Feather: Tales Of Isolation And Descent by David Rix. Book review(1)
FEATHER: TALES OF ISOLATION AND DESCENT, by David Rix, Eibonvale Press, trade pb, £8.99 www.davidjrix.co.uk.
Reviewed by Stewart Horn
We first encounter the eponymous Feather as a teenage girl, ostensibly living with her reclusive and abusive father in a shack between the sea and a nuclear power station. In fact she is almost feral, foraging in the woods and combing the beach, eating what she can. She and her father live in dread of the measuring men, though who they are, or whether they exist at all, are never satisfactorily resolved.
She then appears in each story in this excellent collection, sometimes as a foil to the protagonist, sometimes in a more major role, often as an influence or muse to a creative artist of some sort.
The stories vary widely in subject matter and mood, some gothic, others more dreamlike. However, they share several recurring themes – Rix is preoccupied with the nature of creative art, especially music, the meaning and nature of what we create and whether it’s alive, and what responsibility we have for it. And the sea features strongly again and again. Most of his characters lack control over their lives, and Feather herself drifts like flotsam, washing up in each tale and playing her part until the sea reclaims her.
This book is complex, multi-layered and thought-provoking, with some beautiful and evocative language. He has sacrificed some clarity and coherence, but this is a unique reading experience. Highly recommended.
Round up of recent Awards newsComments Off
The 2011 Bram Stoker Award winners and Vampire Novel of the Century Award winner have been announced by the Horror Writers’ Association HERE. BFS member Allyson Bird secures the Award of Superior Achievement in a First Novel for Isis Unbound (Dark Regions Press). Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend was presented with the one-off Vampire Novel of the Century Award.
Shortlisted works for the 2012 Arthur C. Clarke Award have been announced as follows:
Several SFFH authors have been long-listed for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2012, including Nina Allan, Robert Shearman, Simon Kurt Unsworth, David Rix and Dave Jeffery. Full details HERE.
The 2011 Aurealis Awards finalists have been announced. The full list of finalists can be found on the SFScope website HERE. The Aurealis Awards “recognise the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writers”.
Finally, the five judges for the 2012 Philip K. Dick Award have been named as Bruce Bethke, Sydney Duncan, Daryl Gregory, Bridget McKenna and Paul Witcover. See details HERE.
First collection for Jeff Gardiner from Eibonvale(1)
A Glimpse of the Numinous is Jeff Gardiner‘s first collection, available in hardback and paperback from Eibonvale Press, with cover art by David Rix.
“A girl born with a number for a name, destined to become a new messiah – a seagull who becomes a household pet and national celebrity – flashing patterns of light as a key to your darkest fears – an impoverished family with a murderous secret.
In these fourteen stories of this his first collection, Jeff Gardiner shows a startling range of styles and imagination, from visceral horror to lyrical literary prose. Keen psychological insight is allied to a shrewd knowledge of ancient myth and mysticism. Gardiner’s recurring interest is in religion and spirituality and the strange traces these almost outlawed strangers have left on modern urban life. His characters are often dangerous and unreasonable, their actions unpredictable, a far cry from the rational universe we like to think we share. Look again at your world and let Gardiner show the glimpses you’ve been missing of the doors that beckon you to other ways of seeing. The ominous, the luminous… the numinous.”
Full details from the Eibonvale Press website HERE