Great reviews!

Friday’s session at Swancon went swimmingly. I caught up for drinks with fellow horrorites Martin Livings (and the lovely Izz), Craig Bezant, and Pete Kempshall, shot the breeze with Russell at the signing, had a lively panel on horror writing with Martin, Stephen Dedman, and Sue Isle, and had a few important chats, too.

Easter has also brought two fabulous reviews on HorrorScope.

The first, by Chuck McKenzie, was a praiseworthy summary of Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror Volume 3, the latest ‘year’s best’ anthology from Angela Challis. The review doesn’t mention my story, “The Cutting Room”, but it’s such a fabulous review, that hardly matters. The anthology is, in my opinion, the best of the series so far, and showcases not only the best of Australia’s contemporary dark fiction, but has a comprehensive overview of the independent press and spec fic awards and resources. If you’re interested in the current wave of Aussie dark fiction, this book is a must read! It’s on sale now from the Brimstone Press website and most good bookstores.

The second, and most personally relevant, review is also from HorrorScope, this time from Mark Smith-Briggs. Mark has posted the very first review of my collection Shards. Shards is my first book, my first collection – a (mostly) flash fiction collection at that – with each story magnificently illustrated by Andrew J. McKiernan. This is an advance review as Shards won’t hit bookstores for another couple of months (although orders should ship direct from the Brimstone site within a month).

Mark has plenty of great things to say about Shards, such as:

“Cummings has long been an advocate for the style [flash fiction], and Shards shows that when done right, the micro form can be as powerful and lasting as any form of longer works.”

… and …

“Cummings’ work possesses a King-like quality, creating rich and colourful characters in a handful of words”


Mark and Chuck are two of the hardest working and insightful reviewers at HorrorScope, and despite the connections we all share in the horror community, these guys are thoroughly professional and independent. When the Ditmars roll around, I’d thoroughly recommend these two excellent blokes be given a best Fan Writer nod.

Also on the subject of reviews, I unearthed a couple of recent reviews of Black: Australian Dark Culture Magazine. Jeff Ritchie has a rambling but incredibly enthusiastic review of Black #3 here, while Gene Melzack seems to be off the mark by some margin in his review of issue #1 at ASif. It mentions one or two constructive criticisms but also diverts significantly into the reviewer’s misconceptions. Nevertheless, reading negative reviews like this is still informative for an analytical Joe like me.