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Look Who's Morphing

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  299 ratings  ·  54 reviews
First published to acclaim in Australia, Look Who's Morphing by Asian Australian writer Tom Cho is a funny, fantastical, often outlandish collection of stories firmly grounded in popular culture. Often with his family, the book's central character undergoes a series of startling physical transformations, shape-shifting through figures drawn from film and television, music ...more
Paperback, 127 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by Arsenal Pulp Press (first published May 2009)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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Bogi Takács
This is a speculative/surrealist/subversive short story collection with most stories flash length (under 1000 words). Tom Cho takes media tropes and totally goes to town with them, from Godzilla to the Sound of Music.

Read my full review here:
Apr 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I make one more transformation: I transform myself back into a human. More precisely, I transform back to my former self—although I make myself just a few inches taller and with bigger biceps. I look at my watch and see that it is almost four o’clock in the afternoon. I decide that I will find a place to sleep for the night so that, tomorrow, I can try to make my way back home. However, as I begin walking down the street, a gold 1977 Holden Sunbird hatchback pulls up beside me. I stop and wait a ...more
Tom O’Connell
'Look Who's Morphing' is the debut collection by Melbourne writer, Tom Cho. In it, Cho employs humour and a bevy of pop culture references to deconstruct the concept of identity.

His prose style is simple, unadorned and has an almost childlike quality to it. In many of the stories, Cho analyses just how saturated with popular culture our Western lives have become. At various points, the identities of the protagonist/s become almost interchangeable with those of iconic pop culture characters (The
Benjamin Solah
Jul 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Look Who’s Morphing is a humorous collection that breaks rules and gets away with it.

Look Who’s Morphing is described as a “collection of fictions” by Melbourne writer Tom Cho and draws heavily from pop culture to create a collection of work that comments on identity and changing identity in a light and humorous way.

In a lot of the pieces, the narrator is referred to as ‘Tom Cho’ and due to the extravagance of some of the stories; the pieces can come across as Tom living out some his fantasies.
Jan 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favourite read from 2009 - deliciously quirky and indulgent, yet surreptitiously subversive and profound. A bizarre exploration of our relationships with pop culture and how it forges our identities. I'm not doing it much justice with this review - just read it. :) ...more
I loved this. Working on short review; will be back.
Paul Mclaughlan
Jun 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed the read, particularly the literal relationship chemistry between Johnny and Bruce, and all the familial scenes--interrupted via orc raiders or not.
Some lovely moments, and Tom's voice comes through very clearly.
Unlike one of the reviews noted in the blurb, however, I wouldn't have been able to read this, all so greedily, in one go--the voice is too strong. Even with great divergence in the subject, it still sounds the same. I wouldn't characterise this as a problem, however, inst
Aug 14, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Majel by: Jake
Definitely interesting and weird. It made me laugh out loud at times. It certainly transcends all genre labels. The weirdest short story: "Cock Rock." The funniest short story: "The Sound of Music." The short story with the most thought-provoking message and prose: "Chinese Whispers." But I think that the stories lacked critical-thinking messages/points; most of the time his thesis was something like, "culture trends are weird, they oppress some people and empower others, and we are struggle to ...more
If you're 15-25 you'll likely love it - for the pop-culture identity crisis on every page. Bit past that in my 40's so I found it tough to get into and tough to keep going with. Persisted tho', and so it's scored 2-stars not 1, because I did giggle at the 'Chinese Names' and the 'suits' were a terrific idea too. Which I think is where Tom & I will meet on - terrific ideas, but not transported to my 40-something reality. I'll time-warp back to uni and read it again shall I ...? ...more
Jin Chong
This is a 'who am I??!!’ self-reflective collection of short stories exploring gender, racial and cultural identity with a lot of pop culture references. i believe this book is post-post-postmodern if there's such thing?! ...more
Oct 01, 2019 marked it as never-going-to-finish  ·  review of another edition
Every time I try and pick this up I find myself losing interest a few sentences in and even if I continue it I find myself forgetting the past few words before reading the next.

Imaginative as it may be it still isn't enough.
Dec 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hugely entertaining and hilarious stories. Some of the best I've read in years ...more
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a modern Australian classic.
May 18, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a short book. Quirky and clever. And bizarre and unexpected.

I read this as a part of May 2018's #AsianLitBingo and would not have picked this book otherwise. But I'm glad to have read it and to know about this author.

My favorite piece or chapter was "Chinese whispers." Many pieces felt like a mix of personal journal entries and writing exercises (stream of consciousness or creative strains).

I definitely could relate to the time period this book sets most of its stories. But I thought the
Georga Hackworth
This is one of my creative writing professors favourite books. She had us read one of the short stories from this book while we were studying different styles. The style can only be described as "bad fan fiction" but that is what is okay. It's what makes it so great, that someone with a PhD in writing chose to write this way. After reading the selection that my professor had us read, I had to read rest of the book.

