To celebrate Killercon Austin's inaugural Splatterpunk Awards, Women Write About Comics online journal reviewed all the finalists works in each category, included my story collection The Garden of Delight (Comet Press, 2017), nominated for 'Best Collection' category. Here's the review:
Summarising the plots of the stories in this collection seems pointless. The title story is about a couple looking for the ghost of their dead child in a post-apocalyptic world. “The Man Who Ate Flowers” is a cannibal killer’s life story. “By the Sea” is about a murderer trawling the streets of Rome in search of transgender sex workers. And “Regnum Congo” is a sexed-up reworking of Lovecraft’s “The Picture in the House.” But none of these descriptions really captures how Alessandro Manzetti’s fiction works.
The Garden of Delight’s stories are written dreams, where narrative logic inevitably gives way to surreal transformation, as when the reader is confronted with such scene-setting descriptions as this: “Ghosts of tits, dicks, electric necklaces, and portable pussies walk on Molle Bridge, illuminating the motionless marble archangels of the old Rome with severed wings.”
Behind this hallucinatory prose, Manzetti mixes splatter with punk in equal measure. He explores the cracks in society: a twilight world of depraved criminals, victims of oppression, and a philosophy where sex, violence, and religion are irretrievably tangled. He also blurs together elements of various speculative genres to create his dark dreamscapes, allowing the surreal symbolism of magical realism, the city-dwelling beasts of urban fantasy and the alluring technology of cyberpunk to each play their part.
One of the best examples of this genre-mixing is “The Massacre of the Mermaids.” This story takes place in a dystopian Rome where a “She-Pope” reigns supreme with transgender amazons providing muscle. Unfortunate women are surgically transformed into mermaids, which are used as prey in gladiatorial combat, and gathered spectators munch on meatballs made from the women’s detached legs. Some of the motifs in this story are familiar from horror (such as cannibalism), while others are more idiosyncratic (such as the casting of transgender women as weird futuristic priestesses, an idea that turns up repeatedly in the book.) Fragments of various post-apocalyptic sci-fi epics fade in and out of each other like memories of a dream, with a dream-logic treatment of gender politics running through the middle.
The book’s tone is consistent across its twenty stories. Even tales that initially seem to be more grounded later slide into the same dreamlike prose: witness how “Long Hair’s Inferno,” which starts out as an apparently straightforward retelling of Custer’s last stand, comes up with lines like “the camp is on fire and jaguars, big and small, are frying blue men in pans.” The Garden of Delight sometimes seems less like a collection of short stories and more like one blurred-together narrative. The setting may change from the Crusades to the dystopian future of the She-Pope, but the surrounding world—along with the narrative voice—remains essentially the same.
The Garden of Delight is a heady volume, and some readers may find it a little overwhelming. But taken at the right pace, Manzetti’s prose is a fine example of the beauty that can be found in the grotesque.
Ellen Datlow's The Best Horror of the Year Volume 12: Honorable Mention to 'The Place of Broken Things'
My dark poetry collection THE PLACE OF BROKEN THINGS, written in collaboration wih Linda D. Addison, has won the 2019 Bram Stoker Awards.
My poetry collection WAR (Crystal Lake Publishing), written in collaboration with Marge Simon, has won the 2019 SFPA Elgin Award.
Ultime Uscite (ITA)
Disponibile sullo Store Independent Legions la graphic novel L'ORRORE A RED HOOK, da me sceneggiata, e illustrata da Stefano Cardoselli
Disponibile sullo Store Independent Legions la nuova edizione ampliata (Extended Edition) del breve romanzo KIKI THE BEGINNING,
Disponibile in libreria e su Amazon, per Cut Up Pubishing, il nuovo romanzo dark thriller IL CUSTODE DI CHERNOBYL
Disponibile sullo Store dell'editore e su Amazon (in digitale) la Graphic Novel CALCUTTA HORROR, tratta da un racconto di Poppy Z. Brite, scritta e sceneggiata da me, illustrata da Stefano Cardoselli.
Latest Releases (ENG)
For sale at Amazon my new short story collection in English THE RADIOACTIVE BRIDE (Necro Publications)
Buy your copy at Amazon
Released by Omnium Gatherum my new dark thriller/Sci-Fi novella in English THE KEEPER OF CHERNOBYL. The book is for sale at Amazon
Released by Crystal Lake Publishing my new dark poetry collection THE PLACE OF BROKEN THINGS, written in collaborations with Linda D. Addison. Available at Amazon
Opere in uscita preordinabili (ITA)
Preordinabile a prezzo speciale, sullo Store Independent Legions, il mio nuovo saggio HORROR GURU - Guida Essenziale alla Letteratura Moderna e Contemporanea (Luglio 2020)
Preordinabile sullo Store Independent Legions la graphic novel KIKI: SONAGACHI PULP, da me ideata e sceneggiata, in uscita a Luglio 2020.
Preordinabile sullo Store Independent Legions la mia nuova raccolta di poesie dark/horror RAPSODIA WHITECHAPEL, in uscita a Ottobre 2020
Preordinabile sullo Store Independent Legions la graphic novel KIND OF RED, in uscita a Ottobre 2020
Preordinabile sullo Store Independent Legions la mia novella VESSEL - TERRA SANTA PULP, in uscita a Dicembre 2020.
Preordinabile sullo Store Independent Legions la Graphic Novel L'ABITATORE DEL LAGO, in uscita a Dicembre 2020
Preordinabile sullo Store Independent Legions il romanzo NARAKA 2, sequel diretto di Naraka, in uscita nel 2021
Preordinabile sullo Store Independent Legions la raccolta di racconti SEXUS (In the Mirror) illustrata da Barbara Monacelli
Latest Reviews (in English)
NARAKA Bizzarre Video Review by B.L.U.R.B.
Ultime Recensioni (Italiano)
David Cowen interviewed Linda D. Addison and me, on Horror Writers Association Website, about our collab poetry collection The Place of Broken Things.
Pubblicazioni come Editor