Review: “Wisteria Melancholy” by Michael T. Barker

2 of 5 stars.

The four levels of psychomorphism: Projection of self upon others; Perception of self; Perception of others; Projection of self upon self. A psychomorphic disorder occurs when any one of these levels becomes unstable.

Jason Fuller has a problem: when he gets sad, he doesn’t just feel as heavy as lead, he becomes as heavy as lead. Metaphors are made real in this tale of troubled characters. Sarah becomes unable to sense the presence of others. Eric bursts into dissipating smoke. The twins, Dave and Nate, become invisible.

Jason’s sister Jessica also started becoming invisible the moment she announced her pregnancy when only sixteen. Then their parents disowned her, leaving a substantial sum to just Jason which comes to fruition after a series of tragedies. Jason’s condition arose the moment his sister stepped back into his life, and promptly pushed him off a cliff . . .

The metaphoric nature of the story and conditions depicted [ie floating when happy] is heavy-handed. Unfortunately, it also overwhelms the actions and logic of the story.

The story is illustrated by artist contest winner Michelle Lockamy. As a quarterly short story contest winner, “Wisteria Melancholy” merited inclusion in the anthology Writers of the Future Volume 31 by L. Ron Hubbard. I received the anthology through Net Galley.
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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