Hybrid Creatures, Matthew Baker’s sharp and innovative collection, follows four very different protagonists as they search for, and struggle with, connection: an amateur hacker attempts to track down his vanished mentor; a math prodigy, the child of divorced parents, struggles with being torn between his two families; a composer takes a spontaneous trip to Nashville while mourning his husband’s death and gets trapped on a hotel rooftop with a hipster; and a wayward philosopher accepts a job working for an industrial farming corporation. Through-out, Baker explores the inner dialogue of failed, floundering, and successful bonds between strangers, among family and friends, and even within a person.
Pairing the emotional pursuit of connection with multiple forms of communication, Baker weaves the languages of HTML, mathematics, mu-sical notations, and propositional logic into his storytelling in order to unveil nuances of experiences and emotions. This poignant formal invention articulates loneliness, grief, doubt, and comfort in ways that are inaccessible through traditional language alone.
In both form and content, Baker captures the complexities of breaking and forming connections with other people, and the various lan-guages we use to navigate this inescapable human need—resulting in a moving exploration of interpersonal bonds.