And the best title for a short story collection since the Read This! nomination of Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead goes to . . . . Salmonella Men on Planet Porno. Yes, that’s right. Tsutsui Yasutaka, a Japanese author, published this in 2005, and it came out here in April, 2007. What’s surprising, though, is that the Literary Saloon has info about action figures based on the stories. Seriously: action figures. Short story writers here in the U.S. could only dream of such marketing techniques. Or of having enough of a following to entice a company to purchase action figure rights. Bet the agent would never see that coming. Back when I took a Literary Marketplace class, we even discussed selling the rights to theme park rides, but never action figures. But perhaps it only works if you have words like “Porno” in the title. (Let this be a lesson for all the short-story writers out there trying to publish their first collection – references to bacteria and sex will make your book fly off the shelves).
Here’s a quick definition of the book:
Defying the commonly held perceptions of time and space, and escaping any easy classifications, Yasutaka Tsutsui’s stories centre on the folly of human desire. Most of his characters suffer awful fates as a result of their own foolishness, which usually takes the form of greed, lust or vanity. With influences as diverse as Darwin, Freud and the Marx Brothers, his writing displays a mixture of pathos, slapstick and psychological insight, shot through with bolts of Kafkaesque inventiveness.