What if sexually transmitted diseases suddenly mutated to give people extreme body modifications that are essentially super powers? This is the premise of Fantastic Orgy, the titular story (huh huh, I said “titular”) in this short short story collection by Carlton Mellick III.
Among these stories are a buff guy with a lollipop for a head trying to pick up women, a bunch of weird looking cats in a world plagued by agoraphobia, punk band roommates in a city overrun with hobgoblins (more on this later), and a group of porn actors who are lost at sea and have no memory of how they got there or how long they’ve actually been there. Each one of these stories brings something interesting to the table, and each one is immensely enjoyable.
If I had to fault one of these stories, it would have to be “City Hobgoblins,” mostly because it just didn’t click for me, although there is probably a good explanation for this. At the end of the book, Mellick has been kind enough to provide an author’s note for each story, explaining the origin and other background information for each one. These are actually really interesting to read, and a good look inside the author’s head. Apparently, “City Hobgoblins” is actually a prequel/origin story to another one of his books, Punk Land, which I haven’t read yet, and didn’t know this while reading it. A failure of the author to disclose this beforehand, or a failure of the reader to know this, I’m not sure. It probably could have been easily fixed by having the author’s note for each story in front of the story, which I’ve seen done in other collections.
Aside from this frustration born of my own ignorance, most of these stories will make you laugh and make you cringe, sometimes at the same time. Keep in mind that these stories are not for the faint of heart, though. There is explicit sex and violence throughout a few of these stories. Well, if the name and cover of the book isn’t a dead giveaway about that one, then you’re probably not much of a reader anyway. Although, admittedly it’s not as over the top as some other Bizarro books I’ve read.
Fantastic Orgy by Carlton Mellick III earns 4.5 bench-pressing muscle cats out of 5.