Cooking with Off/Kilter Volume 2

June 9, 2021

We're back in the Off/Kilter kitchen, cooking up a batch of recommendations for those with discerning tastes that lean towards the slightly strange. But first, an amuse bouche! Today's ingredients include death goddess rituals, dystopian cities, water walking, people who give birth to cocoons, radium-induced superpowers and more. Hungry yet? Dig in!

Stay weird and stay well,

—Your Off/Kilter Host, Leyla T.

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Music From a Strange Planet by Barbara Black (Caitlin Press)

This collection of stories from Barbara Black is the perfect mix of vividly strange and philosophical, taking readers to the softest and darkest places of the human heart to expose our tender vulnerabilities. Like a rich mole sauce with a depth of earthy flavours that are at once smokey and sweet.


Key Ingredients:
-Kafka-esque dreams of becoming a beetle
-Water walking
-Bio-engineered people and large cocoons
-Dystopian cities and coma victims





Stoop City by Kristyn Dunnion (Biblioasis)

Kristyn Dunnion masters the speculative, illuminating elements of the strange to create something that's somehow all the more gritty and real. Stoop City is a total reimagining of community, showing us that despite how very different we are, it is the delicate human threads within each of our own unique stories that binds us together. Reminiscent of that one street hot dog vendor who looks kind of sketchy but that the locals know is the best on the block.


Key Ingredients:
-Condo destroying cats
-Teen queens plagued by Catholic guilt
-Ghosty girlfriends and scam artist boyfriends
-Death goddess rituals






A Natural History of Transition by Callum Angus (Metonymy Press)

This collection sets free the notion that trans people can have only one transformation. A fantastical look at the self's greatest possibilities when a touch of magic is employed.


Key Ingredients:
Trans characters who:
-grow as tall as buildings
-turn into mountains
-solve hometown mysteries
-give birth to cocoons






Radium Girl by Sofi Papamarko (Wolsak and Wynn)


In this dark and wonderful collection from Sofi Papamarko we are gifted with a cast of unforgettable characters through 12 stories that highlight the ways in which we confront life's precarious boundaries—coping with and evolving through the most difficult of circumstances. Like nervously trying sushi for the first time and then realizing that all you've ever wanted in life is to order that sushi boat meant for 60 people, just for yourself.


Key Ingredients:
-Teenage conjoined twins
-Funeral crashers
-Predatory magicians
-Marie Curie's subconscious mind
-Superhuman resistance to toxic levels of radiation






Erase and Rewind by Megan Bell (Book*hug Press)


Told through the voices of several different female protagonists, this collection finds its own balance in a world that is perpetually off kilter. These voices show us what it's really like to grow up and live as a woman in a skewed society. Like experimenting with a new recipe by adding a touch of bright acidity to balance the flavour.


Key Ingredients:
-The prodigy of neglectful superheroes
-Deadly viruses that threaten to wipe out North America
-Teen athletes impervious to the threat of death
-Assault survivors who can rewind time





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