Geek Love and the Art it Inspires

A friend recommended Katherine Dunn's Geek Love (1989) to me a little over a month ago and it instantly went into my library queue. The copy I received was the orange cover with the wonderful deceptive lettering, for this book is not about today's "Geek" you read about in pop culture mags and online articles, but instead:

Geek Love is the story of the Binewskis, a carny family whose mater- and paterfamilias set out–with the help of amphetamine, arsenic, and radioisotopes–to breed their own exhibit of human oddities. There’s Arturo the Aquaboy, who has flippers for limbs and a megalomaniac ambition worthy of Genghis Khan . . . Iphy and Elly, the lissome Siamese twins . . . albino hunchback Oly, and the outwardly normal Chick, whose mysterious gifts make him the family’s most precious–and dangerous–asset.

And from the description to the last page, it was love. It forever will be brought up in conversations about Carnivale or my favorite The X-Files episode "Humbug," and, of course, my fascination with human Chimeras. The book is not for everyone. I, myself, squirmed through a few passages or even had to scold Olympia Binewski in my head a few times, but despite the rough parts, I still found the beauty in the characters and the world Dunn created 25 years ago.

The moment I set it down I was online looking up articles about it (highly recommend Wired's Geek Love at 25: How a Freak Family Inspired Your Pop Culture Heroes posted in March of this year) and, of course fan art. Why an art, you ask? Well simply put, when you finish experiencing something you love, many people want to seek out others who feel the exact same way.  I've given credit to the illustrators and linked where you can ind the original source material. I do not own these works, but share them for their beauty and their homage to the oddly wonderful book, Geek Love.

 by Allison Kerek