Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

GrasshopperJungle-large

All roads cross here.

Grasshopper Jungle is the story of how the world will end.  If you’re thinking global warming, war, a giant asteroid, or nuclear holocaust then think again.  As 16-year-old Austin Szerba reports, the apocalypse begins in a small town called Ealing, Iowa.

At first glance, Ealing is an ordinary place in the middle of nowhere sparsely populated by churchgoing lower-middle class Americans.  But decades ago, Ealing hosted a cultural mecca of scientists, researchers, and entrepreneurs who worked at the town’s primary employer – Mckeon Industries.  From genetically-modified produce to Pulse-O-Matic showerheads, Mckeon Industries manufactured and supplied a variety of products.  But as Austin Szerba soon finds out, the company’s founder, Dr Grady McKeon, was involved in a dark set of experiments that included genetic mutation, human reproduction, and testicle-dissolving corn.  Oh, and he also accidentally created a race of gigantic and deadly praying mantises.

Continue Reading

Natural Histories by Guadalupe Nettel

Natural_Histories_lrg

All the busy little creatures

Winner of the 2013 Ribera del Duero Short Fiction Award, Mexican author Guadalupe Nettel’s short story collection Natural Histories—her first body of work to appear in English translation—subtly explores the often overlooked spaces where human nature and animal instinct overlap, reminding us that we have more in common with our domesticated friends and their wild brethren then perhaps we’d like to admit.

Continue Reading