Knife Fight and Other Struggles

David Nickle. ChiZine Publications (Diamond, U.S. dist.; HarperCollins Canada, Canadian dist.), $16.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-77148-304-9
While his past work has embraced the genre, it's not entirely accurate to label award-winning author David Nickle's newest collection as "horror." Yes, tropes are at play that support the classification: throughout the tales frolic possessed babies, vampires, and house-destroying worms, "[crawling] over the floor lamp, tiny bodies making an uneven pattern of curling silhouettes on the shade…[covering the] leather recliner, like a new, writhing layer of upholstery." Yet the collection as a whole belies its category. It isn't "Boo!" horror; this is the horror of uncertainty, of helplessness, of traditions and change. In Nickle's fevered imagination political disputes are settled not with debate but with blades, the combatants "stripped naked to the waist, polished with a thin slick of goose fat." The stories are sui generis in presentation, veering from the discombobulating nightmare that is "Basements" to the squid-laden eco-satire "Wylde's Kingdom" to the sci-fi love of "Loves Means Forever." When it comes to this book, only two things are certain; the stories never travel where you expect, and David Nickle is a monumental talent. Agent: Monica Pacheco, The Anne McDermid Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/20/2014
Release date: 01/01/2015
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 300 pages - 978-1-77148-305-6
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