Intruders: Short Stories

Mohale Mashigo

Book cover

This was the second book I read on my recent trip to South Africa. I picked it up in the excellent Book Lounge bookstore in Cape Town, which has a great selection of SA-authored books. I confess that I was swayed partly by the fantastic cover design and art, but also by the content: short stories in the sci-fi/“weird-fiction” genre.

The stories are very quick reads, sometimes almost feeling more like writing prompts or hooks than full stories. For the ones I didn’t like as much, it was usually because I felt like the premise wasn’t give enough space to breathe and develop. But overall I really enjoyed reading some weird fiction from a black South African perspective (and Mashigo’s introductory essay is also interesting commentary). Favorite stories of mine included:
-“On The Run” - Nolwazi Botha / Sister Alterado is the alternate Incredible Hulk I wish we had gotten, rather than Amadeus Cho–the result of chemical experiments by apartheid pseudo-scientists.
-“The High-Heel Killer” - the inspiration for the beautiful cover art and a creative commentary on street sexual harassment of women.
-“Untitled I-III” - a set of three related stories about the apocalypse, sleeper ships and their economic caste systems, and those left behind. Because they are spread over three stories, these ones have the most room to breathe and feel like they have the stirrings of a novel.

My Goodreads rating: 3 stars