41 thoughts on “To Drown In Dark Water – Steve Toase

  1. I am not new to this author’s works, having written this once about one of them: “A wonderful reading experience that transcends reading itself and one that will make you inspired as well as sad. Only reading it will justify the experience of so doing.”
    But having rubbed shoulders with his work heretofore, does not mean that I have yet scratched beyond its surface. And now having been ‘called’ by this book’s aura or deep water undertow, I guess I may scratch further than I need and be about to bite off more than I can chew…

    CALL OUT

    “Here was just another creature. Shaped by story and drunken bragging but a creature of flesh and bone, nonetheless.”

    But is that creature the actual ‘boggart’ or ‘bargest’ in the barn that’s bragged about in these Yorkshire dale parts by the various farmers et al, or is the creature one of the farmers theirselves?
    A ‘veterinary’ called Malcolm is called out to find out!
    I need to bank up the old sludge and shit that have cold-baked my mind’s floor to take this book into safer territory with a more pliable channel, I guess. Then turn my back.

  2. 95CFF3FB-026F-4AC5-8C19-3BE43033E8B8

    From ‘The Apple Tree’ (1931) by Elizabeth Bowen
    (I used the above image in a previous review a few days ago here.)

    STREUOBSTWIESE

    “This is not Fortean, but a threat.”

    I am left speechless by this episodic prose transfiguration in 2018 of the narrator into the installation artist of ‘sweetened insects’ et al, via the auspices of Kate with a seemingly Fortean power of plagues, with her having been lockdowned for 5 years in the apple-trading house near the eponymous orchard world that seems to blend the soul of Elizabeth Bowen with Thomas Ligotti, then with the perceived added soul of Toase, while even crushing apples like Berlepsch or Weirouge…
    Ringed by salt crosses and much else to trammel any of the gutters that had been formed for you by the previous story above and by the sappy-fingertipped story in the momentous simultaneous review here. Honey, piano, hares, wasps, bees, wilted blossoms….
    Left almost speechless.

    “…runs a fingernail across my face. The mouth is not mine,…”

    96FA7681-4628-480D-8071-F86C81024202

    A photograph used for the book review here in 2015.

  3. 9F597FCF-5609-4AA6-8E60-769FCF64EEA0THE KROMLAU GAMBIT

    “Soft skin trapped under the man’s fingernails as he scratched.”

    An ingenious story, no mistake. But if I tell you the details of its own ritual magic upon the reader AS a story, a story ABOUT the ritual enacted within it, then it would spoil its effect. Open yourself to it, and trust in it, and it will duly tempt you to culmination, as it did to me, I assure you. Suffice to say it is about the early Soviet endeavours to put a live entity from Earth into space, with various well-drawn characters and the ritual’s eclectic ingredients that in their potential impurity will purify the path towards space of the soul chosen to travel that path. You have no idea what is in store for you. And who was disguised as the first dog in space? And for what arcane reason? In hindsight, as an added spin-off, that arcane reason was surely also to create a synergy of genuine connections with the simultaneous Undertow book I am reviewing (linked above) — inadvertent or, more likely, preternatural connections between them so far. “Depictions of flayed gods and hollowed out gods.”

  4. DRY LAND

    A flash flood fiction with the dark water transposed to those men it drowned, echoing, too, the gutters earlier in this book, including the man-made ground drainage in the first story. A strange inverse irrigation, a pan endemic respiratory culvert…

  5. WINTER HOME

    “‘Tradition must be upheld.’
    ‘They need to know the truth.’”

    Lena’s defiance to defend truth against tradition’s collusion with man-made global change is powerfully flayed and flensed not only by the intrinsic pungent and incisive words but also, at first with a promise of an ice glacier’s purity, words of this text that contain Lena herself but containing also the conniving knives upon a giant (self-sacrificed?) Walrus, the knives of the Glacier Masonry in a public act of welcoming Winter, words that eventually, through Lena’s own word-wrung actions, disassemble the blue purity of the knives’ goal by the simple act of her own true ritual to quench the Masonry’s fake-news ritual. (Consider culling the ironic comparison with the collusive purity and impurity involved in the blue sky thinking of this book’s earlier Soviet spaceshot?)

  6. My review of the next story is from the context here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2020/02/09/shadows-tall-trees-8/

    ===============================================
    GREEN GROWS THE GRIEF by Steve Toase

    “Just dust and dirt and silence. Soon she’d forget the sound of his voice.”

