[Reactions to DFL himself! HERE]


Dec 2011: Jeff VanderMeer: HERE: a substantial blog post.

3 Oct 13: “I love the raw honesty and sagacious intensity Des brings to all of us with his- really- revolutionary and yet so very common sense approach to reviewing literature, mimicking for/with us the act of reading– an activity of constant, mutable flux. And so I might echo his sentiments as regards the privilege it is to be here and now.” From here: http://www.ligotti.net/showpost.php?p=95452&postcount=1340

27 July 2013: Eibonvale Press: http://eibonvale.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/arriving-at-platform-1/

May 23 2013: Nina Allan: http://www.ninaallan.co.uk/?p=992: “A deeply personal response, as one would always expect from Des, and much appreciated. I am very taken with the images he has chosen to illustrate his words. Also his own spin on the music of Xenakis…”

Mar 16 2012: Rhys Hughes:HERE: “Thanks for this, Des! You are the undisputed hero of reviewing, that’s for sure!” {17 Mar 12: Rhys wrote on my Facebook: “I’m really enjoying each instalment of this review, Des. Your real time reviews are a bit like pass the parcel — but with a gift on each unwrapping…”}

Mar 15 2012: Ellen Datlow: HERE: “I’ve enjoyed seeing the book through your eyes– ”

Feb 29 2012: Simon Strantzas HERE:The term “real-time review” if not the concept itself has been enjoying a healthy life on the internet, and it all traces back to the incomparable Des “D. F.” Lewis. Both my previous collections were reviewed by Des in this way on his blog, and NIGHTINGALE SONGS continues this tradition with a dazzlingly trippy review. Des attempts to find gestalts and underlying themes of collections as he reads them, which often makes for an intriguing read.”

Feb 25 2012: Glen Hirshberg on his Facebook: “Des Lewis has just published a lovely, thoughtful, and insightful “real-time” review of AMERICAN MORONS. ”

Dec 2011: Nick Jackson: HERE: “I have appreciated your reading of my stories, Des. It’s a kind of psychoanalysis of the book and, strangely, of me. I feel as though I’ve been well and truly hung, drawn and quartered!”

Dec 2011: Michael Cisco: HERE: “D.F. Lewis’ very thoughtful real-time review of The Great Lover can be found here.”

Oct 2011: Simon Kurt Unsworth: HERE:  “I love Des’ reviews, partly because he likes my stuff but mostly because I tend to understand one word in three, and he finds things in my work that I never knew was there!!”

Aug 20 2011: Simon McCaffery in comment HERE: “Thank you for the thoughtful review of my story, “Still Life” from Black Static #24. Your kind words are appreciated. Cheers, Simon”

Aug 6 2011: Be-Bitty-Ment

July 29 2011: Rhys Hughes: http://rhysaurus.blogspot.com/2011/07/old-tales-from-spain-real-time-review.html

July 27 2011: Douglas Thompson HERE: “Glad you liked the robot bees, Des. There is also a whole novel of them just finished, of which this story constitutes first 2 chapters, looking for publisher now. Thank you for your kind review.”

July 23 2011: Adam Golaski HERE on the ‘Master in Morphine Cafe’ review: “I do know what Lewis means, by the way, and from his review it’s obvious he’s insightful. Chekhov was very much in mind while I wrote.”

July 15 2011: Part of the author’s (George Berguño) public comment attached to the review of ‘The Exorcist’s Travelogue’: “Thank you for the wonderful review of my second collection of stories, The Exorcist’s Travelogue (and a very belated thanks, also, for the review of my first book, The Sons of Ishmael). I particularly liked the way you conveyed the impression each story was making on you as you read. By the way, you were right to suspect I have been influenced in my writing by the medieval Icelandic sagas (and Lovecraft, etc & etc).” —- Benjamin Uminsky says (16/7/11) : as public  comment on same review:  “Another great RTR Des, I have been following these for some time. This is my first post on your site. I have particularly enjoyed George’s stories since I first read Sad Eyes of the Lewis Chessmen on the Absent Willow Review website. I’m glad to know that there are others like myself who have enjoyed these tales.”

