Fruitfulness in Action

13 Nov

Marcus Speh has a vital, innovative mind that energetically clears paths through unexplored country – and with his machete, he finds ways through even the most resistant undergrowth. In his collection of short fiction Thank You for Your Sperm (published by Mad Hatter Press, 2013), Speh proves that by putting into words what has never been thought, one makes the unknown tangible and open to examination. For instance, when one of his narrators describes how he “…drifted into thoughts of alien spaceships fighting over the last women on the planet”, we know that we are about to enter an unknown world, poetical in part but also startling, genre-defying and strange. In this exquisite prose collection, Marcus Speh offers the reader a deft and skilful exploration of the actual mechanism of thought, without any underlying prescriptive or bombastic authorial intentions. What we find, on every page, is a ferocious display of imagination. As Speh comments, “I hung that tie in the window as a message for everyone that freedom is still a possibility”. If there is an opportunity through this union of poetry and experimental prose to achieve a moment of freedom, then reading has a purpose.
Reminiscent both of old central Europe in his philosophical high-mindedness, and the twenty-first century in his instinctive grasp of form, timbre and content, Marcus Speh has a wonderful ability to stay on the friendly side of obscurity. He also has a healthy, if almost habitual interest in sex, which is never a bad thing. The courage, depth and versatility of “Thank You for Your Sperm” is really a cut above anything else I have seen in the flash fiction form, and one could comfortably say that with this collection Speh enters the front rank of international flash fiction writers. But this statement does not by a long shot give him the credit he deserves. “Thank You for Your Sperm” is the opening move in an authorship already mature and ready to progress into other areas, and my guess is that Marcus Speh will move into longer fiction. In the sequential “Serious Writer” pieces we already see signs of this. Here, the author seem to be straining at the leash to cut free of brevity and develop himself across hundreds of pages. Gallop on, Mr Speh, you are already covering a lot of country, but you will cover much more.

3 Responses to “Fruitfulness in Action”

  1. Marcus Speh November 14, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    When I first opened this post, I read “Fruitflies in Action” & I was already beginning to wag a teutonic finger at you until I realized my mistake. I think my favorite bit in this review is your observation that I have the “ability to stay on the friendly side of obscurity” and “a healthy, if almost habitual interest in sex, which is never a bad thing.” Indeed and thank you, though I must follow up on this book with another one clad in more demure colors, you know, not to give the impression I’d like to be a latter-day Henry Miller.

    • Henning Koch November 14, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

      Well, to be demure is almost impossible, but lustiness comes naturally. Hence the need for Central European rigour, discipline, and cold showers.

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