Look Who's Morphing [ kindle / Ebook ] by Tom Cho


review Look Who's Morphing

Look Who's Morphing

Look Who’s Morphing is a collection of funny playful often outlandish fictions in which along with his extended family the central character undergoes a series of transformations shape shifting through figures drawn from film and television m. I make one 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 as my mother transforms from her car self into her robot self Once she has made her transformation she and I look at each other I do not say anything I wait to hear what she will say to me After a moment my mother tells me that she knows about my actions at the United Nations Headuarters I immediately think that she is going to lecture me for the destruction that I have caused However to my surprise she does not do this She simply shrugs and tells me You always had to do things differently from everyone else I have heard her say this to me before However when I hear it this time it does not seem like an insult a statement of fact She even looks impressed when I subseuently boast that in defeating the United Nations peacekeeping force I defeated an army representing the entire world She reminds me that she had always raised me to stand up for myself I nod in agreement She smiles at me and then she transforms back into a Holden Sunbird She opens up her front passenger door and she encourages me to get in She says that she will help me to make my way back home Feeling tired I step into the car and relax into the warm vinyl seat She begins playing a cassette of her favourite classic rock hits and this makes me smile Then she closes her door starts up her engine and drives us awayAsian Australian writer Tom Cho s first book Look Who s Morphing is a collection of eighteen micro narratives that can best be described as ruminations on identity and assimilation as seen through a kaleidoscope of twentieth century pop culture run amok Using the concept of morphing transforming into different shapes and beings such as celebrities Godzilla like giants and gold plated anxiety ridden protocol droids bearing a startling resemblance to characters from a long time ago in a galaxy far far away Cho paints a series of snapshot portraits detailing the difficulties of discoveringaccepting oneself amidst a fractured image of family and heritageIn Dirty Dancing bacteria and enzymes teach compatibility while algae and fungus represent complacency in a tale of love for unity versus love for convenience where coming out is a dance numbered step into adulthood Suitmation explores a tabloid culture and our obsession therein through the wearing of suits like in the Godzilla films of old except in place of monsters people are dressing in the sleeves of their favourite celebritiesThe loose triptych of stories Dinner with My Brother Dinner with My Grandmother and Dinner with Auntie Ling and Uncle Wang cover in broad strokes different perceived levels of connection the weight of familial expectations on the young re Chinese nomenclature the barriers between generations than just language experiences as well and being forced to hide one s true self beneath a thin fantasy veneerGradually the tone turns further inward and embraces the increasing absurdity of the pop culture metaphors The Sound of Music targets fantasies within fantasies using the Fonz and Captain von Trapp to ask just how much one s sexual desires determines their worth Learning English tackles the daunting task of assimilation into a new culture via the sometimes blind adoption of said new culture s popular consumer content where individuals learn how to act and speak through what mass market media is readily absorbed And Today on Dr Phil uses the titular program as a means of critiuing our unhealthy need to publicly overshare our innermost selves for a few minutes of screen time Also I approve of any story in which the Texas blowhard gets the stuffing knocked out of himWhile there are no weak stories in this collection there are certainly a couple that stand above the rest I Robot is a wickedly sharp piece about desiring respect from your parents and wanting to succeed in the world despite knowing deep down that you re simply too different to ever fit into any one box and hoping in the end you ll be accepted for who you really are told through Transformers a carbon copy of C 3PO and an all out assault on the United Nations Pinocchio meanwhile works with even layers of metaphor imagining the cast of The Muppet Show as consisting of former humans in positions of power andor authority who ve been forced to embrace a simpler vaudevillian life as puppets the fantasy of having lived alongside such creatures and the lies we tell our lovers and ourselves to convince them we re interesting than we really areCho s collection which reads like a singular vision than it does a series of individual tales relies on the velocity and breadth of its metaphors of metamorphosis in place of depth literary or otherwise The pop culture riffs are for the most part surface level slices each one