WONDROUS STRANGE - 2001
By Robin Spriggs
Circle Myth Press
ISBN: 0 96342960 4
Right off, I have a confession to make. My very first Stoker recommendation, as a newly active member of HWA, was for this book in the category "fiction collection."
I guess that tells you what I think of WONDROUS STRANGE.
Some writers are better long distance runners (novelists) and some better sprinters (masters of short fiction).
Me, I think I'm a marathon runner at heart. I don't know how well Robin
Spriggs will do with his first novel, but he is already a master of the
short form. I have referred to him elsewhere as a "linguistic acrobat" who works without a net, and I still think that's an apt description.
Some folks will be put off by the many different styles contained in this one volume; personally, I was just blown away by the man’s versatility. "Mr. Aberyswynth and the Three Weird Sisters" has the moaning, languid ache of a tale told by the youthful Ray Bradbury. "Her and Him in the Cold, Dark Underneath" feels a bit like the first incarnation of Joe R. Lansdale, when Joe was still in a nasty frame of mind.
"Bugs" is, well... strange. "Mother and Sun" will spook and then melt even the most cynical heart. “Cinema Surrendari” is a delightful and touching extended work, which has also received several Stoker recommendations.
I could go on, but I won't.
There is a bittersweet feel to this collection, because it actually means something.
It reminded me of days long dust, when imagination was more effective
than shock and smooth, "twist" endings were still appreciated; when "Alfred
Hitchcock Presents" and "The Twilight Zone" informed our spirit, and our
collective consciousness at least feigned innocence. Remember? Way back
when good writing first made us all want to write.
This is that kind of book, and you’ll be reading it more than once.
WONDROUS STRANGE gets four bookwyrms.
This review copyright 2001 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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