Sometimes when the world becomes overwhelming, you need something that helps you forget about all the shit that is going down, Glenn Gray’s Transgemination (Beat to a Pulp) is a book that you can count on to wash it all away.
Transgemination is not a great book, rather it is sci-fi pulp that grabs on to the back of the black-and-white B-movies I grew up with. It opens some 13,000 years ago with a “swath of asteroids and meteoroids” heading towards Earth with one of these rocks being buried on a farm owned by Karl and Stew. A little heads up is due — and this should not be a surprise due to Transgemination‘s influences — the characters are a bit one-dimensional.
When the characters touch the rocks, and they do, the rocks transform themselves into some sort of likeness of the toucher or combination of life forms that have touched it. And then we are off into this bizarre world created by Gray.
A short time later the vibrating stopped and then there were some bubbling sounds, like a pot bubbling over with water. A gust of wind tore through the cornfield, forcing the tall deep green stalks to sway back and forth. A few birds swooped down close as if to inspect the area, then shot away into the sky.
The thing on the ground swelled. It got bigger and fatter and fuller and just when it looked as if it would burst an elongated projection sprung from its surface and grew longer and longer. It was brownish and resembled the arm of a chair and then when it was about three feet long, a hand formed out its end, which grasped the long brown thing. From the hand grew an arm then a shoulder and a chest and then head, stomach and legs. When it stopped there was a man standing there who looked almost exactly like Stew, holding a stick just like the one he used to poke the blob thing.
The only difference was that the man had the furry head of a dog—of Bongo.
Gray’s Transgemination is something to lose yourself in from a farm in Nebraska to the hills in West Virginia; it is pure escapism and sometimes that’s just what you need.