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The Unnamed Country

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  22 ratings  ·  11 reviews
“Other countries have conquered us over our long history, and sometimes they changed our name. Hundreds of years ago, our Emperor Tho tried to think of ways to protect his country from being attacked again, after he managed to drive out the last invaders. And he knew he had to change the name his enemies had given to his country. Then Tho had an idea… a way to keep other p ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published November 19th 2019 by Word Horde
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Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Unnamed Country is braided collection of grotesques that should be sought out by fans of Barker. As the title implies, it is set in a southeast Asian country whose location and identity have been deliberately obscured, but it is located firmly of the territory of The Weird. It is filled with characters worthy of soap operas, and each story here could be an episode of an ongoing show. My personal favorite was “The Uninvited Grave” as the black humor of this conte cruel is quite delightful.
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been reading an awful lot of Jeffrey Thomas lately. Many collections over the past few weeks, in fact. I’ve been on a bit of a quest to explore the breadth of his work, which is no mean feat given that he changes and mixes genres as often as I change socks and has been writing professionally for several decades. Anyone who has dipped their toe into his work likely knows that his stories run the gamut in terms of theme and content. Of course, even within that broad context, similarities and ...more
Suresh S
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you know Jeffrey Thomas from his Punktown series of Philp K Dick-ian hard-boiled futuristic novels and short stories, this new collection will come as a surprising veer into fairy tale territory. Yes, although most of the stories in The Unnamed Country are set in a contemporary or at least modern world, they have an almost folkloric quality. Jeffrey draws upon his experiences in Vietnam and related countries and processes them through the enviable wonderland of his imagination to give us a So ...more
Dec 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel
I already wrote a longer review on this - link below. I said there that this is a modern classic of writing about another country or culture on the level of Lafcadio Hearn or ltalo Calvino. It belongs on the shelf of any, and every, bookstore in any airport with a flight to Southeast Asia. I still stand by that. Anyone interested in Vietnam or Southeast Asia should be reading this - no matter that the title doesn't sing out Vietnam.
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Its like the 'Punktown' of contemporary Southeast Asia. So if you like that you will probably like this. ...more
Dave Higgins
Dec 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Collecting stories that span science-fiction, fantasy, and realism but are connected by a shared fictional Asian country, Thomas offers both a series of character-driven individual narratives and an engaging gestalt vision of the liminal zone between beliefs and reality.

This collection contains nine short stories set in a fictional Asian country shaped both by religion and cutting-edge technology.

‘Cholukan and the Gods’: Wishing to learn more of the lives of humans without the distortion that s
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Thomas proves once again what a treasure he is to weird fiction, this time immersing the reader in a fictitious Southeast Asian setting. Some of his stories are achingly moving and profound, others are humorous, and a few, as always, are batshit crazy; all are elements that I love. An absolute favorite of mine.
Daniel Keohane
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
These series of connected (at times loosely, others more directly) stories by Thomas is darker fare tone-wise than I'm used to, with a gritty realism that dives deeply into far more human (versus technological or supernatural) emotional world. The characters are normal, at times lost and drifting but all very real. With dashes of humor - itself also tending towards the dark side - I found myself knowing where this "unnamed country" is and other times feeling it's just slightly left of our univer ...more
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The several excellent stories more than make up for the few that are merely fine. The opener story is easily the best, establishing the rules and mood of the setting naturally, by the characters' progress in their projects rather than by infodump. Jeffrey Thomas is good at every aspect of the writers' craft, and, particularly for a weird writer, he's astonishingly good at dialog. ...more
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
With THE UNNAMED COUNTRY, the creator of Punktown has engaged in worldbuilding on a smaller but infinitely richer scale. Through a series of linked short stories, Jeffrey Thomas blends and deconstructs several genres in order to create a living, breathing land that transcends its own “fictionality.” Presumably somewhere in Southeast Asia is a nation with its very own myths, superstitions, popular television shows, prejudices, and pantheon of Gods and Demons. Thomas tackles serious issues, rangin ...more
Jason Williams
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Marvelous collection of weird fiction set in southeast Asia as viewed through a western perspective.
Not every single story was to my taste but as with most Jeffrey Thomas collections I am not disappointed in purchasing and reading it!
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Jeffrey Thomas is an American author of fantastical fiction, the creator of the acclaimed milieu Punktown. Books in the Punktown universe include the short story collections PUNKTOWN, VOICES FROM PUNKTOWN, PUNKTOWN: SHADES OF GREY (with his brother, Scott Thomas), and GHOSTS OF PUNKTOWN. Novels in that setting include DEADSTOCK, BLUE WAR, MONSTROCITY, HEALTH AGENT, EVERYBODY SCREAM!, and RED CELLS ...more

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