By Joshua Grant, Senior Columnist
To say that Jon Paul Fiorentino’s latest book, I’m Not Scared of You or Anything, is a book of short stories isn’t entirely accurate.
Yes, there are short stories in it, and all of them are really good reads. But the short stories are punctuated by unorthodox content: quotes from Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek superimposed over drawings of the 1985 film Teen Wolf; a similar set of quotes from the TV show Girls over images of Star Trek’s Mr. Spock; a section of life advice tweets; a “Christian” Archie comic where characters speak only in Foucault text; and an interview with the writer’s mom. All sections are accompanied by pencil crayon drawings from Maryanna Hardy.
But most of all, there are laughs, which emanate from the page into your eyeholes, from where they are transmitted to the brain for a process that ends in the sort of chuckles that force themselves from the sides of your mouth and make fellow transit-riders stare at you, discomfited.
Fiorentino’s half-sincere tone and the sheer variety of content stuffed into the book’s 171 pages make the experience akin to reading a really good Tumblr page. Perhaps this is a glimpse at what the Internet would be like if people were much smarter, much funnier, and not horrible. It makes readers ask big questions: what would you do if the dude from Iron Maiden wanted to take you to the strip club? Should you make friends with your fake-Russian martial arts instructor? You know—the important stuff.
You don’t have to like short stories to like I’m Not Scared of You or Anything. Anyone who has a pulse and a healthy love of chaos will get something out of this.