- Author: Terry Dowling
- Artist: Julia Morgan-Scott
- Page Count: 320
- Pub. Date: March 2006
- ISBN: 1-58767-123-9
- Status: Out of Print
by Terry Dowling
This is a brand new collection of fiction from the author who has been called "Australia's finest writer of horror" by Locus magazine and "Australia's premier writer of dark fantasy" by All Hallows and "one of the best prose stylists in science fiction and fantasy" by The Year's Best Fantasy 4.
About the Book:
IT'S DARK IN HERE…
Not just with the absence of light, but with things made for the dark, things that work best when the wind is in the trees and the sun has gone from the sky.
There's a carnival, of course—and such a one!—and a six-sided mirror room on a rainy evening. There's a model of a ship made from bone, a hotel room with the hint of a clown's face on the wall, a gun that grows its own bullets (you know they do!).
There's a train, too, that train, called up by a harmless holiday prank. There's the ultimate maze, a dream of blind gladiators, a truly unforgettable cabinet of wonders. Here you'll find the most deadly tomb of all and, yes, revealed at last—the truth behind what ghosts really are! All waiting among these bits of darkling shimmer, in this sharp narrow place, this careful trap.
A trap? You see how it is. This is your next step on the lonely road. The next wrong door you open. The next game you play on the midnight board, with forgotten rules and the sharpest of pieces...
everyday and ordinary show an unexpected malignant side in this collection of
18 uniquely disturbing tales of the fantastic. Dowling grounds his tales in
mundane situations, then pulls back slowly to reveal (as the narrator of "Scaring
the Train" calls them) "those moments of incidental framing reality
where every commonplace surprises you." In "Cheat Light," a roll
of film left in a pawnshop camera reveals images of an otherworldly origin.
"Clownette" tells of a peculiar blotch on a hotel wall that proves
to be something much worse than the harmless mildew stain it's mistaken for.
"Maze Man," whose protagonist is trapped in an invisible maze that
only he cannot penetrate, is one of several stories in which architecture motifs
suggest alternate realities encroaching on our own. This is Dowling's first
U.S. collection after several in his native Australia, and the selection of
stories new and old makes for one of the year's more satisfying dark fantasy
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Table of Contents:
The Daemon Street Ghost-Trap
The Bullet That Grows in the Gun
The Bone Ship
They Found the Angry Moon
The Ichneumon and the Dormeuse
The Quiet Redemption of Andy the House
The Maze Man
One Thing About the Night
Jenny Come to Play
Scaring the Train
About the Author:
Born in Sydney in 1947, Terry Dowling is one of Australia's most awarded, versatile and internationally acclaimed writers of horror, dark fantasy and science fiction. He is author of Rynosseros, Blue Tyson and Twilight Beach (the Tom Rynosseros saga), Wormwood, An Intimate Knowledge of the Night, The Man Who Lost Red, Antique Futures: The Best of Terry Dowling and Blackwater Days, and is editor of The Essential Ellison and Mortal Fire: Best Australian SF.
As well as appearances in The Year's Best Science Fiction, The Year's Best SF, The Year's Best Fantasy, The Best New Horror and The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, his work has appeared in anthologies as diverse as The Dark, Dreaming Down Under, Centaurus, Gathering the Bones and The Oxford Book of Australian Ghost Stories and in such publications as the prestigious SciFiction, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Interzone, Oceans of the Mind, Ténèbres, Ikarie, Event Horizon and Japan's SF.
Dowling has also written and co-designed three best-selling computer adventures: Mysterious Journey: Schizm, Mysterious Journey II: Chameleon and Sentinel: Descendants in Time (the latter based on “The Ichneumon and the Dormeuse,” one of the stories in this book).
He has won many awards for his fiction, as well as the William Atheling Jr Award for his critical work and the Grand Prix at Utopiales in France in 2001 for his first computer adventure. He has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award three times.
Published in two states:
• Limited Edition of 750 signed copies ($40)
• Traycased Lettered Edition of 26 signed and lettered copies bound in leather with satin ribbon page marker ($175)
A Few Words With Terry Dowling:
CD: Do you prefer writing short stories?
TD: I truly do. I think the longer short story (say, between 6000-12000 words) is the perfect length for storytelling. I know that can be a tricky length commercially, but again and again I'm drawn back to how ideal it is.
CD: Who are your major influences?
TD: It would be a generous list once I really started and include writers as diverse as Jack Vance and the earlier J.G. Ballard. But it would have to include Fritz Leiber (especially Our Lady of Darkness and his 1962 story "A Bit of the Dark World"), the early Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, the more tricksy work of Philip K. Dick. I tend to prize writers who can ‘beguile the reader into crisis', as I call it.
CD: If a reader has never experienced your work before, is Basic Black a good place to start?
TD: I think it is. While my science fiction and fantasy has earned me quite a bit of attention (including my three computer adventures), you'll always find elements of fear and disquiet there as well. I'm a natural for the form. I think it's what Derek Jacobi says in the movie Gladiator: "Fear and wonder, a powerful combination!" It's what I try for in almost everything I write.
CD: Do you have any particular favorites in Basic Black?
TD: I'd have to say "Scaring the Train", "The Saltimbanques" and "One Thing About the Night", mainly because of how they came to be written. "The Daemon Street Ghost-Trap" will always hold a special place in my affections, and "The Bullet That Grows in the Gun" (probably because that involved SF Grand Master Jack Vance, his wife Norma and myself tracking down a particular haunted house we'd heard about).