no. 4


A slating book review by Petroschek Wulgarow:

Goblins All Around Me
Goblin Love Stories – Book 1

Written by Joh Ni Goblin; Translated by Hannes Wagner

An illustration of a green goblin swooning in the arms of a red demon-like figure with blue hair styled in a soft, messy bun, with some strands falling around the ears and back of the neck. The demon has horns and wears a flowing greyish-white garment, as they hold and tenderly lick the goblin's neck. The embracing figures seem to float against a backdrop of pale-pink sky - like a sunrise - encircled by small bits of fluffy cloud, with a craggy grey landscape and a blue creature with sharp teeth looming behind them.
Cover image by Marius Förster (Scroll over or click on image to see in full color).

So this book was a fast read with some humorous highs and some dragging plot points that did nothing but prolong the book length and were continuously dissolved by deus ex machina moments. When it comes to the art of storytelling, the author clearly didn’t even know what they were doing.

The plot: Imagine a thirty-something-year-old man living his whole life surrounded by cis-gendered hetero white dudes who never really grew up, who have a prescribed picture of women, strong patriarchic hierarchies and even stronger assumptions about other genders, races and professions, who do nothing but eating, fucking, fighting and dying. The plot kicks off when his toxic dudes are dead, and he has to face the world outside of his tribe all by himself for the very first time, with all of the diversity, vastness, and complexity of reality… Except he is a three-year-old, green goblin called Joh Ni living in the magical world of the Sphere. Except he is haunted by the voices of 500 dead goblins inhabiting his head. Except assuming too much about other people could end up in real-life disaster.

The first-time author does something he is probably not even aware of: delivering an exploration of how a man can grow and cope with ideas that are opposing his indoctrinated world view and without relying on what people call masculinity. When I said earlier it’s a humorous book, be assured that progressive ideas of race, gender and identity are not the ass of the joke. While they are appreciated and explored through a male goblin’s eyes, the themes mentioned are never heavy handed, but fit logically and lovingly into the world of the Sphere and its quirky characters.

Verdict: Read it. It is very cheap (4 bucks), very short (140 pages), very amusing and gives hope that the (fantasy-)world and its lore can become a friendlier place for everyone to live in.

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