The Dark Fantastic

The Dark Fantastic - Ed Gorman Just got a great condition used paperback of this in the mail today from Amazon. I really enjoyed the couple of Ed Gorman shorts I've read so far, immense anticipation for this one!

* Update *

On the third story, and my hopes for great things are diminishing fast.

The first story is a 60-plus page novella about a blind girl with healing powers that goes absolutely nowhere. Strike one.

The second story starts with a lonely salesman driving at night in the midwest when he encounters a beautiful woman hitchhiking in the middle of nowhere. He picks her up. The radio says a man was murdered. She did it. And she's a ghost. He drops her off at the graveyard. The end. Seriously.

The third story starts with a lonely salesman driving in the day in the midwest when he encounters a beautiful woman hitchhiking in the middle of nowhere...

God damn it!

The writing is great, but these stories are seriously lacking so far in just about every other department. I'm going to keep reading on, but with lowered expectations.

* Update *

Whew. At the least the hitchiker in the third story wasn't a ghost. Another well written story, but completely predictable. More hard-boiled thriller than horror.

And I bravely soldier on...

The fourth story, RITE OF PASSAGE, is a Conan/Robert E. Howard-type sword and sworcery morality tale. Nicely written but not much else.

Fifth story, Masque, is less of a story and just a few pages of vignette...could be part of an interesting story, but it's not.

Sixth story, Dark Muse, is actually pretty good. More atmospheric noir than horror, it resonated with me. Good, not great.

* Update *

Finally, two very enjoyable stories back-to-back.

SYNANDRA is a futuristic time-travelling tales, and a quote from Philip K. Dick at the beginning couldn't make it any clearer as to it's source of inspiration. Not a lot happens, but it does have an intriguing mythos described and is an overall good read. Leaves you wanting more.

That's followed up by a 1800's western-ish tale, JUNIOR, that's a hell of a lot of fun. Was nice to read a short set in a similar timeframe as the last thing I wrote (ARBOREATUM) and see what someone else did with it. A wicked good revenge short.