Friday, May 30, 2008

Ennui and Other States of Madness

Earlier this year, I had an opportunity to read some work by one of my favorite authors, David Niall Wilson, before publication. Now that pre-sales are available for two of the three, I can go ahead and talk about them. The first is Ennui and Other States of Madness.

Due to be published in August from Dark Regions Press, Ennui and Other States of Madness is Wilson’s first collection of short stories since his Stoker-nominated Defining Moments. It is a mixture of previously-published work and some pieces that are new to the volume.

One of the things I like most about Wilson’s work is his ability to shift gears and change focus dramatically from story to story, as opposed to some authors who find one vein and doggedly mine it long after they’ve said everything they can about it. The seventeen stories featured here illustrate this very well.

Rather than detail every individual story, I’ll hit the highest spots. The lead story Ennui, is a fascinating story involving the historic Jack the Ripper, which displays copious research on the part of Wilson. The Gentle Brush of Wings is a wonderful horror-fantasy which won the Stoker Award last year for Best Short Fiction. For These Things I Am Truly Thankful will make you think twice about the food you buy at the supermarket (as someone who worked in a grocery store in high school, I will attest caution is warranted). New Leather and Old Cognac is a tale of obsession centered around an old bookstore that reminded me favorably of Robert W. Chambers. The Call of Farther Shores concerns a legacy that returns to haunt a young man returning to his hometown.

I could go on and on, but hopefully, this gives an idea of the type of stories found here. There really isn’t a weak one in the bunch. One thing I found unusual, and very welcome, was the stories seemed to become stronger the further you went into the volume, a departure from a lot of collections which cluster the good stuff up front, and dump the unsaleable at the end. The artwork is by Don Paresi, one of the best working in the field.

The Horror Mall has Ennui and Other States of Madness for pre-order at an incredible $19.95 for 360 pages of great reading. In the era of high priced small press books, this is a true bargain. The print run looks to be low, so it would be advisable to place your order as quickly as possible. Clicking on the photo below should take you right to the ordering page. I’ll be shocked if this doesn’t get a Stoker nomination for 2008.

Buy David Niall Wilson books at Horror Mall!

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