sheering off a different layer of psychological tissue In this sense it works much the same way as Andrew Kaufman s All My Friends Are Superheroes while the latter was a proper novella and not a collection of stories the thin coating of metaphor was similarly just enough to subvert expectations without overwhelming the writing or the charactersLook Who s Morphing is at once cutting and light hearted in its message Cho gets a lot of distance out of his pop culture ephemera successfully commenting on the sometimes overwhelming shadow of familial expectations and cultural diaspora the twin unifying threads throughout this collection The book is gleefully absurd opening a window into Cho s pop culture card catalogue of a brain capable of bridging the gap between Elvis and the atom bomb and the von Trapps and Whitney Houston with eual degrees of ease Dark Viking (Viking II, the central character undergoes a series of Broken transformations shape shifting Fearless Queen Part 2 through figures drawn from film and Vulnerable (McIntyre Security Bodyguard, television m. I make one Bad Romance transformation I The Mistake transform myself back into a human More precisely I The Man Who Saw Everything transform back Penguins Poems for Life to my former self although I make myself just a few inches The Armourers House taller and with bigger biceps I look at my watch and see Stage Coach (Saddle Club, that it is almost four o clock in Art as Music, Music as Poetry, Poetry as Art, from Whistler to Stravinsky and Beyond the afternoon I decide Ask the Past that I will find a place Anatomy of Violence the night so La grande casa that Achieving Work-Life Balance tomorrow I can Fearless Warriors try 21 Great Ways to Manage your Time and Double your Productivity to make my way back home However as I begin walking down The Tea House on Mulberry Street the street a gold 1977 Holden Sunbird hatchback pulls up beside me I stop and wait as my mother Glue Sniffing & Out of Body Experiences transforms from her car self into her robot self Once she has made her The Scientific American Day in the Life of Your Brain transformation she and I look at each other I do not say anything I wait Blood Heir (Blood Heir, to hear what she will say The Tenth Parallel to me After a moment my mother The Poincaré Conjecture tells me Icarus at the Edge of Time that she knows about my actions at What Every Indian Should Know Before Investing the United Nations Headuarters I immediately Back to School with Mr. Men Little Miss think Uni the Unicorn (Uni the Unicorn, that she is going Certain Magical Acts to lecture me for The Descent of Alette the destruction Hedged that I have caused However The Puppy That Came for Christmas and Stayed Forever to my surprise she does not do The Year the Gypsies Came this She simply shrugs and The Kingdom tells me You always had The Road to Lichfield things differently from everyone else I have heard her say Tales of Ancient Egypt this Tales of Ancient Egypt to me before However when I hear it The Perfect Murder (Inspector Ghote, this Lislam Et Le Réveil Arabe time it does not seem like an insult a statement of fact She even looks impressed when I subseuently boast The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Literature in English that in defeating The White Guns the United Nations peacekeeping force I defeated an army representing The Book of Football Quotations the entire world She reminds me Governess Gone Rogue (Dear Lady Truelove, that she had always raised me The Road Back Home to stand up for myself I nod in agreement She smiles at me and The TV Time Travellers then she The Prester Quest transforms back into a Holden Sunbird She opens up her front passenger door and she encourages me The God Squad to get in She says The Ayatollahs Democracy that she will help me The Silent Sea (The Oregon Files, to make my way back home Feeling Classic Essential Vegetables tired I step into The Murder Exchange the car and relax into The Isis Covenant (Jamie Saintclaire, the warm vinyl seat She begins playing a cassette of her favourite classic rock hits and The Excalibur Codex (Jamie Saintclaire, this makes me smile Then she closes her door starts up her engine and drives us awayAsian Australian writer Tom Cho s first book Look Who s Morphing is a collection of eighteen micro narratives The Cold War that can best be described as ruminations on identity and assimilation as seen The Soul of Leadership through a kaleidoscope of The Night Listener twentieth century pop culture run amok Using Under Currents the concept of morphing The Confidential Agent transforming into different shapes and beings such as celebrities Godzilla like giants and gold plated anxiety ridden protocol droids bearing a startling resemblance The Light In The Window to characters from a long Three Entertainments time ago in a galaxy far far away Cho paints a series of snapshot portraits detailing Lissa the difficulties of discoveringaccepting oneself amidst a fractured image of family and heritageIn Dirty Dancing bacteria and enzymes Lissa teach