In this third story collection from the author of The Age of Wire and String, American life and its pageant of small domestic dramas are complicated by regular terrorist attacks, quickly advancing technology, and other near-future developments that do nothing to alleviate human folly.
Marcus...returns with another work of his unique and unnerving brand of fiction. Each story in this darkly prescient new collection immerses readers in distorted but startlingly recognizable realities ... Marcus is a master of injecting bleak apocalyptic premises with absurd humor and light moments ... Marcus instills his fiction with a deep sense of unease, one that is both strikingly strange yet uncomfortably familiar.
Notes from the Fog, Ben Marcus’s new story collection, shows a persistent awareness of the violence involved in interpretation—of the difficulty of fully understanding something without in the process destroying it ... Notes from the Fog adopts a grimly low-tech vision of the future that mostly ignores machines and systems to work directly on bodies ... the wilder and more Swiftian the plots get, the more intimately the stories seem to evoke a lived reality ... Given the considerable range of these stories in tone and scope, it’s striking how neatly their concerns and techniques are prefigured by Marcus’s deceptively simple opening salvo ... This subject matter is a gift, a giant joke on the geopolitical import one’s home life can be felt to have, though perhaps it’s inevitable that not all...personal anecdotes can quite bear the weight this places on them.
...the author manages to instill both humor and heart in the bleakness he creates ... Above all, Marcus weaponizes language for maximum assault ... Throughout these stories, Marcus creates linguistic mash-ups that are dissonant, estranged and heartbreaking ... Marcus walks a fine line, at times, between the mainstream and the surreal ... Notes from the Fog is an intense, vividly written book, filled with nightmarish scenarios and leavened by wit. Few writers possess Marcus’s agility with language or his controlled flights of imagination.