    … in strange resonance of dust in tune with the quote I chose above for the Tem story. Here the father himself has now died, and how his son and daughter cope with it, and with their own strained relationship. I can’t imagine my own wonderful son and daughter acting like that! But all humanity resonates with the rest of humanity like a gestalt, I guess. Like a seed in a sepulchre.
    Here, we see the situation through the eyes of the daughter, as she and her brother scatter the father’s ashes in the now derelict greenhouses that he loved through life. And how this make-up of bone and ground self potentially grows and becomes him again – ironically in cancerously olfactory and fibrous tune with another plant that killed him (tobacco) – as she harvests a gradual gestalt of his bodyself in whatever form of vegetation it produces.
    But the outcome is for us to simply honour the memory of those we loved with merely a bit of them as symbolic token, I sense. Really truly, another Toase work for me to cherish. And also it is channelled through my vague memory of a Clark Ashton Smith story that I hinted-at earlier above in this short review of the Toase story.

  7. NOT ALL THE COAL THAT IS DUG WARMS THE WORLD

    “Why don’t you fit a zip?”

    A dystopic world where old ailing people who run out of savings submit their bodies to the authorities for some form of MINEral farming, a hook and tench metabolism that somehow melds with Birnie’s zip alongside and the green harvesting in the previous story after death, but here it is, before death, a brown field reaping or raping by digging into one’s body with a special rancid diet to encancer a bezoar of would-be lanthanum and to produce, say, the ingredients to make our mobile phones, a world where a man “wretched” as well as retched to welcome winter home. With all due felt flaying and flensing… A poignant portrait of one old man and his daughter, with many deliciously overtasty Toases of text. To drown not so much in dark water but within the concept of one’s own deliberately silted-up body.

  8. 32814103-2ED2-4702-9EB1-FAA17909FC32CHILDREN OF THE ROTTING STRAW

    “Get dressed. We have to harvest the sky today.”

    “Sarah looked over, but could not see my expression behind the mask, as I could not see hers.”

    Narrator as mother, Sarah her daughter, in mutually climbed timescales of existence, caring for each other beyond the straw masks that is the seeming sky’s harvestable Fortean plagues of the Streuobstwiese, here not apples but the skin’s scar-seared fibres as once welcome wool strands while, despite this, enabling scarecrows into this production line or ladder to become entities with gradual un-bifurcating legs into single sticks as our ulterior selves… we are our own enemies that we are made to face so as to bring the best out in ourselves, I hope. Whatever the case, yet another powerful vision, this one of a mother-daughter poignancy as, among other colours, the “madder dyed” metastasising the welded, wedded limbs of a single strand of once-flensed flesh which, soon, the wayward world would wear as wood as a hopeful or desperate token of our non-mineralisation… and other permutations of the hard scratch and the soft sensation.

  9. …from the one sister to two in part,
    two halves of the same beating heart…

    RUBY RED AND SNOWFLAKE COLD

    (Beware possible spoilers below for Ishiguro’s new KLARA novel)

    “They breathed atrium and ventricle, and as ice formed around the pulsing heart the sisters opened their mouths.”

    This 2018 prose poem seems to be the perfect prelude to Ishiguro’s new novel of an AI as ‘sister’ to a real girl and anyone who has read my detailed review of it here will already know that its AFs may be either Absent Friends or Atrial Fibrillaters…

  10. My review of the next story is from the context here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2019/10/31/nox-pareidolia/

    =====================================================
    EBCD4D8D-C595-4FC0-9F3A-5575E6F91788 THE TASTE OF ROT by Steve Toase

    “All the time I walk between the tables, the owner watches me over smeared varifocal glasses.”

    “The letters slide off the paper, diluted ink staining her skin.”

    02ECBCAE-7583-4366-8BA2-6A71F13C29B3

    A remarkable rapture of rot, where the world has been inundated, and the narrator seeks his sister in the city, also visiting the library and a cafe. Relatively short work, but remarkably there is too much to tell you what you can see in it through a critiquing varifocal towards pareidolia, a pareidolia even in the form of smell as well as taste, sound and sight. A new sense, perhaps, to add to the other senses, with fiction transfigured. Spores creating galaxies as devotion. Null Immortalis.