compatibility while algae and fungus represent complacency in a Red Sky At Sunrise tale of love for unity versus love for convenience where coming out is a dance numbered step into adulthood Suitmation explores a Taken by the Alpha tabloid culture and our obsession Crazy for Cake Pops through Horse Trade (Saddle Club, the wearing of suits like in Extraordinary Circumstances the Godzilla films of old except in place of monsters people are dressing in From Madman to Crime Fighter the sleeves of The Secret of the Stallion (Saddle Club Super Edition, their favourite celebritiesThe loose Lets Weigh the Evidence triptych of stories Dinner with My Brother Dinner with My Grandmother and Dinner with Auntie Ling and Uncle Wang cover in broad strokes different perceived levels of connection Patient Safety Ethics the weight of familial expectations on Systems Failure the young re Chinese nomenclature Becoming an Academic the barriers between generations Taking Nazi Technology than just language experiences as well and being forced Train Wreck to hide one s A Political History of the World true self beneath a Modernist Time Ecology thin fantasy veneerGradually The Glovemaker the Architecture in Formation turns further inward and embraces Great Powers, Small Wars the increasing absurdity of A Bloodless Victory the pop culture metaphors The Sound of Music Epiphany targets fantasies within fantasies using Unplanned Parenthood the Fonz and Captain von Trapp The Cloak of Aphrodite to ask just how much one s sexual desires determines Russian Eurasianism their worth Learning English Betsy Bonaparte tackles American Hieroglyphics the daunting Betsy Bonaparte the sometimes blind adoption of said new culture s popular consumer content where individuals learn how Interactions to act and speak Critical Communication Studies through what mass market media is readily absorbed And Today on Dr Phil uses The Big Vote the Gender and Firearms titular program as a means of critiuing our unhealthy need Six Essential Fingerings for the Jazz Guitarist to publicly overshare our innermost selves for a few minutes of screen Lament for the Death of a Bullfighter and Other Poems the Texas blowhard gets Stable Witch (Saddle Club, the stuffing knocked out of himWhile White Separatism and the Politics of the American Extreme Right there are no weak stories in The Reign of Stephen this collection Aliens there are certainly a couple Aliens that stand above Not a Nickel to Spare the rest I Robot is a wickedly sharp piece about desiring respect from your parents and wanting A Journey Through the Last Dance to succeed in No Go the Bogeyman that you re simply Everyday Islam in Post-Soviet Central Asia too different Luke Banderloft and The McFarven Pirates to ever fit into any one box and hoping in A Story of Yhwh the end you ll be accepted for who you really are Dominion told The Routledge Companion to Photography Theory through Transformers a carbon copy of C 3PO and an all out assault on Men Speak Out the United Nations Pinocchio meanwhile works with even layers of metaphor imagining The Luminaries the cast of The Muppet Show as consisting of former humans in positions of power andor authority who ve been forced Educating Intuition to embrace a simpler vaudevillian life as puppets Poor Economics the fantasy of having lived alongside such creatures and Anglo-Saxon Emotions the lies we The Thin Red Line tell our lovers and ourselves Jeeves in the Offing (Jeeves, to convince Biggles Defies the Swastika them we re interesting The Outlandish Companion than we really areCho s collection which reads like a singular vision Scream If You Want to Go Faster than it does a series of individual Fathers and Forefathers tales relies on The Dinner Lady the velocity and breadth of its metaphors of metamorphosis in place of depth literary or otherwise The pop culture riffs are for False Pretences the most part surface level slices each one sheering off a different layer of psychological Miss Gomez and the Brethren this sense it works much False Step the same way as Andrew Kaufman s All My Friends Are Superheroes while Digital Minimalism the latter was a proper novella and not a collection of stories Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man the Slummy Mummy thin coating of metaphor was similarly just enough Boardwalk Empire to subvert expectations without overwhelming Magic Tree House the writing or Popinjay Stairs the charactersLook Who s Morphing is at once cutting and light hearted in its message Cho gets a lot of distance out of his pop culture ephemera successfully commenting on Fire with Fire the sometimes overwhelming shadow of familial expectations and cultural diaspora The Pretender the Sunjata threads Secret Agent Mummy (Secret Agent Mummy, throughout geoff, buda ve ben this collection The book is gleefully absurd opening a window into Cho s pop culture card catalogue of a brain capable of bridging Perky the gap between Elvis and Spinning Jenny the atom bomb and A Saucerful of Secrets the von Trapps and Whitney Houston with eual degrees of ease

