3 thoughts on “Sick Dice – David Mathew

  1. I estimate starting a review of this before the end of May.
    It starts with DM’s RESIDUA that was first published in THE HA OF HA (2011).

    Just for the record, my earlier collaborative stories with DM: Don’t Drown the Man Who Taught You to Swim (Redsine 2002, Paranoid Landscapes 2006), Hailing Helene, Three Little Maids All In A Row, Babe in Boots and, a 3 way collab with MF Korn, The Curious Satchel.

  2. Shown below from here, my own real-time commentary in 2011 of the first story:


    Residua – by David Mathew

    “…he had decided that the Contents page would look different – the stories would be in a new order, perhaps.”

    The longest story in this book. In the book’s physical middle, too. A story leaking from and into many of the previous stories – and, if I discover further leaks later, perhaps from and into the following stories, too.  Not so much a series of narratives linking arms (but that’ too) but something far more pervasive. The story is compellingly complete in itself, too. The protagonist is in prison – and I have a definite instinctive sense that this is a real prison with realistically conveyed relationships and scenarios that go on in prison today.  A ‘genius loci’ that truly made me feel inside. And a prison cell reminiscent of this book’s earlier ‘stock cupboard’ and ‘Remove’ and this story’s own ‘cupboard under the stairs’. It also has the ‘chunky’ containment of ‘The Fifth Corner’. The ‘film-set’ of ‘The Useless’. The deliriousness of ‘Paper Cuts’, even the syringe as its spike or scissors. The battle with language of ‘It’s Only Words’ etc, i.e. struggling with apostrophes etc.  The Father / Son relationship of ‘Horror Stories for Boys’. And, perfectly following the previous story (‘The Follower’), it deals with a horror anthology that cross-sections a whole lifetime. And the ability to allow this anthology to leak into and from ‘Residua’ itself is stunning. I will not give away the ending, the nature of the crime, or the culprit – but there is an almost off-the-cuff statement on page 167 that I think is the most disarmingly shocking mere unprepared-for ‘mention’ in a work of fiction that I think I have ever encountered.  A throwaway that ricochets back like the ball bouncing off those earlier moving lorries… (22/8/11 – three hours later)

  3. Mia and Zoe

    “Mixed-race set-ups seem to have a built-in bomb, a dormant leprosy.”

    Mixed-animal/human, or mixed-dream/waking, too. I have made no secret that I picked up this book, metaphorically as it were, like picking up a disease such as Smilean or Somalian ebola, or tombola as an early form of bingo in Milton Keynes, numbers and equations, picked it up, yes, because I was smitten with this author’s THE PARRY AND THE LUNGE novel. And I hoped I would be smitten again. This M&Z novella, although having much of the same word-excitement, crazy coincidences, ‘parrydolia’, and sheer bravado and insidiousness of imagination, it does not come together but sort of scatters me rather than cohering me. Don’t get me wrong, it is a reading experience and a half! The shoe shop touchy feely between two women, the toes taken off in the Somalian backstory of one of the women, making any shoe fitting more difficult, the mad scientist stars over Bedfordshire matching those over Somalia. The implicit wars in both places, here gangs like Crew, there anarchies and power struggles, the Flannery O’Connor gorillas, followed by a version of John Travis talking dogs, here conspiring werewolves as girly rides, and the ease of transition between souls and dreams and bodies…

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