Sunday, February 24, 2019

Review - The Neanderthal in the Garden

The Neanderthal in the Garden
by Guido Eekhaut
Date: 2017
Publisher: East of the Web
Reading level: A
Book type: short story
Pages: 4
Format: e-book

Suddenly red ink flows from my pen. Startled, I assume it is blood, but then realize it is the color of the moon...

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Some of these short short stories on East of the Web are entertaining. Some are confusing. Then there are those like The Neanderthal in the Garden that reach a whole new level of WTF-ery. I don't even know how to classify this, but to come close, I think I'd have to say it's a speculative fiction rape fantasy. From a female perspective. Written by a man.

I have no idea what's going on here. If I were to guess, I'd say that the Neanderthals (who apparently have the brain power of an earthworm) somehow built a machine that tore apart the space-time continuum, leading to the breakdown of the human race (and, potentially, the upcoming destruction of the entire universe). I can only surmise that the four-digit numbers at the beginning of each section are years, meaning the timeline is jumping around quite a bit. But there's really no other story, except that this woman has a Neanderthal who does yard work and occasionally rapes her. But he's stinky (which totally turns her on), he leaves her coral necklaces, and they're not genetically compatible (um... then why do most modern Europeans have detectable Neanderthal DNA?)... so it's okay.

The way the Neanderthals are portrayed is stereotypical and pretty harsh. Replace "Neanderthal" with "black" or "Jewish" or "Chinese" in this story and you start to get an idea of how offensive it is. It almost feels like the author had a bone to pick with some group, but didn't want to get called out for being a bigot... so he chose a group that's no longer around to defend itself. (Current scientific understanding of Neanderthals shows that they were a lot more civilized and intelligent than we first gave them credit for, which makes the ideas in this story seem outdated.) Also, it's never explained where these Neanderthals came from. Maybe it's something to do with the space-time continuum being messed up, but since that seems to be a result of the Neanderthals' machine...

I don't know. I just don't get it. I sure don't want to spend any more time thinking about this one, in any case.

Plot: 1/5
Characters: 1/5
Pace: 1/5
Writing & Editing: 2/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 0/5

Overall Rating: 1 out of 5 ladybugs

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