July 12 2011: Louis Marvick: in public comment HERE:  Thank you for thinking well of The ‘Star’ Ushak. It was a pleasure to follow the record of your parcours. With best wishes,

March 16 2011 Adam S. Cantwell: HERE: <<Mr. Lewis is a noted author, original thinker, anthologist and synchronist who has posted many fascinating real-time reviews on his site, […] And he’s a Webern enthusiast who claims “I need my ‘fix’ of Webern each day in order to exist.”>>

March 2011: Anthony Watson as a public comment to the ‘Dark Minds’ review (22 Mar 11): Thank you for an amazing, and thought-provoking review of our book. Death as seen through the eyes of the dying does seem to be a motif throughout and one that – I have to admit – came as a surprise. Sometimes you have to step outside to see the bigger picture I guess. Interestingly, the two stories set during wars (my own and Ben’s) have animals wandering through them briefly, dragging metaphors behind them…

August 24 2010 Joel Lane: HERE: Des, I’m waiting for you to write a real-time review of Philip K. Dick’s Counter-Clock World. Starting with the last chapter.

John Howard (on 12 Juy 2010): “I was pleased to see that you’re reviewing THE SILVER VOICES in this way. I’ve read many of the other reviews and have been impressed with the insights you bring out in your comments. I’m sure that the writers concerned have learned from your reviews, and I hope to do the same!” — as comment appended HERE

Matt Cardin (on 10 July 2010): Thanks for this fine reading, Des. As always, it’s a joy to watch your sensibility interact with a book — mine or anybody else’s.” – as comment appended HERE

Mark Valentine to me about review of ‘The Nightfarers’, quoted here with permission: “The way you turn the pages of the book releases ideas and images that present the stories freshly even to me.”

(10 May 2010) Steve Duffy HERE re my review of his ‘Tragic Life Stories’:A writer should never pass comment on his/her reviews, so I shan’t do that – but I do want to thank you very, very much for taking the time and trouble to communicate your impressions of the book in such a comprehensively entertaining and thoughtful way. Cheers, Des! It was an absolute honour.”

(18 Apr 2010) John Travis re my review of his ‘The Terror and the Tortoiseshell’: “A unique position for a writer to be in – reading a review of his own book to see what happens next!” (quoted with permission).

From the publisher of ‘The Terror and the Tortoiseshell’ HERE: “Des, this review is incredibly good and — as always — intelligent in its literary analysis. Your references to a plethora of outside material, which was un-knowingly echoed in the story by John, are astonishing by their inclusion.”

(23 Mar 2010): Gary McMahon: HERE: Legendary horror writer and editor Des Lewis has just concluded one of his infamous “real-time” reviews of Pieces of Midnight.

30 June 09: Allyson Bird HERE: “The title story is set in late June 2003 – ’4,000 dead in Spain and over 18,000 in Italy by the end of summer.’ It really is a strange coincidence that you are reading it today of all days. It is cooler up here on the moors though.
It’s an important experience for me – reading your real-time review. I’m very much alongside you as you write.” — 5 July 09: “That was quite a journey Des and it was a wonderful experience to take part in the small parallel observations too. I read the real-time review of that last story and shed a tear too.”
(21 Mar 2010): Rhys Hughes: HERE: “Another thing I’ve recently noticed is a reviewer in Portugal who is reviewing my book Una Nova História Universal da Infâmia story by story — in other words, he’s doing a Des Lewis style treatment of it. Des is the only other person I’m aware of who is doing these so-called “real time reviews” (Des may well have started his scheme before this other fellow) and it’s a worthwhile approach, in my view…”

HERE: Ramsey Campbell: “Awed by your thoughts, Des – I’ll say no more.”

HERE: Des, your reviews are almost as well-written as the book themselves. Well done, sir.

Allyson Bird HERE: “This is such a unique experience. It’s like having my own subconscious talking to me.”

Neil Williamson’s blog HERE. “Had an interesting experience this week of watching an “as live” review of The Ephemera taking shape as it was being read.”

Tim Nickels’ website: HERE: The full effects of this revelation have yet to manifest themselves… and yet the truth, little by little, is seeping out: a Major Excavation by an eminent Field Expert was conducted over several days in May 2009. His results may be found HERE… .

Jai Clare to me about review of ‘The Cusp of Something’, quoted with permission: “Your comments were very insightful and I particularly loved that you got the placing of the last story and all it contained and meant for the collection.”

