Review: “Slow and Long,” Brad Kelly

Pros: Surreal
Cons: Perhaps a bit too abstract in places
Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Slow and Long, by Brad Kelly, is a surreal trip inside the mind of a man named Chip. He’s a student of history, but he ends up a part of a program to send explorers into space. Unfortunately for him, none of the anticipated methods of exploration work as expected, and he ends up a victim of one of them. In order to make the extremely long trip, his body’s perception of time is altered so that “a day passed before Chip’s eyes and through his physiology in what felt like an hour.” He wasn’t supposed to return to Earth, wasn’t supposed to have to find a way to integrate his altered perception into a ‘normal’ life.

“The point was to never come back. … I’m not sure that I have.”

This is a short little novella, worth reading if you enjoy dense, unusual prose. The author has a strong voice and style that absorbed me quite readily. I read the story twice, and I expect others might as well–there are things toward the beginning that make more sense once you’ve read the story once. And stories worth reading multiple times are few and far between.

There are some little bits that I found a bit too surreal to understand readily, and I had difficulty understanding how Chip’s altered sense of time worked with everyday things (such as eating). Still, it’s a fascinating short story that I’m glad I stumbled across.

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