Bad fan fiction aside, this book delves into answering the questions "who am I?" a
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a quirky way to tell stories!

I loved the pieces that played on more serious facets of popculture - such as the Sound of Music, and Dirty Dancing.

Additionally, I loved how each small story revealed more about the dynamics of Tom, the character. Between family relationships and understanding identity, this book as it covered.

Only losing a star because of the last story, which I found to be very boring and repetitive. Reading something like soft porn it didn't mesh well with the other pieces.
Vivienne DiFiore
So funny. Forget what they taught you in school. Telling can be just as good as "showing" with narration like this. So good. The book clearly pulls from lived experience in a way that adds a lot to the affect. It also is funny while remaining troubling. Should "I" be laughing at this? and so on. Good read. ...more
Venerdi Handoyo
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A unique voice from Australia, Tom Cho skillfully plays with identity issues by interweaving fantasy and real human connection. His stories trigger conversations around mixed cultures, generational gap, gender and sexuality themes. Fun, witty, daring, wild, and contemplative, ‘Look Who’s Morphing’ is a one of a kind one-sitting read.
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, oz-lit
The title story was sick, and the next one with the suits, but the novelty kind of wore off after that. It's a fun collection with some whacky ideas from a young writer and I'd be curious to see what he comes out with next. ...more
Amelia Burton
Aug 07, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not my thing. Kind of seemed like a mix between badly written fanfiction into which he inserted himself, and nonsensical stories written by a preteen? Maybe I just don’t see the “art” in these stories, or whatever, but I just don’t see the appeal.
Alaina Cyr
Jan 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I, uh... I don't know what I just read. It feels like this is a collection of the most entertaining entries from Cho's dream journal, and I'm not sure if that's a compliment or an insult or both? ...more
Rita (Clazzi)
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Quirky stories which almost always lost me towards the end. Just not for me I guess.
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-uni
I mean this was absolutely ridiculous and I understand literally nothing but I kinda did enjoy it???? To a point????
Sep 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-for-uni, dnfed
I read a chapter called 'AIYO!!! An evil group of Nina's is entering and destroying a call centre!!!'. It wasn't a sophisticated piece of writing but it made me smile. ...more
Tom Bensley
There's this Juno Diaz quote that I want to paraphrase a bit here. It was basically that the best stories are like listening in on private conversations. He said that when he first started writing stories, he was just writing them for him and his mates and was shocked when wider audiences started paying attention to them. That proved his point enough to keep writing like he did. People like listening in on the private lives of others.

Tom Cho's book, Look Who's Morphing, works like that. This is
Hazel Edwards
Apr 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Look Who’s Morphing
by Tom Cho
published by Giramondo & Kindle
ISBN 978-1-920882-73-0

There’s an absurdist comic mind behind this writing. Keenly observed.
Morphing into celebrity culture characters links these short extracts which would work well as stand up comedy or even as an audio version. Since much creativity consists of juxtaposing unlikely ideas, Cho does it well through his young Asian narrator aspiring to enter the worlds of actors & celebrities.
The challenge in any anthology of short pie
Daniel Taylor
Thanks to popular culture, everyone morphs into other people from time to time. What makes Tom Cho stand out is that he writes about his morphings, in a way entertaining and profound.

In the 18 stories/sections/chapters in this book, Cho draws on his experiences as a Chinese Australian fitting into mainstream culture by becoming something other than himself. In these fictions, his family are just as happy to join him on his journey.

Cho has a vivid imagination and he writes in a graphic way, graph
Writer's Relief
Dec 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tom Cho’s LOOK WHO’S MORPHING is a fantastically fun read. In this collection of stories, the main character takes on a different physical transformation for each one—including Godzilla, a Ford Bronco, and the Fonz. In an age when pop culture seems to be everywhere, Cho is able to pick apart its subtleties. Through each of his transformations he paints a picture of different identities. Gay, straight, white, or Asian, Cho changes effortlessly between them. Adding to the adventure, his family is ...more
George K. Ilsley
Fantastic and crazy weird in places, but also achieves the hardest task of all: crazy weird and boring. Oops. I found some of this material to be repetitive, and thus becomes the incredible shrinking material pile the more you look at it.

The opening page is brilliant. I love the contradiction of it being 1963 and then they discuss 80's TV. It is a relief to feel that all the restrictions of narrative are being thrown out of the robot lab. But I found this was not a collection that I could read m
Oct 14, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of quirky short stories with the common theme of morphing. Tom cho has a quirky imagination than knows no bounds of race, gender and sexuality. At times this book made me laugh out loud, particularly whenever he references his family. Sometimes I just felt awkward. Great pop culture references to some of his favourite movies, to and music. A quick quirky read.
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I write fiction. I perform my words onstage. Sometimes, I curate and produce arts projects.

Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, I’ve lately been spending time overseas writing my novel, doing artist residencies and giving readings. I also have a parallel career as a freelance writer, analyst and editor.

My first full-length book, Look Who’s Morphing, was published in Australia and New Zealand b

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