Like a Dead Man Walking, by William F. Nolan, Centipede Press, 2014. Cover art by David Ho, info and preview: centipedepress.com.
“Sherlock Holmes…Interdimensional demons…Aliens…Killers and child predators…Time travelers…Vampires…Even the end of the world, in more ways than one…All are contained within these pages. From the darkest corners of imagination to the precipice of human achievement, William F. Nolan delivers the goods in this assortment of recent works: his first all-new collection in his long and storied career. Working with editor Jason V Brock (Milton’s Children), Nolan brings to shocking life not only debauched murderers and depraved loners, but also fascinating portraits of personal reflection; the heroes of yore in poetry; pages from Nolan’s notebook; and an exclusive, intimate interview with his beloved friend, the late Richard Matheson (I Am Legend). Centipede Press is pleased and proud to offer this fantastic new assemblage of tales from an acknowledged master of the dark fantasy and science fiction genres, complete with insights into the stories, and a probing intrtoduction from editor Brock: This is not only Nolan’s most recent collection, but likely his very best. Come along for the ride and discover things that may (or may not) be Like a Dead Man Walking…You are sure to enjoy the journey. This signed limited edition is just 300 copies. The dustjacket is the work of David Ho. Each copy is signed by William F. Nolan, Jason V Brock, and David Ho.”
10:00 am |
Gennaio 26 2014
| 2 note
F. Nolan; edited by S.T. Joshi
paperback, 270 pp., $20.00
is a fascinating exploration into two stellar figures in speculative fiction,
their relationship over sixty years, and the intellectual cross-fertilization
that can occur when such minds meet and share.
More than a personal account and less
than an academic study (in all of the right ways), the book allows readers a kind
of continuous insight into a friendship and a working exchange. Following
introductory materials by Jason V. Brock, S. T. Joshi, and Ray Bradbury himself
(writing about Nolan), the book opens onto a series of chronologically arranged
articles and essays—including introductions and afterwords to a number of books—in
which Nolan speaks about Bradbury, beginning with their first encounters and
Nolan’s responses to them (1952) and concluding with Nolan’s “My Personal
Evaluation of Ray’s Finest Stories” (2013). Joshi comments in his introduction
that there is a certain level of necessary redundancy in the accounts, and he
is correct; key episodes in their friendship recur frequently, often using the
same sentences and vocabulary. But that is as it should be. The repetitions
remind readers that they are following a six-decade long series of conclusions
on Nolan’s part; the details of Bradbury’s career and influence may—and must—shift
as the essays progress, but at core, the essence of Bradbury remains the same.
Each repetition is placed into a different context and thereby gains depth and
resonance, linking the disparate essays into a unified whole.
The second major section, “Stories,”
presents Nolan’s fictions that he defines as either about Bradbury or
influenced by Bradbury’s style and approach. They range from serious stories,
such as “And Miles to Go Before I Sleep” and “To Serve the Ship,” to
exquisitely modulated parodies and satires, such as the perfectly titled “The
Dandelion Chronicles”—a loving tribute to Bradbury that encompasses most of his
recurring themes as well as his signature style. Each is distinctly Nolan; none could have been written without his
having first met Ray Bradbury.
“Tributes to Ray Bradbury” and “Afterword:
The Return of Ray B.” round off the volume by giving space to Nolan, Brock,
John C. Tibbetts, Joshi, and Greg Bear to speak personally and, as it were,
conclusively about Bradbury and his influence. Each offers more insight into a
complex, multi-faceted, tremendously influential genius. Each is much
The final part is a short but useful
bibliography of major works, collections, stories, and other writings by both
Nolan and Bradbury. It is an appropriate capstone to this involving study of
writing, writers, friends, and friendships.
Anyone interested in either Nolan or
Bradbury will find much of value in the collection. Thanks to everyone involved
in assembling it.
In a very rudimentary sense
simulacrum, derived from Latin, means likeness or similarity, a representation
or image. One thinks of the mirror image of one’s self it is true in form
however reversed but lacks the actual substance of the original that casts the
reflection, i.e. the human form standing before the mirror. What is dark
fiction, horror, but visceral writings of the gut that inevitably represent the
deeper truth of what and who we are and what our nature is truly about. These
genres reveal through a vial all that human kind represses, true to form, but
lacking enough to be a story, and dream, or a nightmare.
Jason V Brock (without the
period) is a visceral writer. As we can see from this delightful anthology of
his works, he can rip to the gut and have you attempting
desperately to stuff your entrails back inside before it’s too late.
In the forward written by the
legendary William F. Nolan, the writer remarks “He (Jason) is a deep thinking
individual, even a provocateur, and his work is sometimes extreme, dark and
gruesome…he uses it to expose some flaw or weakness in a character.”
My own experience with Jason
and his writing tells me that there will always be those that exclaim the man
is too controversial. The problem with those views is that it is all too
revealing of the gainsayers that are most likely thick with denial. People,
critical examiners really, that just don’t want to hear the truth. The fact is,
if they don’t want to hear about their own unlovely nature, then they really
need to get out of the horror industry all together because they are doing no
justice there. If there is one thing that Jason’s stories tell us about, it’s
about our lives, our nature, our truth, our self. And through a representation
of that visceral truth, we can see clear to original that lies beyond in the
land of reality.
The collection kicks off with
“What the Dead Eyes Behold.” An image of
that very moment when you look into your significant other’s eyes and are
overwhelmed with the very deepest feelings of love so much that you want to
preserve the moment forever, and ever… and ever!
Next up “The Central Coast,” a
story previously published in Dark Discoveries magazine, starts us off in the
middle trauma and shock. Social gatherings can be horrific enough, without even
coming close to this event. Brock displays the same expertise in setting up the
reader in this story as any Stephen King has written. He enthralls the reader
with terribly vivid scene irresistible to our curious nature only to bring that
shocking and terrible discovery you’d wished you’d never come upon. One thing
is for sure, if you are a wine connoisseur, you might think twice about that
rare estate reserve you’ve had eyes on. It may be more expensive than you
It’s impossible to describe in
a review the depth experienced in reading anything Brock has penned.
Descriptions are as the title suggests only a representation of the actual
experience of reading his work. There are many stories in this collection,
fifteen plus his new novella “Milton’s Children,” but I find it irresistible
not to spoil some delight in each of them. Therefore I’ll leave the rest for
your own experience, an experience that comes highly regarded and suggested.
— Review by Cyrus Wraith Walker