_Black Butterflies_ by John Shirley is a collection of a decade's worth of dark short stories by Shirley, the author of _Wetbones_ and writer of the screenplay for "The Crow." Half of the stories involve the horrors of "this world," the dark streets and alleyways of our existence; the other half of the stories involve "that world," the strange and supernatural. Shirley's stories are dark, intense, imaginative and will often sear images into your brain. Recommended for fans of dark fiction, perhaps along the lines of Clive Barker.
This is an incredible book. Without a doubt, original, intense, and scary. It's not horror, and it's not science fiction. Black Butterflies is unique. John Shirley is a vastly underrated postmodernist writer. Anyone who longs for something different should read his work. I did, and I enjoyed it all immensely.
Nobody writes like John Shirley -- intense, literate, provocative, edgy. Each one of these stories offers something different, but each one of them reads like a house afire. Shirley is the Real Thing -- READ THIS BOOK!
As the title suggests, _Black Butterflies_ predates body modification and goth mascara. It issues from an era when Patti Smith could write "to me, female means feel male" In spirit, Butterflies freestyles from the period of Lou Reed's "Transformer", a period when a young man who wore mascara was simply seen as a musician, and transsexuals wielded a newly dangerous aesthetic presence. Butterflies also makes neo-Edwardian references to Wilde, of course. We have now had two decade's worth of self-conscious masculinity in music and art; marine-styled fades and mooncuts with razorsculpted sideburns and shadings of facial hair, aggressive muscularity, male voices that veer gruffly toward purism and aesthetic homophobia. More recently, the box office and the pop charts have rediscovered, through the adolescent audience, the adolescent preference for androgynous sexuality. Let's hope that now, in the late nineties, the sacred domain of teenage girls is not simply going to be pirated and pillaged by corporations and cynics.