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Alien Autopsy

Alien Autopsy - Pedro Ponce In its 55 pages, this little chapbook collects 18 of Ponce's stories—or maybe "sketches" is a better word. Some of them don't quite have all the requisite elements of a story—character, event, POV. So 18 takes, then, 18 versions of reality, or something just slightly shifted from reality. What if you really had uttered that bizarre thought that entered your head at that party ("Alien Autopsy")? What if horoscopes were true ("Secrets of the Stars")? What if someone took a typo literally ("Secret Satan")? These odd little pieces belong somewhere in the neighborhood of Mark Leyner, George Saunders, Ben Marcus; I'm sure there are closer analogues, but those are the ones to hand for me.Some have strong voices and would probably work great in a spoken-word event; I think of "Idyll," which begins "I woke to skies the blue of science fiction prologues, just before the emergence of invading ships" and continues with a series of other moments of deceptive calm. Others are more subtle, relying on a twist of perspective inside a character, rather than in the language itself; even when I don't quite get what happened, I enjoyed the ride. Partly, I'm sure, because it was quick and there's another one about to start on the next page.It's not clear how anyone else will ever discover these stories. Powell's sells the book, but the publisher's website seems to have disappeared. Maybe they don't even really exist.