug problem); “An Essay and a Story about Mötley Crüe” (wish-fullfillment disguised as memoir); “I Used to Be a Plastic Bottle!”; and “The Guy Who Kept Meeting Himself.” A few of the 14 stories in this collection have appeared in McSweeney’s, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, The Best Bizarro Fiction of the Decade, and elsewhere, but most have never been collected until now.