Genre: Fantasy — Grimdark
Series: Manifest Delusions Stand Alone Short Story
Publisher: Self-Published (October 24, 2016)
Length: 17 pages
My Rating: 4 stars
Michael R. Fletcher’s Manifest Delusions series is one of the most creative takes on grimdark I’ve ever experienced. His blending of insanity and magical power an epiphany. And I can’t get enough of the creepy madness of the damn world and its people, which is why I had to read Fire & Flesh; this short story the initial steps by the author into his newly created world of mystical delusions.
Without going into too much detail and ruining the narrative, F & F focuses on the journey of Pyrocast Gehirn Schlechtes and his longtime friend Captain Pizarr. The two heading up the king’s oceanic expedition, tasked with crossing the wide sea, discovery new lands and establish a grand colony for the motherland.
The expedition gets off to a bad start, however, when Captain Pizarr throws the Ship’s Counselor overboard. This decision a break with sound judgment, for, in a world filled with Maniacasts, a counselor must be aboard every ship to aid its crew and passengers in controlling their insanity. And without their own “headshrink”, Gehirn and Pizarr’s expedition quickly becomes embroiled in magical delusions, which lead to an explosive end!
Having experienced the refined version of the Manifest Delusions world before reading Fire & Flesh, I can definitely tell this is Michael Fletcher first tentative steps into this place; the world and characters not as polished, demented, and disturbing as his later creations. But for the entertaining madness it is (and for the chance to study the evolution of Michel Fletcher’s mad creation), this is a story I thoroughly enjoyed and am glad I finally read.
Recommended for fans of Michael Fletcher and Manifest Delusions, lovers of the grimmest of grimdarks, or fans of maniacal madness, because this author always brings the madness. Always!