Tuesday 26 April 2016

Andrew Darlington's A Saucerful of Secrets reviewed on the Vault of Evil

Cover Art: Vincent Chong
Andrew Darlington's brilliant collection of stories, A Saucerful of Secrets, has been reviewed on the Vault of Evil by Kevin Demant.

The Strange Laudanum Dream of Branwell Brontë
London Bridge is Falling Down, Falling Down
Thuesday to Fryday
The Door to Anywhere
Beast of the Baskervilles
Derek Edge and the Saucerful of Secrets
The Non-Expanding Universe
Big Bad John
Terminator Zero and the Dream Demons
A Grotesque Romance
This World Holds Space Enough
And the Earth Has No End

Andrew Darlington has had masses of material published in all manner of strange and obscure places, magazines, websites, anthologies and books. He's also worked as a Stand-Up Poet on the ‘Alternative Cabaret Circuit’, and has interviewed very many people from the worlds of Literature, SF-Fantasy, Art and Rock-Music for a variety of publications (a selection of favourite interviews collected into the ‘Headpress’ book ‘I WAS ELVIS PRESLEY’S BASTARD LOVE-CHILD’). His latest music biography is ‘DON'T CALL ME nigger, WHITEY: SLY STONE & BLACK POWER’ (Leaky Boot Press).

The Kitchen Sink Gothic anthology is not without its bizarre moments, and perhaps the most unconventional story of all is Derek And The Sunspots. Derek is back in this latest genre bending début (?) collection from Andrew Darlington, and this time he's brought along all his friends.

There will be strangeness.

The Strange Laudanum Dream of Branwell Brontë: (DS Davidson [ed.], Tigershark #3, 2014). "I witnessed my own death. I am but thirty years old. And I know the very day when approaching death will quench life's feeble ember."

Our hero heads through the snow for The Black Bull and another night on the booze. But what's this? Loitering on the path, a metal spacecraft and a a human-size, talking bee from another dimension. The bee is perfectly civil. It explains that his are an inquisitive race who delve beyond record history to seek out "uncomfortable truths." Unfortunately, this has not met with the approval of the Slithy Toves, lizard-like creatures who act as an intergalactic secret police. After the briefest guided tour of the craft, the bee-man ushers Branwell into a parallel world where he, and not his talented sisters wrote Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. It is even inscribed on his headstone.

It has all been an enlightening experience for Branwell, but the adventure takes a turn for the terrifying when the pair are set upon by an armed lizard.

London Bridge is Falling Down, Falling Down: Last days of Queen Victoria's reign. The Capital's most deprived districts come under attack from a plague of genetically enhanced six-legged rats, venomous frogs, ferocious foxes and cockroaches "the size of your fist." Who is responsible for this outrage? In their desperation, Her Majesty's Government reanimate Professor James Moriarty as a last resort. The criminal mastermind has been fitted with an electro-magnetic heart to be switched off by Sir Frederick Trouton immediately he proves uncooperative (shades of Robert Lory's classic Dracula Returns). Moriarty duly traces the culprit to Bedlam, where Dr. Conrad Van Herder, MAD FOREIGN VIVISECTIONIST, social-Darwinist, misguided ecologist, etc., is manufacturing abominations in a bid to cleanse an over-populated world of it's "weaklings." Begins with a grisly attack on a tosher working the mudflats beneath Blackfriars Bridge and includes enough horrific vignettes to qualify as a superior When Animals Attack! entry.

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