Chris Kelso's Terence, Mephisto, and Viscera Eyes is a dark, disturbing, dystopian romp through one of the most troubling and creative imaginations I've been lucky enough to come across. While reading Kelso's short story collection, I was both intimidated by the intelligence and depth of the work, and at the same time repulsed by the bowels of this nightmare universe called The Slave State-- a place where cities of yuppies, rape gangs, and the Black Dog depression virus pulse together in sheer, destructive anarchy.
The first short, "The Family Man," is just a small glimpse of the sick, deranged lunacy you are in for. It left me astonished and curious to proceed.
"Terence, Mephisto & Viscera Eyes" has to be my favorite, or at least one of my favorites. I don't tend to get into stories where the narrator is an animal, but this dog's voice is just a treat to read. And the dog's an aspiring writer, no less, so I could relate. This story offers a statement on the publishing industry today that leaves me sad, and also giggling: "Are you a struggling writer treading the line between manic depression and abject poverty? Mephisto Publishing has provided exemplary service to authors from all across the Slave State. Frustrated? feeling emotionally raped by the industry? If you haven't been published, chances are people just don't 'get' you and the fat-cat publishing houses are too damn scared to put your work out there." The story only gets better and darker from there.
"The Statement of Tom Tryout" leaves you frightened and emotionally scarred, but the best part is that it leaves you with true emotions. That's what Kelso is so good at -- affecting the reader. This is the story that really brought on memories of Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Palahniuk, and Anthony Burgess. This is a story I truly feared.
"Another Uninspired, Poorly-Written Metaphor for Something No One Care About, Okay..." It's exactly what it sounds like. A very short, abstract snippet of something that leaves me thinking. I'm scratching my head here, but I like the brain exercise. I like trying to figure out what this one's about.
"Baptizm of Fire." Obi's story is one of the longest, and carries with it the most substance, in my opinion. This is what makes me want to read a novel by the deranged and depraved Kelso -- and I mean those adjectives in the kindest and most endearing sense.
Not only does Kelso write brilliantly, he also heads up two publications, both of which are accepting submissions. There is Welcome to the Slave State, which encompasses fiction taking place in any of the 5 main cities of The Slave State; and The Imperial Youth Review, published both online and in print, and happens to feature my latest short story this month.
Check out Kelso's Amazon Page to get a hold of Terence, Mephisto, and Viscera Eyes, and other works written and/or edited by Chris Kelso.