A “grow light” for humans that cooks a guy’s face. A pharmaceutical mist that puts you in the right mood for mourning the victims of terrorism. The year of All Hell Breaks Loose. The Year of the Sensor. Mudslides. Hurricanes. People who flee and people who stubbornly stay put. A terrible structure. A grand experiment. Creams and lotions that induce false prophecies. People who tumble into other people’s marriages after they’re dead. Every inch of the earth as a graveyard. More pharmaceuticals. Lives curated by drugs. The pills we swallow and the pills we reject. The way you never really know anybody.
That’s a quick trip through some of the images and ideas the writer Ben Marcus hits the reader with in Notes From the Fog, his latest collection of short stories. Reading them is like ingesting a powerful hallucinogen synthesized by a computer that’s digested a good chunk of the Internet. They feel the way life these days often feels, but with its skin peeled off.
Surprise conversation starter clips in this episode: