A.A. Medina offered us an insight into his style with his short story collection ITCH, and his work with Dustin Schyler Yoak on the wonderful magazine, Aphotic Realm. With SIPHON comes Medina’s first venture into a full blown work, such as a novella/novel.
It tells the story of Dr. Gary Phillips, the resident hematopathologist at Claybrook Medical Center, a lonely man struggling with the duress of an all work and no play lifestyle. Burdened with an unhealthy infatuation with his co-worker, a burning disdain for his boss, and an abusive relationship with his grandfather, Gary just can’t catch a break. That is, until a workplace accident ushers in a bizarre, but empowering experience that evokes a new sense of self, forcing repressed memories to surface while encouraging him to pursue his fantasies with unconventional methods.
Straight from the opening pages it’s easy to see that Gary Phillips is an unlikable character, although this is an intentional, and clever, approach. Gary’s relationship with his grandfather plays like the traditional ‘person is abused by father figure until they break,’ and while at times it comes across as stuff you seen before, Medina is clever enough to hold it together to drive the story forward.
It’s crisp and precise, and the story breezes by freely, never interrupted by clunky prose or flat scenes, a testament to Medina’s writing style. It’s grotesque and horrifying, and rightly so. For a premise, and subject matter, such as this, there cannot be any cop-out; and there isn’t, and it shows the guts and belief that Medina has in his work.
Siphon is a wonderful piece of work. It’s gortesque and horrifying, and flows by effortlessly. It has us intrigued for what the future holds for A. A. Medina.
**** out of *****