Review: “Tomorrowland” by Howie Good

Tomorrowland

In Tomorrowland, (published by Dogzplot as part of the Achilles Chapbook Series) we are treated to twenty-five very short, very refined pieces of prose, each one barely more than a hundred words. The topics and themes are eclectic, with seemingly little connection between one and the next. Author Howie Good has put together an exceptional collection in this chapbook. Though short, each story has been distilled to the level of poetry.

There are many extremely striking pieces among the twenty-five. “Six Predictions About The Future” is one particulalry cool and unflinching example. So as not to dampen the impact, I will not reproduce it here, but suffice to say it is stunning. It displays the precision and honesty characteristic of the works in Tomorrowland, and of Good’s work in general. A handful of these short pieces alone would be worth the price of the chapbook.

That said, the degree of honesty evident here may not be to everyone’s liking. It is far from feel-good poetry, and although in the second half a degree of surreal humour starts to appear (see “Characters”), what most of these stories evoke is a sense of discomfort and unease. Indeed, some of them seemed to belong in the genre of horror. Take “Evacuation Instructions”, “Let it Burn”, and “America, America”. In each of these a sense of both wonder and terror are oppresively present.

The presentation of the book is also worth mentioning. Each piece is given its own page, appearing at the top beneath a capitalised title. Though it may sound visually unappealing, the sparseness of it, the relentless blankness of the page, is fittingly striking.

Tomorrowland is available from www.dogzplot.com

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Christopher Frost is a writer from the North of England.