Simon Bestwick HERE: “Des, just wanted to say a heartfelt thankyou for this ongoing review. Very grateful. And oddly touched.”

Joel Lane (in blog comment on actual review page): “Des, thank you for these thoughtful and heartening comments. I mean the stories to find some resonance in the concerns of readers as well as my own concerns – so, for example, the fact that some of these stories strike you as referring implicitly to the Internet may not reflect my intentions, but it shows that you’re relating the stories to what you think and feel about the world. Which is exactly what I would hope for. Cheers!”

Gary McMahon: HERE: The legendary Des Lewis has seen fit to assemble a stream-of-conscious review of my latest collection.

Matt Cardin’s blog here about the DFL review of his book: HERE. “So here’s a sincere thanks to Des for his perceptive and insightful reading of my work.”

A review of DFL’s review of Ligotti’s book below: HERE. “If you’re looking for a brief romp through weird literature and the banker Meltdown, or have wondered what one weirdmonger on the fringe thinks of another wordsmith of the high weird, then you have found your destination.”

HERE: “Des you make me want to buy books. My dream is to have you one day do one of these enlightening reviews about a collection of my stories. Brilliant stuff!”

Paul Meloy: HERE: “Des, this has been an absolute pleasure! Delightful, unique, touching…an honour. I predict these stream-of-consciousness reviews will become the essential thing to have and be in great demand! Thanks for taking the time to do this, Des!” and LATER publicly on the same thread: “I have to say I’m awestruck by the amount of hits this review is getting. It says so much about the respect Des has as a renaissance man of strange otherness. If I wore a hat, it would probably be a fez. And I would lift it to you, Des.”

Re Alsiso, from Alasdair Stuart HERE: A few years ago, I contributed a story to Andrew Hook’s ‘The Alsiso Project’ anthology. It was a gloriously odd idea, taking a spelling mistake and using it as the starting point for twenty three completely unique stories. Mine was a lecture, delivered by someone who has discovered that Alsiso is the name for something we haven’t quite reached yet, a linguistic tenth planet of sorts.It was also pretty much hated on release, which is fine, each to their own after all. However, CERN Zoo just put up a spectacularly good review of both the book and my story which I’ve linked to here. I always rather liked my Alsiso story and it’s a real pleasure to see someone else does too.

Allen Ashley HERE: “….an astonishingly detailed and complimentary review of my collection “Somnambulists” by the wonderful writing and editing legend Des Lewis. All I can do is to recommend that you have a look at it if you have 10 or 15 minutes to spare. […] Thanks again to Des for such a great review and thank, of course, to Andrew for helping make it all possible in the first place.”

August 2009: Simon Strantzas: HERE: “Fascinating stuff!”


28 Sep 10: Terry Grimwood’s public reaction (Here) to my review of THE PLACES BETWEEN:

“Hello Des thanks for your, as usual, mighty review of “The Places Between”. I loved the ebb and flow and outright bewilderment of your reading experience. Daft? Yes, that as well. I deliberately made the fantastical element as fantastical as I was able. Bosch? Absolutely. […] It was written in the aftermath of a catastrophic personal tragedy, the same tragedy that fashioned many of the stories in “The Exaggerated Man”. Where the latter was perhaps a more measured examination of that time in my life, much of it written as it was taking pale, a real-time review if you like, “The Places Between”, is a white hot furnace of emotions, a Bosch-Dali collaborative landscape of my subconscious all to the soundtrack of Saint-Saens’ “Aquarium of the Fishes”. I hope that isn’t a spoiler and I know the worst person to discuss a story is its author but I couldn’t resist it.
So, again, thanks Des, without you the small press would be, well, small.”


5 Nov 10

Christopher Barker sent me an email out of the blue a day or so after my completion of the TENEBROUS TALES review. He has given me permission to quote it:

“Dear Des: I just wanted to drop you a line to thank you far having taken the time out to read and then review “Tenebrous Tales”.

I was genuinely touched by some of your comments and insights. I found the composition of the book to be emotionally-draining so it is heart-warming to discover that others have found some of the pieces emotionally-engaging.

