Shards in Black Static

Peter Tennant has set aside a substantial portion of his Case Notes column to review six recent Aussie horror books in issue #15 of the UK’s brilliant Black Static magazine.

One of those reviewed books was my debut collection Shards:

“There’s no denying that Cummings is vastly superior to most who venture into these [flash fiction] waters, with a rich palette of ideas and emotions at his command. He uses words with a scalpel-like efficiency, making us laugh and making us shiver or cringe with equal dexterity, and just when you think you know where you are, he slips something from the high concept end of the spectrum in through the wires.”

It was refreshing to see several stories reviewed in detail. Of “Prescience”, which is one my favourites, Tennant said:

“‘Prescience’ presents a convincing picture of a woman who knows when violent crimes are going to occur and is fated to be there to prevent them if she can, often getting seriously hurt as part of the bargain. Cummings plays his hand close to his chest, doling out the information piecemeal, and even after the end we are left wondering why this is happening, with only the woman’s idée fixe that this is right by way of explanation. It’s an announcement that the author knows his stuff, a calling card of sorts. And Cummings struts that stuff in the stories that follow, with an impressive variety of material…”

Other stories that were singled out include “Firewall”, “Cruel Summer”, “Congo Jenga”, “Rainbow-Speckled Field”, and “Memoirs of a Teenage Antichrist”. Andrew’s awesome illustrations were also highlighted as “the artwork being worth the price of admission on its own.”

Tennant also reviews (often very favourably and in great detail) Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror Volume 3 ed. Angela Challis, Slice of Life by Paul Haines, Uttuku by Robert N. Stephenson, Slights by Kaaron Warren, and The Dead Path (aka The Darkening) by Stephen M. Irwin.

Black Static can be purchased from TTA Press.