Steve Lowe has a remarkable talent to write stories that are at once grotesque, imaginative and absolutely funny, but that have a moral dimension to them too. In You Are Sloth, he uses a bold style, told in a second-person point of view, to tell the story of the time you click a link in a spam e-mail, subject line “you are sloth” and find yourself transformed into a sloth.
But why? Why would this happen? Why a sloth?
That is the mystery, and it’s up to you and your “friends”, Randy (maybe retarded) and Cross (probably an a-hole) to solve it. Will you find out who the deranged individual known only as “The Spammer” is, or why they chose to target you and turn you into a sloth? Perhaps slower than usual (thanks to your newfound slothiness), you will begin to unravel this mystery.
Lowe is no stranger to transformations in his writing, as his debut novella, Muscle Memory, dealt with a similar concept, as people found they had switched bodies with their (sexual) partners. Using that experience, Lowe effortlessly creates a world in which you can easily suspend disbelief that you have in fact become a sloth. The characterisation of all the players is superb, each personality shines through in their decisions and actions, even yours (slothy though it is).
Of course, much like in his awesome story, King of the Perverts, Lowe is not merely telling a story that will make you giddy with laughter, dizzy with nausea and slightly bemused as you become aroused by deranged and disgusting things. He also tells a story about inner strength, personal morality and friendships overcoming bizarre situations brought on by an absurd world that has some strange beliefs and objectives. People look for answers in obtuse places, and Lowe recognises this, and masterfully recreates the absurdity of it all in hyperbolic regions of storytelling space.
Where the previously mentioned King of the Perverts was about personal growth and morals, You Are Sloth! is about self-knowledge and acceptance, of course, that sensitive side is hidden beneath a layer of humour and depravity few other authors can fathom, let alone descend into.
Lowe has done it again and I highly recommend this work.