It's Lauryn Allison Lewis day at CCLaP! But of course, now that her new novella solo/down is out, that means that the website's front page will sadly be saying goodbye to our last book, Sally Weigel's story collection Get Up Tim, which today gets shuffled to CCLaP's dreaded back archives. As a final hurrah before hitting the back catalog, I asked Sally if she might write one of our usual "passing the torch" essays, in which the previously published author here tells us what they like about the newest author being published; her results are below. Thanks very much, Sally; and don't forget, if you haven't read her book yet, it's available for free download just like all our other books.
In Lauryn Allison Lewis' solo/down, Lewis wonderfully paints characters so conflicted and compassionate in the midst of a setting that is so cold and lifeless.The setting of the novella -- a laboratory that is empty, lonely and sterile -- only seems a metaphor for the world in which the characters inhabit. And yet, even in this post-apocalyptic world, the thoughts of these two scientists and their twins breath life into every sentence, showing their struggle to discover how to be human -- and humane -- when nature is no longer their friendly neighbor.
It was a pleasure to read Allison's mastery over language that combined a world so quantitative and exact with prose so poetic, personal and even haunting. With the scientists, we see an intense love for the petri dish, an animalistic jealousy of each other's scientific discoveries and yet an ever-present hesitation to continue their work. With the twins, we see temper and sibling rivalry that is exponentially heightened by the isolation of their modern world. In reading, I was captivated by the portrayal of human emotions such as love and parenting and competition that are at its core and how, true to life, Lewis knows that things get interesting once kids start to get involved.
While Lewis' sci-fi fantasy is set just on the cusp of the present, it does seem so pertinent today. I urge it to be read so that one can see how characters struggle with who they are when surrounded by everything artificial.