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Book Review of The Inner City by Karen Heular

Published by ChiZine Publications in 2012

Genre: Fantasy

Stars: 3.5


The Inner City by Karen Heular is a short story anthology covering an exploration into the odd and fantastic. It might be heard to pin down these tales and place them in any standard category. I had not read a Chi-Zine Publication for a long while and they have always been one of my favorite contemporary publishers.




I had been saving this and read a few stories over the recent holiday. I bounced around between two books and came back to this one. Upon returning to Arizona. I started in on the rest of the anthology. I found the stories inventive and unique. If you could place the stories in a theme, it could be they tended toward internal tales dealing with more mind than body. Self-inspection over acting out eternally.


The first tale grabbing me was The Inner City in which Lena looks for a job by following hunches and leads instead the typical paths. As she moved deeper into the cooperation, she will discover they could give her an offer she can’t refuse.




The Large People proved to be quite strange. Patricia finds a group tall office workers growing in the earth. Once they are fully grown, they march into town with interesting results.


Another I liked was Creating Cow. This is a Horror story with a bit of misplaced comedy as well. More action in this one and some twists. A young vegetarian tries to create a cow with slabs of steak and hamburger. When it works, she finds it an almost impossible task to keep it hidden. When it begins to kill, she does not how to proceed.




Heuler put a lot of thought into her short creations. Possible issues with this might be how odd these stories are. If you are looking for more action packed traditional fantasy or urban fantasy, this is not your standard fair. In a few places, I lost the thread of the story, but could be drawn back in.


If you like original stories that help you question reality, you will get some kicks out of this one. This mind candy worked well on my vacation and is a nice addition to my Chi-Zine collection.




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