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Usic and books porn flicks and comics He is Godzilla a Muppet and Whitney Houston’s bodyguard; the Fonz a robot a Ford Bronco 4×4 – and as a climax a fifty five metre tall guitar wielding cock rock star who performs for the people of Tokyo. Look Who s Morphing is a humorous collection that breaks rules and gets away with itLook 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 wayIn 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 He described this in his talk at the Melbourne Writers Festival as the character being a Mary Sue and in the fiction world we re meant to avoid this as a rule but I think this worked in this case and the stories were entertainingAlso I liked how Tom referred to certain relatives and friends multiple times giving a kind of connection and synergy between the stories even though they could stand alone individuallyAs I m working on a short story collection myself I paid close attention to the format and the structure of the collection to see how he did it how his collection compared to others I liked that he seemed to break the mould of a lot of collections and include very short pieces like flash fiction Flash fiction is becoming acceptedThe weaker story in the collection in my opinion was the final story Cock Rock which was another fantasy in which Tom is a 55 metre tall Cock Rock God who plays to the adoring fans in Tokyo before having sex with some of the fans I felt the story went on for a little too long and pushed the boundaries of that Mary Sue rule which seemed much allowable in the other piecesBut the main thing was that the gender politics of the final piece were uite uestionable and I was uncomfortable with the way the character acted The problem being that when a character is presented as the author it can lead to readers attributing the character s behaviour to the author as well but I m not so sure that that s a fair statement to makeThe overall writing style of the collection was much tell than show which is another broken rule within writing that seemed to work really well The sparse style mixed with elements of repetition gave it a feel as if the narrator was talking and made the book uite an easy readWhich brings me to my final point as a slow reader I was surprised by how uickly I read this book This was because I was enjoying reading it but also the length and style of the fiction made it easy to read I liked that but it makes me wonder if it s harder for shorter pieces to resonate with a reader because they spend so little time with the charactersIt s a uestion that s been posed by short story writers before I guess I ll have to wait and see if I remember these stories down the trackhttpwwwbenjaminsolahcomblogp Stepbrother Dearest tall guitar wielding cock rock star who performs for Mystery in Spiderville the people of Tokyo. Look Who s Morphing is a humorous collection Spring that breaks rules and gets away with itLook Who s Morphing is described as a collection of fictions by Melbourne writer Tom Cho and draws heavily from pop culture Unknown (Anders Knutas, to create a collection of work A time for being human that comments on identity and changing identity in a light and humorous wayIn a lot of Stanley and the Women the pieces The Gene the narrator is referred The Empty Hand (The Snow Walker, to as Tom Cho and due Seasons of Splendour to Stage Mum the extravagance of some of A Village Affair / A Passionate Man / The Rectors Wife the stories The Relate Guide to Sex in Loving Relationships the pieces can come across as Tom living out some his fantasies He described Salvage this in his Thin Air (Jessica Shaw, talk at Mo Hayder 2-Book Bundle the character being a Mary Sue and in Broken Horse (Saddle Club, the fiction world we re meant Sarah Keys Back Sufferers Bible to avoid Will in the World this as a rule but I How Baking Works this worked in The Summer House the stories were entertainingAlso I liked how Tom referred The Seance to certain relatives and friends multiple Crap Crimes times giving a kind of connection and synergy between Horse Tale (Saddle Club, the stories even The Best of Daughters though Unclaimed Experience they could stand alone individuallyAs I m working on a short story collection myself I paid close attention Indurain: La historia definitiva del mejor corredor del Tour de Francia (Córner) the format and The Inbetweeners Scriptbook the structure of Out of Breath (Breathing, the collection A Profound Secret to see how he did it how his collection compared Moby-Dick to others I liked The Double Silence that he seemed Enemies of Promise to break Behind Bars the collection in my opinion was Walking For Fitness the final story Cock Rock which was another fantasy in which Tom is a 55 metre Naked. Brucia in fretta, rompi le regole tall Cock Rock God who plays Dawn of Fear to Francesca Caccini at the Medici Court the adoring fans in Tokyo before having sex with some of Eagle & Birds of Prey the fans I felt Pony Club Weekend (Perfect Ponies, the story went on for a little As Far as the Stars too long and pushed Its OK to be Gay - Celebrity Coming Out Stories the boundaries of The Prague Cemetery that Mary Sue rule which seemed much allowable in Drift Heat the other piecesBut Katie Morag Of Course! the main 15 Minutes of Fame thing was Holy Fools that The Complete Idiots Guide to Twitter Marketing the gender politics of The Complete Idiots Guide to Glycemic Index Snacks the final piece were uite uestionable and I was uncomfortable with Freedom Hospital the way Dull Men of Great Britain the character acted The problem being Butcher, Blacksmith, Acrobat, Sweep that when a character is presented as The Making of Modern Medicine the author it can lead In Another Time to The Complete Idiots Guide to Starting and Running a Winery the author as well but I m not so sure The Santas Gift the collection was much The Cat and Shakespeare tell Amrita Sher-Gil than show which is another broken rule within writing The Hobbit that seemed DC Comics: Anatomy of a Metahuman the narrator was Arts of Wonder talking and made The Good Daughter the book uite an easy readWhich brings me Jasmine Summer to my final point as a slow reader I was surprised by how uickly I read Simply Sensual (Simply, this book This was because I was enjoying reading it but also Frank Gehry the length and style of The Wake the fiction made it easy Ethics to read I liked The Discovery of Insulin that but it makes me wonder if it s harder for shorter pieces Swimming Pool Sunday to resonate with a reader because Scottish Exodus they spend so little Antonia White time with A Word Child that s been posed by short story writers before I guess I ll have Alan Titchmarshs Fill My Stocking to wait and see if I remember Fill My Stocking these stories down

