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Posted April 30, 2014
First published in 1982, The Dark Country by Dennis Etchison is now available as an e-book and deserves to find a new generation of readers and enthusiasts. Etchison, a master of the modern short story, has won many awards for his fiction and this is the book that made his reputation. Magical, melancholic, macabre, and magnificent.
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Posted August 24, 2014
Posted July 1, 2014
At last, we have an e-book edition of one of the major American horror collections, and the stories are as troubling and as powerful as they were when I bought my copy from Scream\Press in 1982.
Long before then, Dennis Etchison had been writing and making a name for himself. In the 1960s and '70s, his work had appeared in everything from the MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION and WHISPERS to NEW WRITINGS IN SF, and he was a regular in THE YEAR'S BEST HORROR STORIES from DAW. We all knew that he was one of the best, but this collection put his name in a whole new light. And now, here it is, for a new technology, for a new generation.
These are stories of medical nightmare, of lonely highways and vacant places, of isolation and ordinary pain transformed by extraordinary circumstances. Written with clarity, economy, and force, they move without warning from quiet introspection to ferocity, from everyday fears to the worst of all possible worlds.
Welcome to the Dark Country. Few people know it, inside and out, as well as Dennis Etchison.
Posted June 8, 2014
Out of the entire Batman's Rogue's gallery of the Southern California school of writers (aka "DA Group!"):
Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, George Clayton Johnson, William Nolan, Theodore Sturgeon, and
Charles Beaumont (are Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle included?) Sir Dennis Etchison is the one that is
most like a combination of Miles Davis and Ernest Hemingway. Even more so than Richard Matheson.
I know I have to qualify that statement above. What I mean is Dennis Etchison is the most succinct in
carrying his thoughts across with the minimal amount of work in a way that talks to those that are of a
more sophisticated bent or taste. It shows, because if I am not mistaken he is the one that had the most
schooling (academia wise) having graduated from "DA L.A." (UCLA film school taughtt by the old school
studio directors of the Golden Age of Hollyweird) What I mean of course is that he is a master of dead
space just like Miles and Hemingway. Dennis is a combination of formal schooling and school of
hardknocks just like Miles and Hemingway, and it shows. Silverspoon and ghettobird. Yes Dennis be
Included in this collection is his "Beethoven's 9th" or "Jeff Buckley's Grace", I do not want to give it away.
So do yourself a favor and just read the entire thing, OK?! He carries across the mundane and everyday.
The consequences of our revolt against Gaia, Ishtar, Kali, Ayahuasca (Mother Earth is what I am saying)
like references to everyday things like a Toyota Celica. At once is is everyday, mundane, and profound.
He shows that the true horror, astonishment, and mystery is found not in horror fantasy but in the
everyday banality of our useless existence. (Did this dude [Etchison] do DMT? Just saying)
Hell for some is heaven for others (reference my boy Queen's English boy Clive Barker and Peter Atkins)
Dennis Etchison is the grandfather of those ideas for the 20th and 21st century (concerning the short
story/novella horror Genre).
So do yourselves a favor Gen X (loser 'Nevermind' Generation) and Gen Y ("Why do I have to do it?")
Give this e-book a go. You will be enriched by it I promise you. It is from the Divine Algorithm itself.
Megatron Leader of the Decepticons.
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Posted June 5, 2014
Take a walk on the dark side…An unbelievably pithy and traumatic collection of dark, stark tales, The Dark Country travels on byways the reader might not otherwise ever want to explore – into the deepest recesses of the most obscure corners of the human psyche and experience. This being the second Etchison book in which I have indulged, I thought I knew somewhat what to expect, but he caught me shockingly off-guard again and again. This man’s work is a revelation; every word, every sentence, every paragraph crafted with the precision of a machinist, every piece of each story building upon one another with an almost unbearable intensity, leading the reader down the garden path to an always unpredictable conclusion. The author describes his own work best in the opening line of “The Walking Man:”
“It was one of those long, blue evenings that come to the Malibu late in the year, the water undulating up to the beach like some smooth, sleepy girl moving slowly under a satin sheet.”
Each of Etchison’s tales “undulate up to the beach” innocently enough, only to draw back swiftly, powerfully to the ocean depths – in with a whisper, out with a BANG! This is particularly true in the disturbing stories “Sitting in the Corner, Whimpering Quietly” and “Today’s Special.”
I will continue to read Mr. Etchison’s work; it is at once terrifying yet intellectually stimulating, irresistible and mysteriously satisfying – a must-discover for any serious lover of the written word.
Posted June 25, 2014
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