Book #20

Schlock featuring Russia Cop by David R. Low

Beginning in the streets of Tokyo and ending in the cosmos, Russia is at the center of SCHLOCK. These four stories center around an eclectic cast of characters in the 2010s - obsessed fanboys, Soviet rock stars, English teachers, expats trying to comprehend the Russian Soul, living sex dolls, Australian pub crawlers, and a genetically engineered law enforcement officer whose sole purpose is to enforce patriotism and Russian Soul in the Russian Federation. SCHLOCK!

It’s been a while since I’ve read something as unique and fresh as these short stories from Low. Each of them looking at patriotism, nationalism, and Russian soul, he takes us on a walk through identity, belonging, obsession, and Russia’s disdain for the West.

I think it’s important to state here that while reading these stories I forced myself to put my current feelings about Russian atrocities into a little box in my mind. It’s always been a country I’ve been fascinated by, mainly due to Russian literature, so I had to really take myself away from reality.

And Low really helped with this, as some of these stories are wonderfully surreal, almost feeling like hallucinations or uncomfortable dystopia. Despite Low’s ability of allowing us to feel we’re in a macabre parallel realm, his use of themes and his exploration of humanity is very real, and sometimes frightening in its exposure.

I enjoyed the various formats employed here - standard prose is mixed in with scripts or interviews, and this really kept my engagement at a high level whilst also lending a reality to everything I was experiencing. I was watching this on the news, or I was listening to a podcast.

Low has done something incredible here, and I’d recommend trying this one - it’s definitely for people who love a bit of the uncanny, whilst remaining in a familiar world.