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In Extremis: The Most Extreme Short Stories of John Shirley
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In Extremis: The Most Extreme Short Stories of John Shirley

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  62 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
In this collection of darkly funny, disquieting stories, John Shirley brings his substantial talent to bear on human morality through the absurd, violent blunderings of his characters. In Extremis features more than twenty of Shirley’s most intense stories, including two never-before-published pieces that are sure to roil even the most hardened readers.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 26th 2011 by Underland Press
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Dec 01, 2012 Kelly rated it it was amazing
I've been on a bit of a Shirley bender lately, and that's an apropos way of describing how many of his books I've recently read. But I have to say this about In Extremis: these are some of the sickest, most brilliant stories around. Feel the desire to skewer the pop spectacle? There's a story in this volume for that. Ever wondered who or what the logical extension of J.G. Ballard is? It's John Shirley. Read the ingenious "Cram" and discover the hairline fault that cleaves the space between sex a ...more
David Agranoff
Every year at the world horror convention writers compete in an annual “Gross-out contest.” If you have a strong stomach the stories tend to be funny or unbelievably awful. One might think when they see the title to this book is 300 pages of gross-out madness. That is however not what makes John Shirley's short fiction extreme. Forget gross, (although a couple of the stories certainly qualify) the extreme nature is found the unflinching peek into the dark realms of the human condition. Opening t ...more
Nicole Cushing
May 28, 2012 Nicole Cushing rated it liked it
This reprint collection earns three stars, solid but a little disappointing. Publishers Weekly likes to use the word "uneven" to refer to collections with an inconsistent level of quality, and that's the word I feel compelled to use here: "uneven".

There were some superb stories in this book ("Cram","Ten Things to be Grateful For" and "Raise Your Hand if You're Dead" were my favorites). "Cram", in particular, strikes me as a classic, rippling with an almost-feverish passion and vitality. If ther
Joseph Halpern
Oct 12, 2012 Joseph Halpern rated it liked it
At first glance this seems like John Shirley's gross out book taking cues from the gore hound directors of the 2000s and Chuck Palahniuk's fondness for making readers faint. But make no mistake John Shirley can do psycological horror with the best of them and this short story collection feels like it has more in common with the body horror films of Cronenberg than the make you gag works of some of the more popular horror directors out now. Shirley takes a detached and sometimes comical look at h ...more
Sep 26, 2011 Jeff rated it liked it

Sick and disturbing...Just the way i like it. the book shows the writer has a way with words and a vivid imagination. I had read him before in the book of Short Fiction Sex Crimes. this book is definately not for everyone. one of the reasons i like reading books such as this is that it reminds me things can always be worse. It also allows me to revel in a darkside that is usally censored and allows me to use my mind to come up with the images instead of it being shown in some shoddy HOrror movie
David Marshall
Dec 24, 2011 David Marshall rated it liked it
I quite liked this, but it's not something you want to read in one sitting. It all gets a bit monotonous. Yes, there are a few excellent stories but the rest are short and written only to create an effect, i.e. there's little development for either character or situation. So dip into it, read a few and then come back later. That way, it stays fresher.
May 10, 2012 Teresa rated it really liked it
A raw collection of stories by John Shirley. Favorites include: Cram...a pair of bike couriers Gino and Telly on a BART train during an earthquake (gruesome, I was eating breakfast and had to put the food aside at the time), You Blundering You F***ing Failed to Kill Me Again...Samuel pays Stubs to kill him...and really ugh, Stubs screws it up. Animus Rights...two aliens Animus and Adversary duke it out in a game using the human race as pawns.
diann dunkley
May 18, 2014 diann dunkley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an imagination !

What an imagination !

I chose this highest rating because the stories work as just imaginative entertainment but also have some lessons about how we treat one another. Like Rod Sterling and Harlan Ellison, Shirley's fiction eggs us on to wake us up as fragile beings doing harm to other fragile beings on a fragile world. Bravo!
Jun 30, 2016 Andrea rated it it was amazing
I only found out about John Shirley when I read ALL AGES: THE RISE AND FALL OF PORTLAND PUNK ROCK 1977-81 by Mark Sten. IN EXTREMIS was my first Shirley book but I will definitely be reading more because these stories were great.
Brian Sammons
May 24, 2012 Brian Sammons rated it really liked it
A whole bunch of John Shirley stories, what more can you want? My full review for this can be foudn here:
Clea Berry
Mar 17, 2014 Clea Berry rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2014
Some stories were good... Some, not so much
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John Shirley is the author of more than a dozen books, including Demons; Crawlers; City Come A-Walkin’; Really, Really, Really, Really, Weird Stories; and the classic cyberpunk trilogy A Song Called Youth: Eclipse, Eclipse Penumbra, and Eclipse Corona. He is the recipient of the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award and won the International Horror Guild Award for his collection Black But ...more
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