Tag Archives: Christopher Barker

Eyepennies – a novella by Mike O’Driscoll

This is my seventh post-real-time review after recently announcing my retirement from real-time reviewing following four years doing it.

Publisher: TTA Press

These are all forms of mental slippage, visions he has conjured up to fill the void into which his real memories have fallen.”

This is a story of a musician who has tenuous dreams (almost like short-lived night blossoms, my expression, not the novella’s), dreams with which to infect the reader (real, head-on infections you will find hard to escape, take my warning seriously, please), infections between comic-strip, otherwise discrete, drawn-boxes of sheer dreamy beautiful prose, (deceptively easy, lazy prose as if this is the only way to conquer writer’s block as well as a musician’s) — a near-death  experience sired by hyperkalemia: the words themselves suffering a form of petechia. A moving, unlinear panoply of this musician’s life and his ‘fear’ or ‘dread’ of infecting others he loved or was related to, as perhaps finally conquered by grabbing some inevitable nettle…

Crisp winter light falls weightlessly through the window…”

The eyepennies like Quentin’s youth-pangs or one-balls are imbued by Barker’s Nicholas Parkes (cf Captain Howdy’s barking) and by O’Driscoll’s own Rediscovery of Death and Unbecoming.

This is major work of felt literature – that deserves the highest praise but only after the most careful approach as to how it is read and by whom. Either you need the thinnest petechia-prone reading-skin to absorb it fully or the thickest rind to protect you so that you can report back as I have done here. Being between these two extremes serves no purpose.  But perhaps you will never know till it is eventually too late.

A dog barks outside in the street, but a moment later it seems closer, inside the room. It sounds familiar, almost human.”


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Next BFS Prism

David Riley’s public description of possibly forthcoming controversies in the next British Fantasy Society PRISM (here):


<<There are at least two reviews that will get some response, one being perhaps the longest review ever published in Prism – or, at least, for some time. This is of Chris Barker’s collection from Ex-Occidente, Tenebrous Tales. It’s a full reprint of Des Lewis’s Real Time Review of it, which covers several pages. Some people are not going to like so much space being given over to a review of a book by someone as controversial as Chris Barker. On the other hand, it is perhaps one of the best collections of ghost stories published in recent years.

Another is a very negative review of a previous Fantasy Award winner’s latest collection.

But controversy is something which would be good to stir up in a magazine like Prism. It might get some debates going. Things can get too quiet. >>


Intriguing, but I’m not sure we should foster controversy for controversy’s sake, however.

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