There’s ways of showing your follow-up book is going harder than the first, and then there’s calling it Here We Fucking Go. HWFG is the darker sibling to Hings, McQueer’s first collection of short stories, in which some big personalities from the first book have new adventures and the ‘drink, drugs, and knees on backward’ (my own summary) of Hings become the meaning of Brexit, the horrible truth about moths, and fighting Kim Jong-Un.
Hings was hilarious and uncanny; HWFG takes the black comedy up a few notches, with serial killer haircuts and the threat of a giant squid looming over two warring friends. Mostly the stories are very short with great payoffs, making them easy to dip into, and there are a few longer ones that may be my favourites. ‘The Biggest Riddy’ feels like those That Mitchell and Webb Look sketches about The Event with a dash of Black Mirror and is expertly pitched to be dystopian and weird. ‘Leathered’ combines the horror of the modern political world with the idea of the ramifications of social media, all wrapped up in a ridiculous narrative.
HWFG may be better than Hings, with gleeful black comedy and a sense throughout the book that the real world is terrible and unbelievable, so short stories might as well be too. Buy it for everyone you know who likes weird dark comedy or leave it in your bathroom for guests to pick up on the toilet and be freaked out by.
[cheers to 404 Ink for the proof copy, and you can preorder HWFG here]