Review: ‘Pinball Drugs Aliens Satan’ by Fiada Fey

Pinball Drugs Aliens Satan by Fiada Fey
Furtive Labors (October 2015)

36 pages, $4.00 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Fiada Fey (1980-2008) was a St. Paul-based novelist, short story writer and cut-up artist. His prose, while lacking in craft, shows a lot of passion for the bizarre horror genre. Pinball Drugs Aliens Satan is his posthumous collection.

Readers will immediately feel Fey’s desire as a writer. His collection of stories speaks to an author passionate about the tales he has to tell, and readers will be able to empathize with that urge. Fey clearly had a vision for his art, and used cut-up techniques to attempt to bring that vision to life. Pinball Drugs Aliens Satan speaks of notebooks filled with stories and story ideas, and as a posthumous collection, leaves the reader wishing that Fey had had the time and skill to carry them out.

However, readers will struggle through Fey’s amateur prose. What he had in passion he lacked in skill. The stories in this collection read like poorly crafted high school-level fictions. The prose is dense and adjective-heavy, and is littered with the worst of horror clichés. Very few, if any, of them seem to have gone through an editorial process, and seem to read as scattered rough drafts as opposed to complete, polished works.

Furthermore, there is a plethora of incomplete work in this collection. Roughly half of the collection is not complete stories, but simply one or two sentence story ideas culled from Fey’s notebooks. These ideas, while occasionally interesting premises, often fall into the category of juvenile or cliché plots. As they are not even complete stories, but merely plot ideas, it is difficult to see them as part of the collection as whole.

Overall, Fiada Fey’s Pinball Drugs Aliens Satan reads as a cultural document. Fey was apparently part of the St. Paul literary and artistic underground, and folks familiar with his work may find this collection appealing or interesting. A general audience, on the other hand, will read this collection as unpolished and unfulfilling, and probably not worth pursuing as a horror collection.

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