Author: Mike Russell
No. of pages: 66
Genre: Science-Fiction, Short stories
Publication date: October 31st 2016
Date read: December 9th 2017
Strungballs is an extraordinary novella from Strange Books author Mike Russell. What are Strungballs? Ten-year-old Sydney is about to find out… but first he must have a cube of his flesh removed. Sydney will transgress everything he was taught to believe in when he embarks upon a journey that will reveal the astonishing secrets hidden by the red balls on white strings known only as… Strungballs. Inspiring, liberating, otherworldly, magical, surreal, bizarre, funny, disturbing, unique… all of these words have been used to describe the stories of Mike Russell. Remember: Once a Strungball is inserted it must never be removed.
Okay, how to put my thoughts on Strungballs into words … This definitely was a strange read, but I loved it! The writing is very factual, so it’s easy to get through. Yet, on the other hand, reading it is really not that simple. I often found myself (over)thinking and that may just be because of my Literature studies background – I’m taught to look for “more” in a story. And “more” can definitely be found in Strungballs, although I don’t quite know what that “more could be. I’d loved to have discussed this one in uni!
In my view, this book is about brainwash-like surroundings. The people, who act like robots, only know what they’ve been told since they were little and they don’t ever question that. They seem to live quite a happy life inside the torus shaped city, that’s surrounded by an infinite wall of human flesh. The removed cubes of flesh (from the blurb) are used for building and keeping this wall in good condition – in fact: this wall is the only thing that protects them from the “Others”, yet no-one seems to know who these “Others” are …
Sydney is the only one, besides Albert, who begins to question the well-loved strungballs. The people need them to keep alive – or so it seems. Sydney’s actions lead to destructive, or maybe enlightening?, events for the city which involve a forest of blood vessels, giant inside-out humans who eventually have sex, and a giant baby. Yep, like I said: this book was definitely strange.
Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to reading more stories by Mike Russell!
* I received an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review, thank you! *