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“Claude Lalumière’s stories are dark, mordant, precisely formed. His first collection is extraordinarily accomplished in its craft and subversive intent.” —Lucius Shepard
“These stories are terrifically creepy. And not unlike Edgar Allan Poe or Potted Meat Product, they gave me the willies.” —Christopher Moore
“This finely crafted, stylishly dark collection is a vitrine of objets and curios, a specimen cabinet of elegant bizarrerie. I recommend it to all connoisseurs of lyricism and things passing strange.” —Richard Calder
“You hear about kids locked away in attics, their only toys broken clothespins, a few pipe cleaners, a spool of yarn. Yet with these toys, they manage to concoct imaginary worlds of great wonder and beauty. Claude must have grown up in an attic because he writes like one of those kids.” —Neil Smith
“Claude Lalumière's extravagant imagination is matched by only two other qualities: his compassion for his characters, and his sparkling facility with language.” —Paul Di Filippo
“Disturbing and funny, sexy and psychedelic, this collection marks the debut of a highly original voice in fantastic fiction.” —Jan Lars Jensen
“Claude Lalumière's stories are delicious.” —Anna Tambour+++
Objects of Worship Claude Lalumière. ChiZine (LPG of Canada, dist.), $18.95 paper (276p) ISBN 978-0-9812978-2-8
The strange is matter-of-factly mundane in Canadian author and editor Lalumière's collection of 10 reprinted and two original stories of the surreal and fantastic. Deities and spiritual grace are both unfathomably alien and somehow less than you might expect when Lucifer makes a deal with the phone company (“A Place Where Nothing Ever Happens”) and likewise in the title story, where keeping your gods satisfied is like caring for extra-finicky but disturbingly powerful cats. Lalumière's love of comic book heroes informs the antics of “Hochelaga and Sons,” “Spiderkid” and “Destroyer of Worlds,” and the daily lives of zombies set the stage for the blackly comedic “The Ethical Treatment of Meat” and “A Visit to the Optometrist.” Even when the plots aren't quite enough to carry Lalumière's curious ideas, they're still intensely memorable. (Nov.)
—Publisher's Weekly (September 21, 2009)+++
Objects of Worship Claude Lalumière ChiZine Publications 280 pp $18.95
Objects of Worship, author Claude Lalumière’s first collection of short stories featuring elements of the fantastic, is an odd duckling.
As much as one may argue that the bulk of these stories are merely genre-driven, the nuanced mood and sparse word choice the author uses suggest way more than just monsters in the night or spaceship battles that take place on far-away planets.
Lalumière’s trick is to make the fantastic appear mundane (such as the gay zombie couple who adopt a wayward living boy in “The Ethical Treatment of Meat”) and then to amplify what one may consider mundane to fantastical proportions. The author manages to push away some of the more classical, space opera elements of science fiction in order to focus on the issue at hand, be it adoption or the intensely private nature of relationships.
“The best science fiction, I think, is about transgression,” explained Lalumière. “And for me, that’s what all art should be like. There’s a status quo and it needs to be questioned. Good or bad, that’s not the issue. The issue is that we keep having to ask ourselves questions.
“To me, what science fiction and fantasy can do way better than any other kind of fiction is push those boundaries,” said Lalumière. “You can postulate some scenarios that will extrapolate upon one aspect of what’s happening in society and just really push that to its logical extreme and see what the consequences are.”
The characters Lalumière creates run the gamut from ultra-conservative Orthodox Jews to a “black, omni-sexual mom.” A major aspect of the collection is the variety of sexual orientations and interests of its characters.
“[A lot of people think that] automatically, if the story has queer characters, then the story has to be about queer identity and I steer away from that,” he said.
Lalumière talks about using science fiction to create empathetic figures instead of merely shaping characters based upon our own super-inflated egos.
“One of the things I abhor the most about writing is writers who use transparent doppelgangers of themselves as protagonists,” he said.
“I think that’s lazy writing and I think that, when I write, what really drives me is what I call a leap of empathy. It’s important for me to be able to picture the world from someone else’s point of view, and if I don’t do that, then what’s the point? And then it’s just masturbation, and that should stay private.”
Lalumière’s prose, in certain instances, owes much to the vivid art of 1960s comic book pioneers Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, a fact that he readily acknowledges.
“People like Kirby and Ditko, what I find appealing about them is the fact that they can tell stories in a way that no one else can,” he said. “They try to create a world, a mood. I try to create an atmosphere that, in every story, will be unique and create an atmosphere [where] you feel you are being told a story that no one else could have told you.”
The collection is certainly an inventive take on an often tired genre, which raises and leaves open many questions about the issues we as a society need to collectively discuss.
—The Link Newspaper
Claude Lalumière is the author of the story collection OBJECTS OF WORSHIP and the chapbook THE WORLD'S FORGOTTEN BOY AND THE SCORPIONS FROM HELL. In addition to this, he has edited eight anthologies, including the Aurora Award finalist TESSERACTS TWELVE: NEW NOVELLAS OF CANADIAN FANTASTIC FICTION. He has published hundreds of articles and reviews, and he's the Fantastic Fiction columnist for THE MONTREAL GAZETTE. With Rupert Bottenberg, Claude is the cocreator of the Lost Myths website: a playful medley of cryptomythological fiction, pantheons, bestiaries, comics, art, games, readings, performances, and more.