Philosophical Fictions by William Charlton

MOUNT ABRAXAS PRESS Apocalyptical Publisher MMXX

My previous reviews of this author: &
and of this publisher:

When I read this book, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below…

13 thoughts on “Philosophical Fictions by William Charlton

  1. 75FD5AA0-2167-4935-88B4-A7D72A7B09E9 Leaving description of the discrete poster and its obverse till later, the book itself is a highly worthy example of this publisher’s acclaimed customary art-design and luxurious architecture, with over 100 pages. Mine is numbered 5/100.


    “Oh yes, at Quick Solutions we always carry spares.”

    This delightfully puckish story seems ever on the brink of something else. Authorially well-characterised Harriet, at 60, returns from a world wide trip, just before Covid-19 broke out, I guess. A near-absurdism, a series of near-old-fashionedness of dial ups, a near-defunctness of modern computer devices gone wrong, with near-unknown references to computer parts like ‘tower’, an eventual domino-rally collapse from a computer fault to landline phone to electricity to water plumbing, involving a series of politically correct characters, till this narrative itself has its own neat sleeve welded on to the pipeline between itself and its reader with a brilliant deadpan ending that I will not divulge here. And I wonder about Harriet’s dead Aunt, too. Even the dead have on-line facilities, these days, I wonder. Also, the character called Alecto, should that not have been Alexa?

  3. FREDA

    “…her slightly metaphysical uncertainties about the outcome…”

    This is a perfect match for my happenstance concurrent review of the Uncertainties book half an hour ago here. The entrancing story of fair-skinned grey-eyed Freda’s face she sees in a mirror as a young woman, the face’s own autonomous being with which Freda converses, and the less fair-complexioned man that, encouraged by the face, comes into both their lives. The relentless onset of certain perhaps unwelcome realities when coupled with sunlight as a heliotropic play of reflected logic and counter-logic makes this something truly special.


    “Perhaps because of the final uncertainty they said that his characters came to life.”

    A likeable, thought-provoking meta-melodrama that plays with twentieth century history and the writing of popular novels that cross over between reality and fiction, with sophisticated and powerful characters and roads with falling rocks and scenic Yorkshire dales and would-be sprained ankles and historical Romantic as well as Romanian scandals or intrigues. No wonder some of the characters towards the end go to church ‘to meet their Creator.’ And the English constable stood with “rocklike immobility”…

  5. ‘A headless statue of Hadrian with a kneeling hostage’ – the name of the grandson in the story below being Antinous.


    …and with my having mentioned an Unfinished Story above yesterday, a boy today complains to his Grandpa about the story that Grandpa had been writing: “I couldn’t see how it would ever have an ending. Did you give it an ending?”

    A complex story of a simple man or a simple story of a complex man, where the latter is the Grandpa and Dreamcatcher who was once a farmer but now learns to write, and this work tells of his relationship with his family. An old man being patronised who does manage to finish it, I guess, by taking the reader hostage…

    “Catching words and putting them down – it was like fishing.”

  6. GAIA

    I notice, by glancing ahead, that the next story has ‘slice’ in its title. And this current short work is a slice of a vision, with all the unfinished implications that a slice often has. A disorientated walk on an island of olive trees reaching a plateau with a ruined temple and further plateau with a disused church a fence and a gate. Even the two possible typos in the text somehow seemed to work themselves right, beyond disorientation. And this work’s title gave me a clue as to the momentous and momentary vision of an ancient supine figure in the grass, neither dead nor alive. A Dead Monument To Once Ancient Hope? As Cloistered by Ravelled Bones & Ruined Walls?



    “‘The fewer people there are around,’ put in Pam, ‘the surer you can be that someone sees you.’”

    This is a novelette featuring the wilds of upper Scotland and also Julia, a philosophy student at Loughborough, and her father as painter crushed by a tree when painting a gale-torn hill with trees, who sends her on an audit trail of ancient artefacts and a sort of Enid Blyton Famous Five adventure of supposed rogues and an island cave (except Julia is a grown up not a child) mixed with a sort of Ian McEwan AI Robot tale culminating in a Socratic dialogue about time travel and the four dimensions, a dialogue involving a slice of ice cream as a prop served up by a centenarian woman with yellow teeth. The ending, meant to be surprise to the reader, is sort of predictable. Just as predictable as ice cream either melts or is eaten. Or is put back to refreeze.

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