Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction #44

tqf44My next gestalt real-time review is of the fiction in Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction #44 and it takes place in the comment stream below as and when I read each story.


ISBN (print) 978-0-9561533-8-8


Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction website.


The fiction is by Charles Wilkinson, Allen Ashley, Howard Phillips, Douglas Thompson, Ross Gresham.


My previous reviews of TQF publications: Real-Time Review of TQF #37 & Real-Time Review of TQF #39 & Real-Time Review of TQF #40 & Real-Time Review of TQF #41 & Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction #43.


All my real-time reviews from 2008 are linked from HERE.


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6 responses to “Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction #44

  1. A Lesson from the Undergrowth – Charles Wilkinson
    “…a set course Kant under his jacket;”
    Another elegant story of haunting and horror from a favourite writer of mine whom I have discovered only relatively recently but one who musters, I sense, a substantial hinterland.
    This is a haunting tale of the return of Neil to the large house – skirted by dual carriageways – where he grew up as the son of its caretaker. With the telling background of social divisions, we follow the battle between free-will and determinism as it blossoms from a series of the past’s memory-lists into a brush with thoughts of a sort of badger-culling, but not in the sense we accidentally know about in the news today, followed by facing one’s own mental car-crash of an AJ Ayer-esque Drogulus…
    [As an aside, I wrestled with calling ‘confectionary’ a typo for ‘confectionery’, but decided that strictly it wasn’t.]

  2. Snow Crime – Allen Ashley
    “He grinned like a dining tiger,…”
    A well-written briefly neat piece that seems – with atmospheric ‘snow-imprisoning’ scenes in an amorally cutthroat urban society – to further illuminate the free will / determinism battle of the previous story in a circular way…not another car crash, but a car as another prison? But ‘s no crime?

  3. The Return of the Terrible Darkness – Howard Phillips
    Pages 25 – 35
    “…watching in despair as the car that would have taken me to heaven pulled away.”
    I know the feeling!
    This shouldn’t work, but it does work for me so far. A crazeeee mismatch of Rhys Hughes’ metafictional absurdism and a Lovecraftian Martin Amis or Jeremy Reed – a mismatch that suddenly crystallises like a gun to my head but to the inside of my head!
    It is about the making or, rather, the re-making of a rock group, its music, its studios and planning with Howard Watts’ woofers no doubt – you need to read it to get that side of things and its personnel and Stephen Theaker himself is involved somehow by explicit name – and the whole thing seems to be about Process being the same thing as the Noumenon that was created by that very Process.
    I may have that completely wrong but if I’m right it seems related to the Kantian aspects of the previous two stories. And, indeed, the word ‘gestalt’ is explicitly used in the text – twice – towards the end of this section of the story. Meanwhile, I keep my powder dry till I’ve read some more – but not today.

  4. tqf44aPages 35 – 43
    “You should get off Howard’s back. He’s just doing his thing.”
    I sense that Howard Phillips and the Saturation Point are likely to extend their plan of world domination by performing with Jerry Cornelius playing on a guest mandolin. This is strong stuff that my aging brain needs to process. Indeed this is ironic fantasy extrapolating upon today’s commercial celebrity cults and modern social media and people who now have only heard of the BBC through its iPlayer – and gender issues – and much else. But also not only my own need to ‘process’ the text but it’s this book’s growingly wild Process-Noumenon-As-One theme (“I had not yet come into my full Howardness”) deploying fiction as a means to explore a ‘we are what we do’ virality erasing our inner self of aspirational ‘Howardness’ or whatever-our-name-is-ness in the context of the mad mad world in which (I feel) we all now live (I even google words to see if they have been used before!) … and Kantian Free Will versus Determinism (“I had always assumed that fate […] had chosen my bandmates.”)… I am wondering whether this is as funny as it is tragic.
    “I took my gun from the bedside drawer,…”

  5. Page 43 to the end of story
    “I put the gun to my head.”
    I didn’t know there was a gun in the plot when I mentioned my own inner gun pointed at my head earlier! This section is a telling coda to the foregoing theme and variations on Howardness as both Process and Noumenon. I won’t give anything away but even if I do, you won’t mind. Another Stephen, i.e. Stephen King, also walked into his books by name (and in the ‘Dark Tower’ series with his children, because he couldn’t get babysitters). Another police cell and circular ‘suicide’ as in the earlier Ashley story. And an amoral moral with rock stars wanting farms, not exactly Maggie’s Farm, but one with “low walls […] built in the old way by piling rocks upon one another.” And this story makes this particular book rock, too. And the Rolling Stones never had a female band member…
    “….and the world was ready to answer my questions, in the person of Theaker himself.”

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