Confirmation-Biases or What!
FROM MY REVIEW OF THE ALEXANDRIA QUARTET HERE.
Scobie’s account of his father …
“ ‘My father was an early pioneer of motoring, old man. Early road races, flat out at twenty miles an hour — all that sort of thing. He had his own landau. I can see him now sitting behind the wheel with a big moustache. Colonel Scobie, M.C. A Lancer he was. My mother sat beside him, old man. Never left his side, not even for road races. She used to act as his mechanic. The newspapers always had pictures of them at the start, sitting up there in bee-keeper’s veils — God knows why the pioneers always wore those huge veils. Dust, I suppose.
‘The veils had proved their undoing. Rounding a hairpin in the old London-Brighton road-race his father’s veil had been sucked into the front axle of the car they were driving. He had been dragged into the road, while his companion had careered on to smash headlong into a tree.
‘The only consolation is that that is just how he would have liked to go out. They were leading by quarter of a mile.’”
…is probably my favourite passage in this book so far. It reminds me of a character in one of my own stories – AFTER YOU: a work that has just reappeared in ‘Dabbling With Diabelli’ – wherein a man drove such an old vintage car rally jalopy along with his wife, a man suffering with ‘floaters’ in the eyes (the floaters akin to those ‘veils’?) And one of his floaters was a face of a man with a moustache! You can’t make it up.
Someone also told me by phone on Sunday that he had had a sudden onset of eye floaters during the current lockdown.
FROM MY REVIEW OF Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction #66 HERE
‘A Grandmother Paradox’ Mae Ashley
“‘As soon as Dad finishes packing, we’re heading to the airport.’ Everyone still calls it that, even in situations like this, when we’re not flying anywhere.”
An intriguing and, yes, inspiringly synchronous story, a mind-fazing patchwork of time-travel paradoxes involving a character called Lorena, and temporalnauts switching time-places, using phone Apps to track and trace amid coincidental exchange programme participants, welding an ice cream truck as an art installation while in lockdown, I seem to recall, a variety of today’s lucid vivid covid dreaming as “the laundromat incident haunts you in the way a dream experience can even after you’ve woken up. Simultaneously hazy and urgent.” A “sort of contagion between travellers and their counterbalances.” And “some worrisome stories in the news, about medical research indicating the experience might not be entirely safe.”
“This whole business of travelling to the future – pah! – we’ll be lucky if there even is a future they haven’t destroyed.”
Again I would be confident to say that the above story was written well before the end of 2019.
FROM MY REVIEW OF THE DARK NEST BY SUE HARPER HERE
THE DARK WOOD
“if you want to take your revenge, you must dig two graves”.
A startling take on today’s R number, a notice written in Chinese.