Short Story Review: “Hideous Interview with Brief Man” by Nick Mamatas

2 of 5 stars.

As a variant on traditional story-telling, like “found footage” movies and diary-entry tales, Mamatas presents an “interview”–albeit one-sided thereby obscuring the questions and their context. The answers, while rambling, or in the words of the interviewee-narrator, loquacious, do maddeningly little to set the scene or plot let alone earn the rank of hideous.

The footnoted interview answers carom from the meaning of the word “laconic” to historical Sparta to cultural aspects of the Midwestern US. Some of the disjointed philosophizing and history-teaching proves filled with fun facts, such as the difference between polylingualism and multilingualism, and the recap on ideolects, pidgins and creoles straight from the undergraduate Linguistics textbooks. However, it does little to contextualize the speaker.

The philosophy draws closer to meta-commentary as it considers the practices of Lovecraft and the implications of a secondary author writing about the characters of a primary author as if the fictionalized events and peoples were true. In particular, Lovecraft is praised for once not describing a horrible situation and allowing the imagination of the reader to do the heavy lifting. Perhaps, this is the permission the piece needs to not describe what exactly makes it hideous.

This tale appears in Whispers from the Abyss edited by Kat Rocha. I received this new anthology directly from 01 Publishing through
[Check out my other reviews here.]

3 responses to “Short Story Review: “Hideous Interview with Brief Man” by Nick Mamatas

  1. Dude. You didn’t get it. It’s David Foster Wallace. Like his book “Brief Interview with Hideous Men.” The whole thing is a take on Wallace’s overly notated writing style.


  2. Pingback: Short Story Review: “Vermont Muster” by Nick Mamatas | Jaffalogue

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