To follow Des’s review, which at the time of posting is still in-progress, click here.
Here’s what he has to say about my contribution, the novelette MEN PLAYING GHOSTS, PLAYING GOD:
“But the tunnel does not forget the train; it embraces its fading echoes and in infinitesimal ways quietly shapes itself around them.”
In contrast to the young students in the previous work and somehow benefiting as a separate story from that stark contrast, this poignant ‘old people’ tale has, as its main protagonist, a bereaved, but still love-seeking widower. He and his cronies trap the earlier fiction’s dark dimension-now-by-another-name and lock it up in the boiler room that is in the old age institution to which they have been consigned by their families.
“In the early days after Mary, I refused to shave and took to roaming the house wearing her bathrobe, until the scent of her faded and the stench of me took over.”
This Dines story starts as a classic ghost story which should appeal to readers who love classic ghost stories and it could have been written by May Sinclair or Elizabeth Bowen, but then, slowly, amid many really stunning sentences with crafted conceits, it becomes something else, but still ghostly, still haunting, but more ironic and absurdist. But this absurdism, as I see it, miraculously does not diminish the ghostliness. This story is on the brink of becoming a story that will appeal as a classic to many different readers with different tastes in the horror and supernatural genre. On the brink of outlasting itself, if that is not one conceit too far.
“…and I breathed again, not an ocean from my lungs but mist on the windowpane.”
Let me tell you about the time four old ghosts held death captive in a basement. Let me tell you what that power can do to a man and the sacrifice he will make for the gift of time. But first, let me tell you how we became ghosts in the first place.
– MEN PLAYING GHOSTS, PLAYING GOD
The new issue of Black Static (#35) is available now from TTA Press. Stories by Daniel Mills, Steve Rasnic Tem, Michael Griffin, Caspian Gray, Jason Gould, and Carole Johnstone. The cover artwork is by Richard Wagner, who also provides the interior art for my contribution, the 9800-word novelette, MEN PLAYING GHOSTS, PLAYING GOD. It is particularly satisfying for me to see this story in print because the character, setting, and a (very) small part of the plot first appeared in an unfinished story of mine from 2004, OF BEE AND UNDERTOW. For 8/9 years I’ve wanted to find out what happened to Henry Eddowes in that residential care home, and now – now I know.
Other stories coming soon are THE SPACE THAT RUNS AWAY WITH YOU (novelette) in Crimewave 12 (publication date still to be announced) and A TRICK OF THE NIGHT (short story) in Fireside Magazine (due Dec 2013/Jan 2014).
It’s been a quiet time for me on the writing front (personal issues, Life, call it what you will) but I’m feeling reenergised and ready to get back to some black business… Indeed, I have a number of projects and ideas in the pipeline that just need prioritising before I mention them on here. So, expect some more updates soon.