content by

Tade Thompson

Fiction and Excerpts [1]

Fiction and Excerpts [1]

Introversion in Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation

As a life-long introvert, I grew up surrounded by extroverts and had to adapt accordingly. I knew what to do to get them to leave me alone; I knew how to feign excitement at social events that I found stultifying. I knew how to ignore ignorant comments from certain extroverts. For example, at the time of writing this, someone wrote on my timeline that introverts just lack social skills, which requires no response except a big-ass Gary Coleman side-eye.

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer is about introversion at its core. Allow me to explain in this spoiler-filled three minutes which are probably better spent buying the book. My reading is coloured by my work as a hospital psychiatrist, dealing with people who have attempted or are at risk of suicide. Passing fiction through a psychological prism is, for me, involuntary.

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The Murders of Molly Southbourne

The rule is simple: don’t bleed.

For as long as Molly Southbourne can remember, she’s been watching herself die. Whenever she bleeds, another molly is born, identical to her in every way—and intent on her destruction.

Molly knows every way to kill herself, but she also knows that as long as she survives she’ll be hunted. No matter how well she follows the rules, eventually the mollys will find her. Can Molly find a way to stop the tide of blood, or will she meet her end at the hand of a girl who looks just like her?

Tade Thompson’s chilling new novella The Murders of Molly Southbourne is available October 3rd from Publishing.

[Read an Excerpt]

The Death of Sandman: A Psychiatric Reading

I know exactly where I was when I first read The Sandman. Wood Green Central Library, London, summer of 1999. I was waiting for the librarian to retrieve a book I had ordered, Perfume by Patrick Suskind. She took her time, so I wandered the stacks and came across a copy of The Wake. I flipped it open, turned some more pages, and sat down to finish it in one sitting. I ignored Perfume and borrowed seven more volumes of The Sandman. The alchemy of rich characters, the stories infused with history and the grand mythology of humankind respun in novel ways seized my imagination and would not let go. If you’re reading this, you know exactly what I mean.

I was out of sorts at that time. Carlos Santana was on heavy rotation, I was a year out of medical school, and I’d just returned to London after a gruelling stint as a medical officer in Samoa. I had no idea what specialty to pursue, but after bumming around different departments, I found psychiatry had the least potential for boredom. I started the series of exams, teaching, and hands-on experience required. It’s been ten years since I became a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and in that time I’ve often reread The Sandman. Whenever I get through The Kindly Ones, I end up thinking, Morpheus dies. Huh. Gaiman’s a dick.

But the writing, the narrative choices, the art, all collude to make Morpheus’ death inevitable. I dealt (and deal) with suicide and the risk of suicide every day at work. I wondered how The Sandman would hold up if subjected to the kind of scrutiny that real world suicides have to undergo.
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