I think Colin Insole should write a new fiction entitled ‘The Town Crier’ in its literal sense.
In the meantime, I declare my candidacy to become his Bellman.
My review of his debut collection entitled ELEGIES & REQUIEMS (Side Real Press 2013): HERE
Details of his publications: HERE
Trying to forget my own natural bias with regard to this story, but judging by the reviews it has generated (shown here: Flowers of the Sea | The Nemonicon
) – I am surprised that FLOWERS OF THE SEA by Reggie Oliver
has apparently not been chosen for any BEST OF volume or nominated for any award. I only hope that its presentation by me within the HA of HA has not contributed to this otherwise surprising neglect, a neglect for what is, I feel, a truly great and disturbing horror story, one that ought to go down in literary history as such.
I am also in love with all the other stories in the HA of HA, of course, but judging by the nature of the uniform praise for FLOWERS OF THE SEA and my own instincts stemming from such public demonstrations of appreciation (as well as from other private notifications to me from readers), I am so minded to make the statement above.
Artwork: Tony Lovell
Reviews of this Colin Insole story (so far):
Colin Insole masterfully interweaves elements of hagiography, developmental child psychology, and fin-de-siècle paranoia, with a carefully chosen tableau of arresting images. ‘We nail our lies to the ghosts of suspicion.’ This is a magnificent tale, and one of the best I have read this year.
the cruelties of a decayed city whose residents keep elaborate records of the nastier aspects of their history.
“The Apoplexy of Beelzebub” by Colin Insole ( an extraordinary emerging talent) is a marvelous, dark tale in which a researcher perusing the city archives unearths past tragedies and disreputable events involving her own family.
“The Apoplexy of Beelzebub” consists of many macabre or tragic digressions, miniature myths and fables all woven together with, and at times dominating, the main strand of his narrative to create a grotesque, pullulating effect.
This is dark, disturbing and unrelentingly grim. We can all feel trapped by family, place, convention, culture. In Mr. Insole’s nightmare city, insularity is celebrated, cruelty the greatest tradition, escape the worst sin. This will resonate with anyone who lives in any kind of community, or has a family, and will stick with me for a long time.
Another story, equally chilling in its ability to reveal the power of stories to corrupt our lives, is Colin Insole’s “The Apoplexy of Beelzebub”. Insole has created a city somewhere between a fantasy city and a city in Britain’s North East, Hull comes to mind, in which a daughter strives to get away from her wicked (step?) mother and the poisonous web of libel and gossip which festers in the city archives. Is the daughter in control of her destiny of not? Will she escape the web of words?
Best Short Story – ‘The Apoplexy of Beelzebub’ by Colin Insole
“…the best story in the book, written with a style and panache which seems both in love with the grotesque things that it describes and at the same time to recoil from them, addressing themes of bullying and retribution.” (Black Static # 25 – TTA Press)
Insole’s story, published in the Des Lewis edited The Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies, took the prize with its invention, grimy atmosphere and minatory subtext.
Any further reviews after 20 Jan 12 will be shown in comments below.
“Can you recall the lasting effect of the most deeply disturbing collection of horror stories you’ve ever encountered? The narratives join hands…” — From THE USELESS by Dominy Clements in the HA of HA.
I’ve just started an Editor’s Story-by-Story Commentary of the HA of HA:
This exercise is a hybrid of the Real-Time Review that I’ve been writing since 2008 about various books.
I did a similar commentary for ‘CERN ZOO’ and ‘NULL IMMORTALIS’. [As an aside, I only realised in the last few days that ‘immortalis’ is an anagram of ‘immoralist’].