Group Read 27The Big Book of Science Fiction

Story #64 of 107: “Sporting with the Chid” by Barrington J. Bayley

“Sporting with the Chid” by Barrington J. Bayley is another story from the 1970s that I found disturbing. I’ve never understood why people like horror, especially the gory kind. The story first appeared in the collection The Seed of Evil, and I think that title tells us a lot. The VanderMeers in their introduction led me to believe Bayley would be experimental, creative, and New Wave. Instead, I thought “Sporting with the Chid” to be a straightforward old-fashioned science fiction tale but with a good bit of yuckiness. If you love your horror movies with loads of exposed body parts, then you’ll probably enjoy this story.

“Sporting with the Chid” felt like it was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe and Philip Jose Farmer, especially Farmer’s porn books from Essex House. Not really my cup of tea. I wonder if Bayley grew up reading EC Comics? Now that I’m older Fredric Wertham seems less like a crank. I’m trying not to be too judgmental, but Bayley’s ghoulish fascination with vivisection makes me wonder about him. But then, I also find people’s fascination with video game violence just as questionable.

James Wallace Harris, 12/27/21

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