Only a certain kind of writer can imagine genetically modified pandas munching on lawn furniture. But shooting the poor cuddly things in the face requires a whole other level of brilliance. Paul Meloy’s stunning collection of short stories, Islington Crocodiles, originally by TTA Press, now reprinted by Bad Moon Books, collects several short stories that have appeared over the years in British mags like The Third Alternative and Interzone, plus a few that are new to this collection.
Meloy’s stories are often set in dreamscapes–not pleasant, idyllic fields of dream, but bomb-blasted wastelands and rundown seaside towns filled with menacing childhood toys, dreams of broken bones and rusting innards. This decaying dream-reality often bursts into our world, in flickers caught out of the corner of the eye or glimpsed beneath a carnival tent, but unlike many stories the intrusions here are never vanquished at the end. For Meloy, the monsters under the bed are the status quo. The reality of these dreamscapes is made manifest by the many inhabitants that can exist in both worlds: the Firmament Surgeons, Paladins, Autoscopes, a Jungian constabulary doling out the barest bits of solace in the world, allowing quick flashes of sunlight in the darkness.