Name: Salt Modern Stories Number: 5
Ambitious and playful, darkly humorous and imaginative, these strikingly original stories move effortlessly between the realistic and the fantastical, as their outsider characters explore what it’s like to be human in the twenty-first century. Whether about our relationship with the environment and animals, technology, social media, loneliness, or the enormity of time, they reflect the complexities of being alive. Beautifully written and compelling, you won’t read anything else like them.
‘‘As You Follow’ by Giselle Leeb is superficially fantastical, but at heart it’s an observation on growing up – on mourning the loss of one’s youth and its concomitant joie de vivre; on stepping out of oneself and seeing how one’s former indefatigability, has slowly withered.’ —Bookmunch
‘Ambitious, playful and imaginative, this piece has acted as a reminder that there are always new ways of looking at familiar things, always new things to find in old places. Its interesting approach to narrative is as flat and deep as a Hopper painting and does its subject justice indeed.’ —Rosie Sherwood, Zelda Chappel and Harry Denniston
‘When I read the first line of ‘Are you cold monkey? Are you cold?’ by Giselle Leeb (actually, even the strange repetitive title hooked me) I hoped that its dreamy oddity wouldn’t leak away into realism. And it didn’t. This is an uncanny piece of writing whose point of view shifts between the ‘girl in the puddle’ with ‘thoughts stacked on top of her’ to the monkey in the laboratory who is seeing the world for the first time, hearing words for the first time, learning to feel hurt, suffer cruelty, feel want.’ —Nicci Gerrard
‘‘Ape Songs’ is a story about a buried girl and a mechanical ape. My mother, who does not generally read SF but is a smart lady, was savvy enough to call it a mix of Ray Bradbury’s ‘All Summer in a Day’ and Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Lottery’. I thought it was one of the weirder and more challenging stories I received; every time I read it I get something different out of it, and I’ve read it a lot. I find it blackly hilarious, though not without hope.’ —Michael J. deLuca
‘In ‘Thin’ Giselle Leeb takes on the subject of body image. She approaches this from a completely unique angle, using SF to make a powerful point: What is normal, after all, and why do we have such a complicated relationship with food, eating and our bodies?’ —Ann VanderMeer