Usually a review involves someone ponderously re-interpreting a piece of fiction with a view towards asserting his or her authority to judge it; that’s when the review isn’t a piece of nepotist puffery by a friend of the author. However, you have demonstrated the enviable talent of being able to review in an insightful, intuitive and original way. In reviewing my book, you swiftly zoned in upon the key aspects and commented accordingly. I *am* puckish, often dangerously so, but you’ve been the first person with enough integrity to say so out loud. This is both an endearing and a refreshing style of review. It also exhibits a healthy intellectual regard for your reader, whether he or she be author, publisher or genre enthusiast.

I’m sure my book can’t be half as good as you portray it but I will delude myself otherwise by virtue of pandering to vanity.”

28 Mar 12: John Howard – my real-time reviews of whose excellent fiction work can be found linked from HERE – has kindly mentioned those real-time reviews in a recent Pan Review interview with him and Mark Valentine: HERE
24 Mar 12: Glen Hirshberg on his Facebook:
“To all my writer friends, slogging away in the pre-parenting dawn or the post-work dark, sending stories out into the nothing and getting nothing back (that you know of), swallowing pride and chasing blurbs and denying doubts and posting posts in the hopes that SOMEBODY sees and returning to the desk to work some more, here’s a wish for you: may you one day find a reader you’ve never met who gets what you’re up to the way that the English writer D.F. Lewis apparently gets me. He’s started a real-time review of THE JANUS TREE at the link below. But the final ‘graph of his TWO SAMS review (see link below)…well. Des, I’m way past honored. Let’s call it grateful and leave it there.”

28 March 2012: “People who don’t have a basic command of English and grammar or even sentence structure don’t make the best writing critics.” in Comments here:  http://bloodmagicbooks.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/railriders-review-at-neonomicon.html

1 May 2012: “Thanks for the review which was awesome – better than the story! It’s like you feel rather than read, if that’s the right way of putting it.” – Priya Sharma as comment here: http://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/black-static-28/

3 Oct 2013: “Des, I agree that we are privileged to have Ex Occidente, there is no doubt about that, but in turn we Ex Occidente readers are also privileged to have your informative and entertaining rtrs which provide us with an early interesting insight in what we can expect, fueling the anticipation. It certainly adds to the whole experience. I rarely read other reviews, but never miss any of yours.” from http://www.ligotti.net/showpost.php?p=95426&postcount=1334



97 thoughts on “*

  1. •Dadaoism has been reviewed in a very unique way by one of its contributors, D. F. Lewis. He apparently specializes in “real-time reviews,” in which he reviews the text as he reads. In this case, he reviewed each individual entry in the anthology, one by one! His insights are extraordinary—he’s obviously a meticulous reader, one whose eyeballs any writer would be ecstatic to have perusing his or her bespoke fictions … from http://yarrowpaisley.com/blog/

  2. Harold Billings: “An author always appreciates a reviewer who is able to read deeply enough in the text to evaluate the plot, the style, and all the other things that constitute the finality of what is finally here, or there, — between an appreciation of the structure of the book, its design, the binding, the production. Des does a remarkable job in his Gestalt approach to “feel” each part of a book as he reads it, and to provide evaluation and reaction, without giving away the answers to questions that a reader must encounter as he or she reads through what is hoped to be a flowing text until it concludes. The great oak wept.
    Perhaps the publication of the prequel to this book will bring both the story’s birth in the past to its conclusion in a present. While loving Susan.”
    From here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/a-dead-church-harold-billings/#comment-2096

  3. FROM HERE: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/ana-kai-tangata-scott-nicolay/

    Scott Nicolay

    Thanks for your insightful words on my words. It is beyond heartening when someone finds so quickly so much of what I put in. Reading your review(s) was the highlight of my day. And you are correct regarding “Tuckahoe,” in that it does represent somewhat of a different approach, with a more clearly defined plot as opposed to the other stories, in which I allowed atmosphere and character to drive the narrative. I do hope however, that you will find some merit in it if you find time to read it…

    Scott Nicolay

  4. From PS PUBLISHING newsletter of 3/10/14:
    “And finally, it is just so rewarding and encouraging to have someone review your work and give you a thumbs-up or a sneaky nod’n’a wink to say, “hey, you’re doing good.” Now just take a look at Des Lewis’s piece here on Ursula Pflug’s HARVESTING THE MOON collection and then think of how happy she must have been going to bed after THAT.”

