Des Lewis’s Gestalt Real-Time Review of Black Static #35

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.”

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