“Going Native and Other Stories” is a collection of previously released short stories by J. Manfred Weichsel. If you haven’t read anything from Weichsel before, you really should give him a try. If you have read him before, then you pretty much know what you are in for (and I mean that in a good way).
The collection begins with the title story, “Going Native” which originally appeared in Cirsova. This is the only story in the collection I hadn’t read before and while the story was well written and the plot interesting, I found it the weakest in the collection.
“The Funniest Story Ever Told” follows and is the ‘simplest’ of the stories here. It harkens back to 50’s flying saucer movies with a lot of Rod Serling thrown in. The plot is straight forward but built upon an absurd premise. This great little story was my introduction to the author (as a side note, this story was the very first story accepted for publication by Millhaven Tales), and it is my favorite in this collection.
Next comes, “Complicit in Their Bondage” a great adventure story drawing from “The Island of Dr. Moreau” with a little Swiftian satire thrown in for good measure. It is as disturbing as it is fun.
The next story comes from the cool retro-style zine, Weird Mask. “The Garden of Prince Shi-Wiwi” is another fun, yet horrifying tale further cementing Weichsel’s place among new weird fiction writers.
“Alter Ego” is the mind-splitting tale involving countless twists, Satanists, and a psychiatric hospital. It is the longest tale in the collection, and also the most intricate. It does require the reader’s entire attention, but it is well worth it.
The collection concludes with “We Might Not Have Fire, but We Sure as Hell Have Fury”. How can you not love that title? It is a rollicking adventure story worthy of Edgar Rice Burroughs. The politics of the piece may be a little heavy-handed for some, but you shouldn’t let it dissuade you from a great adventure.