Essay: Extremities, Kathe Koja, 1998.extremities

Extremities reprints 14 Koja stories and includes two original ones. The original publication dates of those reprints range from 1990 to 1996. There are no collaborations.

The stories range from high weirdness to non-fantastic ruminations on famous poets.

Arrangement for Invisible Voices” (Dark Voices, 1993) literalizes that anthology’s concept with Olson, a man who hears “not only the cries of the dying but the screams of the murdered” though here’s it’s not other humans. (An early indicator of Koja’s animal rights activism?) Olson first hears the voices at a pig roast:

… it soared through the talk like a scream through mutters, actually piercing, his ears felt bruised from the pressure, his auditory canal seemed to swell, what in God’s name is going on and on and then, rising an order of magnitude so there was no longer even the possibility of concealing its effect, he fell to his knees, buckling like punched, the singing scream no longer an expression of pain but pain itself and possessed at the same time of a beauty so eerie and fierce that while he pounded at his ears to stop the sound he was obscurely glad he could not …

The erotic and the weird are often linked in Koja’s fiction, especially The Cipher (though the appeal of the Funhole to Nakota isn’t necessarily an erotic one) and “Angels in Love” which is also in this collection. In this story, the link is definitely of a negative sort. Continue reading