    CA327770-FFC3-446F-9779-74007E829F49

    The early development of my various theories that preceded or coincided with the November 2008 start of my gestalt real-time reviewing – for example this blog post by the luminary Matt Cardin in January 2009: http://www.teemingbrain.com/2009/01/13/fiction-as-religion-some-good-words-about-divinations-of-the-deep/
    Also in 2006: http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?t=818 (Magic Fiction)
    http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?p=3826#post3826 (Fiction as Religion)
    https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/i-only-buy-books-i-know-i-will-like/ (Initial thinking behind this site)

    Perhaps, all these years later, this story presents a most important staging-post in this quest.

  11. FLOW TO THE SEA

    “Make the necessary connections. It took time.”

    The ultimate undertow story, the ultimate biocomputerised motherboard of a mother-daughter interfused story, as if it HAS taken time to experience many works of structural fiction analysis building up to this particular passion of the reading moment whereby the young woman Maja has absorbed much of many authors such as Verne, Mann and Kiernan over the years, F84C3910-A55E-496A-A53A-699A9064E5AAand created software links between the beauty of rot (potentially more valuable than any upholstery), rot housed within not only within this very book but also within intercostal blubber and the infused self and other spectators (us) within the constructively self-obsolescent sabotage in conspiracy by use of blank-lensed binoculars, spectators (objects, people, animals, tench, things like the sea itself) of such fiction as intrinsic truth. A wily fox within the otherwise passive software of a whale. And I have only covered some of the undercurrents. Not forgetting the moral aspects of such processes. Hot wax biohacked into scratched arms. Data at the juncture of a favourite prime number’s bones. Even the single male secreted in a harem. And things yet unnoticed or in denial.

  12. MASK

    From this book’s earlier flash flood fiction, this is a fine flash flesh one, whereby a man with one of today’s death masks over his still breathing face is, also as earlier, literally ‘scarecrowed’, but this is for him not to simply scare crows, if at all…nor simply as a punishment for feeding our world’s domestic abuse but mainly to help heal nature’s fragile gestalt with humanity’s own software … the beginning of a trending crowstweet?

  13. My review of the next story is from the context here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/the-best-horror-of-the-year-volume-eleven/

    ==================================================
    SPLIT CHAIN STITCH

    “Goodnight PC Lewis,” Jan said.

    Still not sure if that is Police Constable or Political Correctness! Meanwhile this is a wonderful story of getting to the centre of gravity where our gestalt star sits (cf the previous story) and here it stems from a Ladies Knit and Natter group! Rachael joins it ostensibly to help settle into a new community and get grounded in its gossip. But the lessons in knitting can take ruthlessly penetrating spools and swags of dreamcatching nets and ligotti knots as well as precious or civilised rudiments of stitching, plain, purl and ribbing. [My mother used to belong to such a Knit and Natter group, as my wife does now. So I know of what I speak. And, although I am aware that hardly anybody has read it, this Toase work sits well with my 1990s novella Ladies.]

  14. SKIN LIKE CARAPACE

    “I know as she speaks that this woman with no history, no inscriptions or crow’s feet to bring beauty to her face, has given me the correct answer…”

    The blessing is that her answer to this story’s riddle is the opposite to what the narrator dreads the lack of the correct answer might have reduced him to!
    A Toasis of a tale also embodying a broadly pungent yet acute blend of Jack Vance and Clark Ashton Smith, telling us of a land of no light, a land essentially of the tactile, the tastile and the olfactory, compared to our land today where olfactory and taste have been dulled as much as the optical has in this story’s world, coming at us in a new refreshing by this book’s inclusion of this years old story about such shuffling of senses. Histories of each person are told by felt markings or branches on their faces, amidst “fly agaric” and “wild garlic” patches and much else evoked, and the narrator, the Master Perfumer for the Queen, is caught up, in his oldening age, with a riddle to answer and a marriage late in his life, as a result of that riddle’s answer. Marriage to a girl who starts with no markings in her face, but gently earns them as part of a mostly satisfying outcome of age, I think you will feel by the end. Gives us hope. Or simply reconciliation with our own slow- or fast-departing senses. Scars and scuffed knees.

    “I can taste them breathing, though they still their lungs.”

  15. C4CD2183-1C32-4CC7-90AD-CD4F37DA6CB0 BENEATH THE FOREST’S WILTING LEAVES

    “Someone’s come in and carried on with the shelter, just like we did.”

