Saturday, 9 November 2013

At the End of Things compilation by Allison M. Dickson

This is another compilation of short stories and flash fiction from the brilliant AMD. This is more morbid, retrospective and emotional then the Wicked 9 compilation but is still rife with humour.

The Empathy of Agnes Winters :  This was a close to home story for me and I am full of admiration in how well AMD has managed to grasp the last days of a dying person; the emotions and physicality and with such beauty and delicacy.
The Switch is my new wished for superpower.
Cal is one of the worst monsters I have ever come across – it made me shudder and I was glad for the ending. Equally balanced was the wonderful Agnes and I felt like I lost a favourite Great Aunty when she died, what a bitter sweet ending to a fantastic story.

Dust:  Straight into the story, the background pieces are filled in as the narrator, Clyde, tells you what is going on. With casual comments he drops in how His world fell apart and then the World literally fell apart. Harrowing in its unceremoniousness way of departing information, I blinked and reread a few times to fully grasp what was going on.
The continuing monologue explains why "they" went to the Moon and what then occurred, to leave poor Clyde trapped in his bunker.
Such loneliness is hard to stomach and makes for traumatic reading, the depths of despair are deep.

The Shiva Apparatus:
Fancy waking up in a strange room or even a strange body! Yup, that’s the delight that AMD throws you in too within the first paragraph.
The interrogation is hard to stomach as little clues are given…. Who is the Alien? Who is ADAM?
When the answer finally came I really felt a sickness to my stomach.
I am sooooo looking forward to The Shiva Paradox that AMD promises is on the way!

Number One Angel:
More a flash fiction than a short but wow it packs a punch!
4 characters who AMD promises to expand on and I so want some back history on this story!!  Feeding, Fat, Poison and Angels... what a mix!

Abner's Wisdom: 
The pain of grief is beautifully written here, AMD has a serious grip on emotional pain and how it taunts us.  This ghostie story made my arm hairs tingle and gave me a real heart in mouth moment when he swims in the lake. As for poor Abner, well I am a mad cat lady so would love to be “Robin”.

Devil Riders: A freaky little story of choices. Yet again, such underlying sadness runs through this tale, but don’t be fooled it also has an undercurrent of horror, and throws in that unknown element of what if. The author’s notes was almost more "spooky" than the story, almost.

The Last Wedding at the Midnight Chapel: This would make an amazing film. The brilliant Rev. Bob will marry just about anyone to anything, as long as love is involved.
When an older couple wish to renew their vows why is he so reluctant? Well, without giving the game away I can only say the Apocalypse is coming.
Love the tone and accent of this book - its PoV is brilliant.
I wonder how AMDs Mums church is going?

Sweetness (Part II of the Consumption Trilogy):
Who hasn't had a dream about killing their spouse? (nobody? whoops!)
The second in this trilogy which is focused around obsession and eating/tasting?  The descriptions are tangible; I could almost smell the strawberries.
This time it’s told from Bruce’s PoV he explains his lack of focus and sense of dismay as his world and body fall apart; clinging on to the hope that Serge the Haitian student can help him.
Half way through he discovers Marah’s licking but decides to do an about turn and go get coffee instead, here he meets a student of his who he delightfully thinks would skin him alive and wear him as a suit, now that’s an image!
As things continue to deteriorate AMD forces a climax that I was not so pleased to endure, it was good, don’t get me wrong, it was just uncomfy to witness; the intended emotion I assume.

Epilogue: when I started to read this I wondered where it was going, it’s very Final Destination in its full on scare factor, the ending was a real shock