Over the Darkened Landscape

Derryl Murphy. Fairwood (www.fairwoodpress.com), $15.99 trade paper (198p) ISBN 978-1-933846-35-4
Murphy assembles 13 of his previously published tales, which cover a substantial part of the speculative spectrum, in this excellent collection. A Canadian sensibility is clear even in tales set in outer space. “Northwest Passage,” one of the strongest and most optimistic pieces in the collection, borrows smartly from Jack London. Characters include children like Barrie’s Lost Boys, suddenly forced to grow up, in “More Painful than the Dreams of Other Boys”; talking storybook animals in “The Day Michael Visited Happy Lake”; a disturbed version of H.G. Wells in “The Cats of Bethlem”; and a heroic astronaut calling to say farewell to his wife in “Last Call.” The diverse characters latch on to readers and compel them to seek the end of the story; sometimes the result is bleak, as in “Body Solar,” or creepy, as in the bordering-on-horror story “Clink Clank.” Murphy’s range is impressive, as is his ability to immerse readers in a variety of worlds. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/24/2012
Genre: Fiction
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