    A re-married father, during the access period with his boy Ethan from his first marriage, takes him in the wood or would-be forest of male bonding, and they help or are helped by seeming hidden helpers to continue the bonding of found art in the form of a shelter built against a tree — with the stick and wood remains of the rest of the ‘forest’, as well as with its dead creatures reconfigured et al, evidences of natural or unnatural cruelty — all of this couched in one of the versatile styles of this author (here a disarmingly more simple style for him but equally effective), a tree oasis, one that seems imperilled by outside forces, as man and boy bond even deeper within the shelter, an ironic word, shelter, here, facing the cruel barbs of the man’s ex-marital metaphors, I wonder, filling empty dead cavities of life with slugs, slings and stick arrows. The prehensility of otherwise seeming objectivity made permeable and wilting by uncontrolled factors one cannot imagine outside of normal life’s carapace of sheltering in-denial. Knowing such things is some hidden help or comfort?

  16. WHY THE SEA TASTES OF SALT AND THE MOON ALWAYS LOOKS TOWARD US

    A lengthy prose poem or short vignette telling of the Witch of the Red House in literal converse with the “drowning pools” and the resultant unliteral anthropomorphisms of the Sea and the Moon, and whose lungs hold the cold salt oceans, and much else that affects us under this book’s overall title and within so few words … For me, a unilateral blend of Lord Dunsany and Caitlín R. Kiernan.

  17. DIRT UPON MY SKIN

    “The only disturbance was a clumped smear of red on the doorstep. […] Through the red door…”

    I always remember donkey-stoning of yore (just one of many references on-line: HERE) whereby ochre or clay was vigorously daubed on doorsteps by ‘housewives’ as a smart thing to do. I remember it being red, this substance, but now, due to my research today, that may probably also have been red cardinal polish that replaced donkey-stoning! A smart thing for working-class pride. Meanwhile, this is about a site that was to be cleared for mobile phone transmitters. But the unsmart point here is that the woman surveyor’s phone can’t get a signal when she gets in trouble by losing her fellow surveyor and his spirit-level when surveying this once credit-crunch hit clearance project of working-class back to back terraces of housing built in or around an Iron Age hill fort. Here the burial pits inside each tunnelback, are mainly full of bird installations and one item of cattle, but no donkey. But I won’t allow that lack to spoil this highly powerful, disturbing and atmospheric story. It works on every level, even (or especially) on the particular highest level of never being able to fully understand it. Or on the lowest spirit level of understanding it too much! Like the estate’s “confusions of ownership” that bedevilled the simplicity of anyone resisting such clearance.

  18. 53E037E3-A36D-4579-96E2-69D80B052613

    Having by chance rediscovered this old photo of mine — that now reminds me of Klara’s sun in Ishiguro and the store’s shopfront to where Klara herself was on sale — discovered fortuitously just before reading the next story — it created an interesting foil to the residual ‘vomit’ of a painted sun indelible to any removal from Dagmar’s own shopfront…and those trees above versus Verne’s undertow of creatures….

    NO SUN TO GUIDE THE WAY

    Dagmar, I gather. makes jewels and has misgivings, in conversation with her ‘silent partner’, about the derelict shop they have bought in a dubious area of town, with her in dust mask for doing the redecoration and later suffering a seeming covivid dream of ‘punctured lungs’, a dream that has, in real life, such undertow creatures embedded in the concrete of more tunnelbacks within the shop as an echo of the shop’s previous business… the outcome lingers like an indelible painting in the mind.
    [You need to read and dreamcatch such hyper-imaginative fiction as Toase’s and others’ in the fortuitous circumstances of your own real-time and see what happens, with each becoming a bespoke experience having its own coordinates that are, after due mutual proliferation between all participant readers, prone to triangulating into a guided way toward the gestalt that shines and keeps body and soul together. Beyond or within the Hill Fort.)

  19. 011E04AB-6246-4483-8CC8-85CE483E8D21ATELIER

    “…and something rotting out of sight.”

    Optimising this prose artist’s own versatility but ever containing something intrinsically Toasitic, this work, for me, is a substantive apotheosis of the classic weird story of the old school, with many the ingredients of a Poe or Aickman or Le Fanu or Ewers and other expressionist alternatives, but tantalisingly turned away from you till the end, and then perhaps not fully turned towards you. The story is told to another bystander woman (the narrator) by a woman portrait artist (one with much lore to tell us of such portrait painting), the two of them having met by chance in an art gallery in a very rainy Munich whereby even this book’s gutters could not cope. The woman artist stood defiantly long in front of the gallery’s painting exhibits, as perhaps she did for the final picture we were intended to see at the end. Or perhaps it was the narrator who did this? Whatever the case, I will not spoil the work by my further description of it. And surely it is worth the price of entry alone. Seriously.

