NEW STORY: "Biopsy Doppelganger", by S. Craig Renfroe
"Son of Adam," roars the great lion Aslan, "Daughter of Eve!" But why only sons of Adam? Why only daughters of Eve? Why must we accept the curse of Cain endemic to traditional reproductive and birthing practices? Why not avoid original sin by straight-up avoiding the process by which, so the Baptists say, original sin is transmitted from generation to generation?

In "Biopsy Doppelganger," S. Craig Renfroe presents a new kind of being: a creature born not of man and woman, but of science. The unnaturally created being is a classic trope from Frankenstein on up, one which troubles our sense of self, which makes us all-too-aware of the thin line separating our miraculous living bodies from total nonfunction and disaster, and which motivates any number of cliche "evil twin" pieces.

"Biopsy Doppelganger" is not a cliche "evil twin" piece. I don't know what it is. It's great is what it is. "Biopsy Doppelganger" starts off with one set of storytelling rules and ends up with a completely different set of storytelling rules. It is a "tale that grows in the telling," much like the horrible, lovable cyst at the heart of the piece. I like that Renfroe takes a story that should be a one-note joke—guy has a horrible cyst that comes alive; hilarious—and he takes that joke and runs with it in an entirely unexpected direction.

"Biopsy Doppelganger" is also very funny, and features references to both the lonely death-by-bandits of Ambrose Bierce and to early Jackson Five material. The audio recording features vocal distortion effects far beyond mortal ken. Arm-in-arm with Harlan Ellison's "Shatterday" and John Fowora's Pteromyini, Renfroe's excellent story teaches us a welcome lesson: learn to get along with people in your life, or science and surgery will solve your problems for you. And just as it is not ideal to let your mom clean your room for you, you won't like how science and surgery solve your problems.

Posted by future on Wed, 03 Jun 2009 01:20:51 -0400 -- permanent link

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