Leech Girl Lives, Rick Claypool (Spaceboy Books 978-0-9987120-7-9, $13.95, 322pp, tp) September 2017.
Art Inspector Margo Chicago (named in honor of boundary-pushing art creator Judy Chicago) is in a pickle. She’s trapped outside of the Bublinaplex, a geodesic dome city that protects its residents from the giant fungi and other unsavories that slither and ooze through the landscape. Outside is not a great place to be, if you are a human who enjoys living. And just as Margo escapes from one slimy calamity in the great outdoors, her arms are engulfed by two giant leeches who only want to protect their new host. Thus, Leech Girl is born.
What she doesn’t know, however, is how she wound up outside the dome. Last she can remember is that she was inspecting a piece of art, one that contained just about every hazard to life and limb she could imagine. Remediations need to be made – and a mystery or two (like what happened to Margo’s boyfriend Jasper) need to be untangled.
As you might guess, Leech Girl Lives by Rick Claypool is a deeply weird book and one that delights in its weirdness. It’s part old-school pulp and part new-school post-modernist playground. It’s all parts Rick Claypool, and the writer’s entertaining idiosyncrasies bounce off of the pages. For the most part, it hangs together even when it seems most determined to throw itself off of the narrative train, helped along by Claypool’s Margo, who seems fully realized and grounded. While there are some bumps in the pacing and lumps in the prose that could have been smoothed out by an editor with a firm hand, Leech Girl Lives is still great fun.
Adrienne Martini has been reading or writing about science fiction for decades and has had two non-fiction, non-genre books published by Simon and Schuster. She lives in Upstate New York with one husband, two kids, and one corgi. She also runs a lot.
This review and more like it in the August 2018 issue of Locus.
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