  20. DISCARDED SKINS

    880FC22D-B31F-40D0-B505-34D4E848B56CDISCARDED SKINS

    “…to survive the cloying rot of the sea…”

    Or to destroy such rot, but if you displant its palindrome of Marram you not only mar the porn and conversational rot but also destroy the communication means of what I write here about its place in the public eye of Literature’s means of ironic marination or cathartic purging. This is, on the surface, Margaret’s tale, her widowhood after Marriage, her business-like association with her late husband’s old fisher friends, and a new lover today with the title’s eponymous means to be an amphibian, 947B7AC4-1397-47DB-8896-A408FC64AFA6 to suck on such undertowed fibre optic cables (no real optics though as in skin carapace above), feeding off such cables as an obsession, as perhaps we all do. Not a marination, but a hopeful marine catharsis reading this work’s words and now, in due humility, these words about it and its cloyed metaphors of existence within or despite or because of such depictions of rot. Recognising we are all amphibians with skins to shed and now, with there being even more of the cabled stuff in lockdown than the real stuff.
    Kelp and marram grass and surf. Of Powys’ tench and Aickman’s mört. A good terrorism of thought if not action.

    So eat up your mört, Margaret, and take no notice of all these gloomy thoughts.”
    — INTO THE WOOD (1968) by Robert Aickman

    “‘Is it a Tench?’ he kept muttering quite audibly. What he was always reverting to in his thoughts was the necessity he was under to tell everybody in Glastonbury that he had seen the Grail; and several times he stopped various errand boys and tradesmen’s wives, whom he knew by sight, and began to tell them, or began to gather himself up to tell them, but by some queer psychological law they seemed inevitably to slip away from him before he had forced them to listen to him. He came by degrees to have that queer sensation that we have sometimes in dreams, that everything we touch eludes and slides away. He even got the feeling that the pavements were soft under his feet and that the people he passed were like ghosts who moved WITHOUT MOVING THEIR LEGS.”
    — John Cowper Powys, THE GLASTONBURY ROMANCE (1933)

  21. VERWELKTAG

    “Wilting Day. A time to remember that all things must rot into the soil so others can grow.”

    A5778259-86BF-4B89-B4CA-887BB6E80D7DAngela, newly arrived in the area, cuts flowers from the grounds to decorate her and her husband’s new apartment, much to the story’s growing description of the consternation of its communal gardener, leading to a sort of 2018 presage of the Midsommar festival before that film ever came out, whereby her original act of cutting flowers finds her hoping that her routes of escape are not cut off!
    Cut off by those who are talking Scandinavian or German. I’m not sure which language judging by some of the words I was shown here in ritual verse form. A cruel tethering — as a paradoxical form of replanting — of creatures, creatures such as Angela and perhaps this reader who has so far avoided being culled despite having already successfully reached beyond his age 73! All of this conveyed in evocatively tactile flourishes of this book’s words and themes, not forgetting to mention the face masks of wilting blossoms.
    Horror by bio-dynamic flowers.

  22. UNDER THE BANNER OF THE BLACK STAMEN

    “The dead have already been mourned and are now anonymous. No more remembered than clay or stone.”

    “It is not unusual for the Psychopomps to get overwhelmed by the death they are surrounded by.”

    Here, not so much the earlier castrated stems or stamens of orchids, but the static STAtue-men not now of clay or stone but metal (with “brass pins” for their medals?), a fast corroding metal, one of which memorial statues many of us have been mourning recently in the real-time since this story was written, blend hull and hell among the great, good, bad and humble of us cut down in life and, here, shipped by ferry, amid sea fret, to Rachmaninov’s Isle of the Dead or a Priest’s Dream Archipelago. We follow Sabine, a woman not unconnected by backstory to this island group when it once held the living, as she is a member of the ferry’s crew in psychopomp-and-circumstance, the ferry taking, inter alios, a whole family of corpses, as the ferry itself turns to a rusted rot of metal, and white-lily rot. Attaching to or attached by, attacking and attacked, the living as well as triggering reaction in the dead. A story that bites the rust, if not the dust, another very powerful work as a stand-alone as well as in the thematic context of this whole book.
    Chuck those statues in the sea to drown in dark water!
    Or otherwise relish their rust and rot.

