Rocks from the Centre of the Earth

I have just started a brief personal review of THE QUARRY by Iain Banks HERE.

Other books I’ve bought which I intend to review in the future:

THE ADJACENT by Christopher Priest

VIRTUE IN DANGER by Reggie Oliver


Having already glanced at the opening paragraph of the Graham Joyce book, I am fascinated that it contains these words: “…ancient rocks are sent hurtling from the deep to the surface of the earth…”

All my other reviews since 2008 linked from HERE.

LATER TODAY: now effectively started review of the GJ book in comments below.

No spoilers intended.


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14 responses to “Rocks from the Centre of the Earth

  1. Having now properly started the GJ book, I see it begins with a sort of ‘Returned’ as in the current Channel 4 THE RETURNED serial but I guess it won’t continue in that vein!

    And this is quoted at the start of Ch 4 in the GJ book:
    “Are you a witch?
    Are you a fairy?
    Are you the wife
    Of Michael Cleary?”
    This rhyme also serendipitously happens to be quoted in the Rog Pile story that has just appeared in ‘Horror Without Victims’.

  2. I have now reached the end of ch. 8 in ‘Some Kind of Fairy Tale’. Really enjoying so far its deceptively simple sense of the fairy-tale land behind the bluebell glade, imbued by rocks and trees, and a sense of what I shall call a changeling wireless signal that must accompany all our domestic trials and tribulations – and pleasures – which we often call reality. Those youthful excesses we all once actively perpetrated or passively watched from some solitary afar.
    These three relatively recent photos of mine will hopefully give you some sense of a few of my own visualisations while reading the first few chapters of this book:

  3. Ch. 9 of ‘Some Kind of Fairy Story’ – I’m beginning to get a vague fortuitous delightful sense of Stephen King’s “Time is a face on the water” and his ‘Wind Through the Keyhole’ – and my favourite book: Eleanor Farjeon’s “Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard”…

    I notice, too, that the ‘returned’ one possibly does not look as old as she should do.

  4. Just been enthralled up to the end of ch. 16.
    It’s to be hoped now time for a nice cup of tea.
    You fracking betcha!

  5. Up to ch. 17.
    I love some of the touches in this novel that make it even more tantalising – i.e. in addition to what is tantamount to a fairy-tale land in the weft and woof of the very paper the book is printed on, the changeling watermark I imagine behind the words. A foundling faith in fiction.
    Those touches? Such characters as Tara’s ‘shrink” and the lady who has lost her cat. And the quotes at the head of each chapter. And more.

  6. “The provoked confabulator invents in response to probing, offering piecemeal, fleeting fantasies often combined with real-time memories.”

    …part of the shrink’s report on the ‘returned’ Tara. And having read ch. 19 now, I sense the dark frisson of whence she has returned – her HieroSpace?

  7. Ch. 20
    “They were enjoying a glass of wine and a few rare moments together, with all the children either in bed or upstairs and abducted by the internet.”

  8. Up to ch. 22.
    Another tantalising touch – bringing into interface the concept of the double bluff (during Tara’s reunion with Richie) and the archetypes of fantasy and myth through the shrink’s report. This is a pure synergy within the synchronised shards of random truth and fiction, whether intentional or not.
    This book so far seems to be a Fantasy book with frissons of Horror, rather than a Horror Book with shafts of Fantasy, if we are forced to consider such false distinctions of fiction genre.

  9. Up to ch. 25.
    There are strands of point-of-view in this book – like a series of intertwining daisy-chains, one of which is the literal concupiscent daisy-chain in Tara’s HieroSpace where a lake reflects seismic convulsions or ‘ejaculations’: a phenomenon that echoes the title that I gave this whole blog thread from outset. Another strand is the shrink’s TM, and another Richie’s and Peter’s middle-aged laddishness, and Tara’s thread herself on this side of HieroSpace, and Jack’s ginger cat thread, and…
    Listing these is no spoiler, rest assured. The archetypal spoiler I sense is already within us all….
    With the sensual lake’s contravirginal motions, I began to wonder why one of the main characters in this book is a farrier, which I understand to be a type of blacksmith. As I cut my lawn this afternoon with the electric mower, I visualised myself doing it barefoot. And whether that would make the task more dangerous or less dangerous. The answer is complex, I guess, just like the relationship between a reader and fiction …

  10. Up to ch. 28.
    TM is Time itself?
    Jack and the ‘madoldbitch’ computer set-up scene is very thought-provoking. Have I been right all along with my tentative name of ‘HieroSpace’ as a serendipitous echo of The Quarry’s HeroSpace … erupting rocks notwithstanding!

  11. Up to ch. 31.
    The spinning out of the above point-of-view strands continues. Not so much this section’s mosh pit, perhaps, as a myth pitch.

    [My story ‘Welsh Pepper’ published in the ‘Year’s Best Horror Stories’ book in 1993 later republished in the ‘Weirdmonger’ collection in 2003, I humbly suggest, is a brief, hopefully rewarding, counterpoint to the ‘music’ of reading this 2012 SKOFT novel.]

  12. Ch. 32.
    A powerfully substantive chapter centring upon Tara’s HieroSpace that seems to differ from the other HeroSpace by its concupiscent ‘daisy-chain’ ethos or, even, a conceptually bukkake one? TM’s entrapment in Time, a realm without guilt or restraint, yet with a changeling or foundling or fledgling honour and goodness that may prevail beyond the Sensual or the Gladiatorial.
    This is a novel, if its genre needs to be decided at all, that seems to resonate more with my Dark Tower Stephen King rather than with any Salem’s Lot Stephen King. Fantasy, then, not Horror.
    From this chapter: “Mow the lawn. What do I care?”

  13. Up to ch. 36.
    “The age of the internet had arrived while I had been away.”
    A dead cat splayed against a wire fence or TM splayed against the return portal between HieroSpace and her inverse James Stewart quasi Wonderful-Life moment upon arriving back toward her now aging loved ones… More powerful writing.

    “There was a conspiracy not to pass on bad news to people of their age,…”
    I know the feeling!

  14. Up to end.
    Outcomes some expected, some not. No spoilers here.
    Yet, I need to describe how homely domestic details (like tea-leaves left at the bottom of cups) can hide as well as reveal identities, destinies, the transitories of one’s own life as reflected in fiction, whoever wrote the fiction and we think we know who wrote it here, but who narrated it? And Guy in ‘The Quarry’ with his own Picnic of Tara’s Hanging Rocks … and soul-sucking screens (or ‘junk television’ as they’re called in SKOFT)…. and, in spite or because of fracking known in SKOFT as ‘blasting’, Richie, like Guy, suffers his own similar disease or torment, but Fantasy like SKOFT seems to me to give more hope than despair. A Horror without Victims. A Fiction-Shock treatment to cure bodily invasivenesses as well as mental misnomers like Narcissism, Paranoia, Histrionics or, in the Quarry, Aspergers, too. In tune with the two cats, Essence and Appearance are a synergy but never the same thing. My own empathy is with Peter Pan, if not Martin Pippin, in the Apple Orchard. We can live forever through fiction. A very fulfilling read. A myth pitch.


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