Strange Secrets by Mike Russell

What do you consider as strange? Well, my answer to that question is – these stories, they come true to their title.

This book is a collection of short stories consisting of seven very diverse stories. What makes them a whole is their weirdness, oddness and bizarreness. Sometimes they leave us without revealing the meaning, sometimes we can glimpse into what lies beyond.

Undoubtedly a different experience, these stories are perfect for The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits and even Twin Peaks lovers. As a child I loved this kind of TV shows and I would have really enjoyed reading something like this. I would categorise them more as a young adult read, a start of a screenplay for a fun series.

“It is the marionette that is controlling me,” the puppeteer said. “Not the other way around. The marionette makes the strings move. The moving strings make my fingers move, my moving fingers make me dance. And my dancing makes my heart beat.”

My favourites were The Puppeteer and Arnold’s Melting Foot as the most rounded ones that give you enough meaning and enough to still wonder about.

There is a bit of everything in here: strange physical (and moral) doubleness coming from the water, a puppeteer inseparable from his puppet, words that make things into existence, a dystopian world that tried to abolish death, fakeness of everything in the world, maps that can substitute people and the whole universe, a difference of opinion that creates alternate and double realities.

“If you define yourself, you will change into something that evades your definition. Then if you define yourself again, you will change again. It will happen again and again and again. Do you understand? It will happen endlessly. It will continue to happen until you stop defining yourself, until your realise that you are not a thing. You are not a thing!”

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