Monday, January 11, 2010

Mama Fish by Rio Youers

Here's why you want to read Mama Fish by Rio Youers: you'll be pissed when it's over.

Youers splices together two tales of Patrick Beauchamp: one from high school when Patrick is trying to befriend school oddity Kelvin Fish; the second features an older Patrick, parent of two and beloved husband. Yes, they come together, in a sense. Any more plot points would taint your reading of Mama Fish, and I'm not here to do that.

The prose is delicious, fast, and propels you to the end. Unfortunately, I feel like the end came too quickly--maybe because I devoured it in one sitting. With two rug-rats running around the house, I don't devour much over ten pages in one sitting anymore. Even when the end becomes inevitable, and it does, Youers held my attention, winding it around his easy style and showing not only Patrick's final choice but why he made it (again, no spoilers here).

Some may be put off by the alternating time frames in the book (instead of all the "high school" story followed by the "older Patrick", Youers goes back and forth), but I enjoyed the way Mama Fish unfolded. With Shroud as the publisher, one might expect horror, and the novella has horrific moments, especially when Patrick is younger. But to simply file Mama Fish in the horror bin limits readers. This is slipstream at its best--a little science fiction, a little fantasy, and a dash of horror.

Why was I pissed when I finished? I wanted more. Give me a few Youers' short stories at least. I know I'll be looking for something with his name on it.

Pick up Mama Fish at Shroud or


  1. Excellent review, Aaron. I loved Mama Fish so much I added my name to the many recommending it for a Stoker.

  2. Gah, I need this. The cover is gorgeous, and totally backs what you're saying about it. Well, there's the first on my 2010 list, I reckon.