Micah Dean Hicks (Fiction) | Russellville, AR
Blurbs, Press & Reviews
In his debut story collection, Hicks presents a compact, impressive array of the strange and the eerie, the alien and the endearing. Hicks maintains a distinct and truly original style throughout all 26 stories using off-beat perspectives and grotesque imagery. Amid the 26 stories are inexorable curses, unexplained transformations, killing lies, electrical elements in human form, epically ludicrous sword fights, exorcisms, weather magic, and more. All are carefully sculpted confections, though they vary in length. “Railroad Burial” and “Watermelon Seeds” pack the punches into just two pages each, whereas “The Hairdresser, the Giant, and the King of Roses” is a longer burn. Hicks’s protagonists seem oddly comfortable brushing up against the fantastic and the divine, taking in wonders and miracles as matter-of-factly as they might a new truck; this in no way diminishes the wonders they encounter. Hicks resists the tropes of any one genre, instead he embraces all manner of influences from the mundane to the fantastic. With striking skill in form and vision, Hicks woos readers into his wrangled worlds.
—Publishers Weekly Starred Review
Call it southern gothic, or call it magic realism, this debut story collection from native Arkansan Hicks includes more than two dozen exceedingly brief stories, each one a fantastic blend of local folklore and twentieth-century legend. Hicks has a gift for jamming contemporary concerns into mythic time, whether it’s a witch who ruins Miss Teen Georgia’s promising future, or the pirate Bluebeard checking out cashiers at the supermarket. In one story an Iraqi contractor purchases a cursed ring possessed by a djinn, with otherworldly results. Elsewhere, three alligator-hunting brothers wax philosophical as their trophies transform unexpectedly into discombobulated humans. At times macabre and often hilarious, the book’s catalog of strange creatures ranges from crawfish gunfighters who cannibalize their own kind, to Japanese warlords who board a commercial jet, to a weatherman who conjures storms rather than just reporting their whereabouts. Hicks’ masterful combination of familiar scenes with uncanny creations reads like the love child of Eudora Welty and Edgar Allan Poe, or what it might have been like if Tim Burton had directed Beasts of the Southern Wild.
—Diego Báez, Booklist Online
Stories that feel like they were found in the earth, like the bones of some ancient, mythic creature.
—Ben Loory, author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day
I am not sure where Micah Dean Hicks comes from—maybe he fell flaming from space or maybe he rose damply from a swamp or maybe a mountain cracked open and he rolled out—but he does not see the world or use language or understand people like the rest of us. His stories, so original, so peculiarly extraordinary, will haunt and move you.
—Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon
Micah Dean Hicks is to short story writing what director Tim Burton is to film making—a zany Aladdin from Arkansas, enamored of bizarre fables and misfit fantasies, his skull a-boil with magical thinking.
—Bob Shacochis, author of The Immaculate Invasion and National Book Award winner
The beguiling stories in Electricity and Other Dreams are in their own category, which might be described as Southern gothic meets tall tale meets dirty realism. In these magical yet down-to-earth stories we meet an old man made out of cans, an electrician who makes light simply by touching a bulb, a weatherman who arranges his own weather, a plumber who also gets rid of ghosts. Fortune cookie fortunes actually come true, alligators work in a factory, and Japanese warlords battle on a jet plane. And then there’s the killer crawfish. Every story in this fantastic collection is gorgeously gritty and lots of fun. Micah Dean Hicks is a true original.
—Elizabeth Stuckey-French, author of The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady
In this unsettling, impressive collection, Micah Dean Hicks effortlessly mixes realism, the fantastical, and the darkly gritty to great effect. These unique stories feel layered, lived-in, timeless. I felt in reading them as if I was receiving an early glimpse of a unique voice, and an important one. I loved it.
—Jeff VanderMeer, author of Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy and many-time World Fantasy Award Winner
In a short biography, Hicks is referred to as an author of “magical realism, modern fairy tales, and other kinds of magical stories,” but no label fits; there is no one writing like him.
—Jon Nardone, Mid-American Review
Micah Dean Hicks is like a Southern oracle, spouting true and fantastic magic, with the spirit of the place rumbling through his voice.
—Jessica Reidy, Quail Bell Magazine
In his short story collection, Electricity & Other Dreams, Hicks takes the familiar iconography of American culture and, with formal precision, upends it by means of fabulist elements that often underline the grimmest of portents. Sometimes he resorts to the familiar tropes of fairy tales—witches, giants, enchanted shrubbery—or the stuff of legend, like the story of Bluebeard. Hicks mines older stories for meaning while revealing unsettling layers of implication. What is most unsettling about Hicks’s stories is how they resonate with the possible. His bizarrely precise visions forge an eerie alliance with American daily life. Hicks, with his seemingly limitless talent for invention, is a master of North American magical realism.
This collection is exuberantly intelligent and succeeds at speaking to a range of social phenomena while working within a playful yet incisive folkloric mode. The collection is a strong debut that ranks Hicks among other excellent contemporary fabulists from Blake Butler to Carmen Maria Machado to Karin Tidbeck. These are twenty-five guns well juggled.
—Brooke Wonders, American Book Review
To embody the fairytale, to crawl into that space, sticky with candy and blood, curl up fetus-like and light up a mentholated smoke… Or, to phrase it another way, to birth the fairytale into our own world, to scrape a gaff against its side and drag the whole thing out, wet and mewling, a weird marriage of worlds… This is what Hicks does, or both of these, a kind of monstrous stitching, back and forth.
—Spencer Dew, decomP magazinE
This is another book of disturbing short stories, and I loved it! I got my signed copy from Micah Dean Hicks at the Sigma Tau Delta conference in Savannah, Georgia in February. Many of these stories made me laugh out loud because Mr. Hicks has a great sense of humor and is able to take the dark stuff of our daily lives, mix it with myth and fantasy, and come up with hysteria woven of gore. Absolutely amazing.
—Kim Davis, Lit Genius
The genre and the literary blend together without the seams showing as Hicks works his magic. Wether you want to think of him as Charles Dickens with tattooed chickens or a Grindhouse Aimee Bender, you’ll want to take a look at Electricity and Other Dreams to see what the changing face of contemporary literary fiction’s future looks like.
—Jennifer Schomburg Kanke, Pleiades