Dance Moves of the Near Future
New Star Books, 2015
Tim Conley's prose whipsaws between carefully observed realism and fantastic absurdity to create surreal, compact worlds. Whether they're sketching the familial fallout of a stentorian patriarch or teaching the eponymous dance moves to survivors of the apocalypse ("With the rise of the invertebrates, spinelessness has never been so hip"), these stories are all marked by precise, engaging prose, dark humour, and a demented imagination.
The 24 stories in Dance Moves of the Near Future open with a sentient cactus and close with a crash of rhinos. In between you'll find a high–strung parrot, untenured yahoos, an amorphous, mind–controlling blob, optometrists in a strip club, a dash of Old Testament shenanigans, and weighty ontological concerns. These stories are unpredictable — even volatile — but they all share a wicked sense of humour, and a piercing eye for human (and inhuman) fallibility.
"Dance Moves of the Near Future is a collection of the strange and wonderful. Someplace between Bender and Barthelme is Conley: exhibiting humour, imagination, and total command." —Emily Schultz, author of The Blondes.
"Tim Conley is a bit like Scheherazade; you get the feeling he could spin out a different story every night ad infinitum." - Douglas Glover
"Dance Moves of the Near Future presents ways of being in alternative worlds, some of which hew closer to our own than others. . . . the overall effect of these 24 experiments isn’t an idea but a feeling: an unsettling, a strangely pleasant unease." - The Globe and Mail
"Tim Conley is nothing if not inventive. A bit of a cross between Franz Kafka, Chuck Palahniuk and Woody Allen, Dance Moves of the Near Future (Conley's third collection of short stories) is the home of such characters as an 'amorphous, gelatinous-looking blob,' a cactus (with a plan), and several dermatologists grappling with an inexplicable, almost gravitational pull toward a particular strip club. . . . Dance Moves of the Near Future is a fun, wild ride." - The Winnipeg Free Press
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