    “Behind her the rust screams with no lungs.”

  23. OUR LADY OF THE TARPAULIN

    “Do you think she’s beautiful or withered skin over shattered bones?”

    A sister prose work to the previous story, even if that link is more FORTuitous than it is otherwise, whereby the medals become coins of many currencies embedded in an equally corrodable ship’s figurehead or icon or statue under the veiling TARpaulin of whom or of which (you will see for yourself when you experience this work) the protagonist man and woman couple coupled on the night before this so-called Goddess’s great unveiling to the milling festival crowds of VERwelktag or whatever… a credit crunch or our lady’s religious renewal by mulching our spiritual minds or something more relatable to unwanted human decay under our current “infestation” back- or fore-shadowed by this work?

  24. Another story that bites the rust, if not the dust…

    DANCING SOBER IN THE DUST

    “The inside of the masks are rough with nails and wire.”

    Sober or Sabine, this is an alternative version towards the raison d’être of her earlier role as assistant psychopomp, now becoming, along with her showman husband, a theatrical metal statue as rusted by blood, depicting her rage and all, this particular one being the Lawine, and there are reportedly eleven incrementally cruel costumes that are here meticulously catalogued from their Germanic past. (I remember comics where enemy soldiers in the war had spikes on their helmets — but sometimes IN them, too, I now wonder!) Incremental till they almost dwindle with more acquired qualities of effect. Some more esoteric than others. The last costume was never found. The narrator is a theatre historian inveigling himself inside a museum of such paraphernalia and to read their catalogue….“Sackcloth, Iron Nails, Iron Barrel Hoops, Wooden Splinters, Bottle Glass, Tar” … such costumes being packed away in an archive of the museum. The curator, with whom the narrator has to deal in order to gain access to them, ends up…. well, if I told you, it would spoil the smarting anguish of expectation you already have for this story. “The interpretation.” A single sentence.

  25. GRENZEN

    “‘It’s just I’m not quite sure why we couldn’t fly. Avoid all this.’
    I can’t tell her, of course, so instead I say nothing.”

    “…I wonder if it is their roots pushing up the tarmac.”

    A story bordering on THIS — beware spoiler, and it would be best to read this disturbing work before clicking on that link — or before you attempt a crossing that takes you back to the Cold War and overheated radiators in cars that I can still remember happening regularly to my car, and not only in Midsommar! E22E91AF-BF84-48CB-A4E9-799140D18B99A man takes his (semi-amicably estranged?) wife Kathleen and their small daughter Heather to West Berlin through inimical East Germany, a crossing and, later, an attempted rescue of their daughter after she appears to run off after wanting a wee in transit and then to play hide and seek. Why they didn’t fly and what eventually happens makes a decidedly compelling story of strangers in a strange land, verging on a political incorrectness to die for…
    And I genuinely wrote the above review of the previous story before reading this story! It’s as if this book knows more than it lets on about how to influence a reader.

    “‘They’re very spiky people’, I say, looking at Heather…
    […] …fragments of scalp caught on the spikes.”

  26. My review of the next story is from the context here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/the-best-horror-of-the-year-volume-eleven/#comment-17103

    ============================================

    THE JAWS OF OUROBOROS

    “The standing stones had always been teeth. We did not see the jaws until they started chewing the earth from under our feet and tires.”
    The amazingly imaginative yet logical conclusion of cannibalism in this book so far and its stone tines of time as ‘milk’ teeth. Providing a concept of the earth itself. The friction of the process producing a rare white ambergris substance of mixed minerals and sacrificed bodies… over which substance well-characterised characters — in feats of hawling pulleys and hoist ropes. And draglines and ‘crowd surfing’ — create profitable markets, and naturally, being human, conspiracies and interpersonal battles….
    An unmissable, optimally ravelled yarn.
    [Additional reading as complementary concepts where perhaps another logical conclusion is reached: a more inchoate story I had published in 1988: https://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/23151-2/ ]

    ==============================================

    There is one other story by this author that I have read and reviewed before (HERE) but it is not included in this book, but will probably be an excellent start for the next collection!
    Inter alia, I wrote this about it: “A wonderful reading experience that transcends reading itself and one that will make you inspired as well as sad. Only reading it will justify the experience of so doing.”
    And that now applies to the whole of this book! Except the sadness has by now oxymoronically transfigured into something truly co-vivid.
    Stand-alone works the eventual gestalt of which really sticks in your head.

    end

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