Turmoil churns all over our world. Maybe what we need are some new myths to inspire us, and provide some insight as we struggle with an weak economy, political polarization, war, crime, and madness that travels like viruses through new means of communications. A good source for such myths is Claude Laumière's Objects of Worship – a story collection that for me brought back the same feelings that I had when reading the collections of Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison.
Claude is a regular mythomaniac. He takes not only mythologies of the past, but the pop cultures of recent decades, and weaves them into something new, wonderful, dazzling. Gods and monsters frolic with superheroes and zombies in poetic, surrealistic worlds. And it's not the sort of slapdash, cut-and-paste mashup stuff we see too much of in this age of YouTube – these stories and myths are full of life and energy. They don't just sit dead on the slab.
For example, I am not a fan of the big zombie fad. Yeah, I thought the original Night of the Living Dead movie was an interesting addition to the horror genre back in the Sixties, but then all those sequels and ripoffs leave me cold: walking corpses chasing people and eating them, allowing a nerdy contempt for humanity to run wild with gooey but guilt-free violence – seen it all before . . . ho-hum. Yet, there are two stories in Objects of Worship that had me delighting in the antics of the walking dead.
Granted, Claude's aren't your usual off-the-rack zombies. They live in a world where humans are bred for food. I didn't realize that “The Ethical Treatment of Meat” was about zombies as first. By the time I figured it out, it was too late. They had won me over, and I was delighted to read more about them in “A Visit to the Optometrist.” These zombies are worthy of Charles Addams and Luis Buñuel, and could be made into the most perverted sitcom ever. Meanwhile, I hope to see more stories about them.
Superheroes are also given a fresh treatment without the crass commercialism and adolescent “coolness” they have acquired in the last decade, turning it inside out and creating mythomanical wonders in “Hochelaga and Sons,” “Spiderkid,” and “Destroyer of Worlds.” Producers of comic books and graphics should take note: This is how it should be done. And with the illustrations of Rupet Bottenberg, we're half-way there.
There are also horror and apocalyptic tales, my favorites being “Roman Predator's Chimeric Odyssey,” with a world of werewolves, and “This is the Ice Age,” which is a vision worthy of J.G. Ballard.
So buy Objects of Worship in either softcover or ebook form, tell all your friends, I want to see more Claude Lalumière collections!
Meanwhile, I'll just have to keep checking in at his Lost Myths website.