Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Prozess Manifestations

The Prozess Manifestations (2018) is Mark Samuels' new collection of six stories, all but one of which is explicitly connected by some mention of an offstage character named Doctor Prozess, who is involved in some way with some very odd and dark happenings. 

Most of the stories are quite engaging, save for the final tale, "In the Complex," which I found rather diffuse.  The best tale, for me, was the longest, the novella "The Crimson Fog," in which a military rescue mission heads into an enlarging area covered by a mysterious and deadly crimson fog. The idea is reminiscent of some aspects of the Tarkovsky film Stalker (1979)--which was clearly also the inspiration for Jeff VanderMeer's irritatingly context-less novel Annihilation (2014), bettered in its recent film adaptation. Yet whether Samuels' novella descends from Tarkovsky or VanderMeer I cannot guess. Samuels' novella is certainly much more interesting than VanderMeer's novel, and one wishes it went on a lot longer.

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