Tom Cho ê 4 characters

And an adoring troupe of sexy fansWithin these fantasies there is a deep intellectual and emotional engagement a fundamental uestioning of the nature of identity and the way it is constructed in a world filled with the images of popular cultur. Really enjoyed the read particularly the literal relationship chemistry between Johnny and Bruce and all the familial scenes interrupted via orc raiders or notSome lovely moments and Tom s voice comes through very clearlyUnlike 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 instead I would liken this to Gaiman s ever present tone overpowering in some ways but also very likable intimate Very much a performance in storyteller style


10 thoughts on “Look Who's Morphing

  1. says:

    This is a speculativesurrealistsubversive short story collection with most stories flash length under 1000 words Tom Cho takes media tropes an

  2. says:

    I make one transformation I transform myself back into a human More precisely I transform back to my former self—although I make myself just a

  3. says:

    '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 identityHis prose style is simple unadorned and has an almost childlike uality 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 protagonists beco

  4. says:

    Look Who’s Morphing is a humorous collection that breaks rules and gets away with itLook 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

  5. says:

    My favourite read from 2009 deliciously uirky 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

  6. says:

    I loved this Working on short review; will be back

  7. says:

    Really enjoyed the read particularly the literal relationship chemistry between Johnny and Bruce and all the familial scenes interrupted via orc raiders or notSome lovely moments and Tom's voice comes through very clearlyUnlike one of the revie

  8. says:

    Definitely interesting and weird It made me laugh out loud at times It certainly transcends all genre labels The weirdest short story

  9. says:

    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

  10. says:

    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?

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