  5. Thank you, Des, for the excellent review. One of the many pleasures of publishing with Ex Occidente/Zagava lies in having my work reviewed on your site. I’m especially taken with the final summation, which, depending on how its wielded, can be made to reveal angles of the book which had escaped even its author. Very well played. — Damian Murphy here.

  6. HERE
    Pandora Hope:
    Thanks Des, I loved your review. It was extremely perceptive, probing depths I hoped, but did not expect, many readers to plumb Especially loved ‘the madness’ observation. Madness takes you to places where sanity does not dare to tread.

  7. Harold Billings said: “Des,I believe the reading world is overwhelmed by what you manage to do. Just aamazing to most of us that you can even keep up the reading, much less the skill and comprehension that you bring to writing the comments.” on Facebook here..

  8. An author’s Facebook post here.
    “There have been too many people to name at this time, but one man who helped me at a time when I really needed help was DF Lewis, a fine writer, an insightful editor, and a real gentleman. Des offers a unique viewpoint on the genre in both his writing and reviewing stances, and I would urge you to check out his work.”

  9. Facebook comment Here
    “I’ve been waiting! So much fun.” Julie C. Day

    And talking about some more fun, the new Dreamcatcher reviewer, Paulo Brito, has also just said in public that he is enjoying his experience real–time reviewing on this site.

  10. “Thanks so much, Des — that’s truly a beautiful reading of the book. Like the director’s commentary track to a movie — you do it so well! I like your notion of the last few chapters as “bonus cuts” — fits perfectly. Thanks again for such a deep reading.”
    – Elizabeth Hand here regarding my review of Wylding Hall

  11. T.E. Grau says:
    Author, literary critic, and founder of dark fiction journal Nemonymous Des Lewis reviews The Nameless Dark at his British Fantasy Award nominated site The Dreamcatcher Real-Time Reviews.

  12. Marni Scofidio: Every writer should have a go at Des’ BRILLIANT gestalt real-time reviewing, it’s like reading a book in 3D. Also a wonderful opportunity to explore and share the works you love… thank you again, Des, I’m having a whale of a time xox

  13. “In a world that is full of books, I am always appreciative when Des Lewis chooses one of mine to real-time review on his Dreamcatcher site, and perhaps particularly so when these words occur, ‘The ultimate Narrative Hospital. Seriously.'”
    — Matt Leyshon HERE

  14. I know I said I wouldn’t be here today, but I can’t ignore all the kind words about ‘White Rabbit’ and I especially wanted to share Des Lewis’ dreamcatching. It’s a sensitive, telepathic reading of the story, which I found quite moving and humbling. I’d love to take all the credit for being mega-talented etc etc, but the truth is that this story has always had a mind of its own.
    — Georgina Bruce today.

  15. Received today…
    ” it is important to me because I find the reviews you have done of my [….] to be profound life changing life affirming Muse affiming and in some ways life-saving you cannot imagine how important significant inspiring and wonderful it is that you expend such attentive and loving detail analyzing all of our works I could never repay you..
    You “get’ me..and our worlds spot on.
    1 of your reviews is worth
    Dozens in an alternate drab reslity”

  16. “Some ink-smudged mystics claim the only reason to assemble a story collection or an anthology, or to write a novel, is so that it can be real-time reviewed by Des. While I will not go on record as fully supporting this claim, neither will I disabuse anyone of the possibility that it might apply to my own case.”
    — Eric Schaller

  17. Des Lewis has finished his real-time review of my collection Meet Me in the Middle of the Air. Des is an indefatigable reader with an amazing ability to draw connections between stories as well as place them within wider literary and personal contexts. His real-time reviews fill 28 volumes when printed out (proof, if any is needed, that he is indeed indefatigable)!
    Eric Schaller from HERE

  18. “My own real-time read of this review has just – belatedly – come to an end. I have absolutely loved your insightful commentary of the book and value your thoughts immensely. I’ve enjoyed your sound-bites (“up devastating shit creek with a literary paddle”) but also your forensic analysis: your archaeological exploration of the different levels of the novel – you’ve gone very deep – has provided me with some new perspectives on the major themes/ characters and also the wider context. I can’t thank you enough for this. I’ve enjoyed every minute of reading your review. I know the book is at times very unsettling, so thank you for keeping pushing through. Appreciated. AJK”

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