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What if the end of man is not caused by some cataclysmic event, but by the nature of humans themselves? In Age of Blight, a young scientist's harsh and unnecessary experiments on monkeys are recorded for posterity; children are replaced by their doppelgangers, which emerge like flowers in their backyards; and two men standing on opposing cliff faces bear witness to each other's terrifying ends.
Age of Blight explores a kind of post-future, in which the human race is finally abandoned to the end of its history. Muslim's poetic vignettes explore the nature of dystopia itself, often to darkly humorous effect, as when the spirit of Laika (the Russian space dog that perished on Sputnik 2) tries to befriend a satellite, or when Beth, the narrator's older sister, returns from the dead. The collection is illustrated throughout by the charcoal drawings of RISD artist Alessandra Hogan.
In haunting and precise prose, Kristine Ong Muslim posits that humanity's downfall will be both easily preventable and terrifyingly inevitable, for it depends on only one thing: human nature.
Kristine Ong Muslim (b. September 1980, Philippines) is the author of several books, including the forthcoming short story collection Age of Blight and poetry collection Lifeboat, as well as We Bury the Landscape and Grim Series. A new edition of A Roomful of Machines, her first book originally published in 2010 by UK-based Searle Publishing, appears from ELJ Publications this year. Her third book, Grim Series, was included in the preliminary ballot of the Horror Writers Association’s 2012 Bram Stoker Award for poetry and was twice nominated for the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s Elgin Award. Her poems and short stories were published and anthologized in the likes of Adbusters, Asia Literary Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Boston Review, Confrontation Magazine, Contrary Magazine, Ellipsis, Existere, Gargoyle Magazine, Harpur Palate, Hobart, Narrative Magazine, New Welsh Review, Sou’wester, Southword, The Pedestal Magazine, The Puritan, The State, Verse Daily, and numerous pulp magazines, as well as Dadaoism (An Anthology) (Chômu Press, 2012), Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Very Short Poems (Accents Publishing, 2011), The Best of Abyss and Apex Volume One (Hadley Rille Books, 2008), and several volumes of the annual Rhysling Award anthologies. Kristine Ong Muslim is the poetry editor of LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction. She grew up and continues to live in a small farming town in the southern Philippines.
Alessandra Hogan has a B.F.A. in printmaking at the Rhode Island School of Design. She was born in New Haven, CT, and aspires to be a professional fine artist.