Toxic Reality, Katherine Tomlinson mixes up, mashes up, and messes up genres, blending crime, sci-fi, fantasy and horror into a wonderfully varied collection.
From the quick and quirky AI story "The Singularity of Orlando T. Baker" to the funny and bizarre stripper tale "Gun Control," I really had no idea of what to expect when I pressed the page flip button. In an era where publishers are always striving for "consistency," this was refreshing. (Although I will say that few writers can pull of what she does here -- her ability to genre jump seems as natural as breathing... for many writers, myself included, it would be about as natural as hopscotching across five states.)
What is consistent is Tomlinson's unhinged imagination. Mermaids, trips to Mars, remixes of Shakespeare tales, prophetic killers -- they're all here. The other consistent aspect is her voices -- she writes with authority and originality. If she wrote a diner menu, I would read it.
But more than any of this shit, Toxic Reality is fun and thought-provoking. Highly recommended.