Sunday, January 15, 2017

Dead Letters

Dead Letters


An Anthology of the Undelivered, the Missing, the Returned….

Edited by Conrad Williams

Titan Books 2016

Stories by Steven Hall, Michael Marshall Smith, Joanne Harris, Alison Moore, Christopher Fowler, Pat Cadigan, Ramsey Campbell, Claire Dean, Andrew Lane, Muriel Gray, Nina Allan, Adam LG Nevill, Lisa Tuttle, Nicholas Royle, Angela Slatter, Maria Dahvana Headley, China Miéville, Kirsten Kaschock.

When I real-time review this anthology, my comments will appear in the thought stream below………..

21 thoughts on “Dead Letters

    THE GREEN LETTER by Steven Hall
    I enjoyed this forensic dissection disguised as fiction of what we know of the preternatural green letter, whatever its propensity for delivery, recurring accidental blotting and appended cloned accoutrements, the choice of recipient’s circling and duplicated dire consequences. I thought the ‘blank’ was a reference to the blank story I published in 2002, and decided to leave it at that. Inscrutable but enjoyable.
    But then I thought – the ‘tain’ of Captain, the Mike or Mick of Michael and the significant marks on the green letter’s envelope and the ‘wain’ of Wayne, I was led to believing the key to this story is the book ‘Letters from the Earth’ by Mark Twain.
    (“A way must be conceived to pursue the dead beyond the tomb.” From this Mark Twain book.)
  2. Any by-line links are to my previous real-time reviews of the authors in question.
    OVER TO YOU by Michael Marshall Smith (and HERE)
    “…something of an allergy motherlode”
    Trees as allergy, smoking or drinking as death, death being a disease passed from person to person by dint of being human.
    Unless you can pass the buck? Man to man. Gambit against gambit.
    A compelling, page-turning tale of a man working from home and trying to kick the habit of social media between bouts of eschewing cigarettes (bar the odd sneaky one), under the suspicious gaze of his loving wife and son. Until he has one of today’s rare, seemingly non-junk, packages received in the post…
    To tell you more would spoil your determination to finish.
  3. IN MEMORIAM by Joanne Harris
    “She started to cry, as I’d known she would, and reached for the bottle at her side. And afterwards, there was a fire – always a risk, when smoking in bed –”
    In the previous story a father and caring son. Now a mother and caring son. Here the passing bucks have wings, I guess. And the ability to eat clothes. Or take them off in business transactions.
    This work is an immersive tale of a motherarium – in more ways than one.
    An intriguing establishment in Belfast, where failed missives flock; I sense a real place where the Post Office deals with this book’s type of mis-routed letters and packages, and in this story, dead letters, for real, as well as anachronistic ones, reaching a culmination of the narrator’s family history explained, touching and haunting. Foreign names, forgotten memories, et al.
  4. AUSLAND by Alison Moore (and HERE and HERE.)
    “L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
    A sense of Stephen Poliakoff, too.
    A stand-alone, quite short, story but also blending serendipitously with the previous work, narrating a reunion from knowing each other years before, now an old woman and a German inventor type, and a mis-routing of photographs, synchronicity and then anachronicity. And a plot revelation you will remember.
  5. WONDERS TO COME by Christopher Fowler (and HERE)
    “When you sell people a dream, he thought, they don’t want to know how the dream works.”
    This is an ostensibly enjoyable yarn of a new hotel with supposedly foolproof ultra-modern systems of utility that, upon its opening, become a monstrous disaster zone that I shall loosely call “substance abuse” …possibly because of a sample package being sent (for forensic investigation) by untracked Royal Mail instead of some other more reliable method?
    On another level, it takes off as a fabulous prophecy of the Trump Inauguration this coming 20 January. Just read it and see. It all fits in. Details such as the performers booked and the hotel called Atlantica (cf Trump’s Atlantic City business disaster) …. and more.
  6. CANCER DANCER by Pat Cadigan (and HERE and HERE.)
    “You think a lot of crazy shit when you get cancer.”
    This is a genuine compulsive can’t resist turning the next page read, one where a touching empathy semi-autonomously sets itself up a “not-a-coincidence file”, as an apparently mis-delivered post takes the cancer-invaded protagonist on a hindsight gestalt’s path of sensible hope however absurd cancer makes it seem along the way. A loop towards eternity via google maps and slammed down mobile phone conversations. I just wonder if Detective Sergeant Michael Parris (Ret’d) is connected (as he might be connected via this book’s inscrutable internal routes of deliverance) with Captain Michael Wayne? Or with the great erstwhile editor of The Mayflower Books of Black Magic Stories, Dream Trips et al, a possible dreamcatching that should have been side-stepped?
    “Apparently awkward was mandatory.”
  7. THE WRONG GAME by Ramsey Campbell (and HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.)
    “– sometimes it’s a stray phrase…”
    Ramsey, you embroil us in your story, implicate us in its entrancing wiles, its synchronised shards of random truth and fiction, and having now read it, it is too late to unread it. Just watch your post. A playing card for a playing card, a gambit for a gambit (from the Michael Marshall Smith story in this volume?) The inscrutable routes between literature and literature that my poker-faced dreamcatcher is set to trawl. After the washing of hands like Pilate, we’ll send someone, one of any number of us, to the stigmatiser for the ultimate tontine prize of horror. Each of us searching for the core original idea, that stray phrase never used as a plot ignition before, with nothing up the maleficent sleeve…but just make sure it does not become lost among the junk or left in endless orbital trajectory among the litter of dark space.
    Remember Bournemouth is one of those very rare words (if not the only one) with ‘nemo’ in it.
  8. IS-AND by Claire Dean
    “There are old patterns to follow.”
    And the patterns for my eventual gestalt started off as – hmm, yes, a workmanlike narration, nice touches, but is this another run-of-the-mill child changeling story on an island beset with even older patterns than my own? Thankfully, I was left with significantly more than simply what it said. I will leave you to decide what that is.
    In the same way as the female protagonist needed a dictionary for her boy friend’s shrugs – having come with him to this island where he had lived originally with his mother and where he had once entered a now broken marriage – I also needed a special decoder for this story’s own diffidence. The mis-addressed package that had awaited his return to the island. More shrugs and redactions. His mother’s behaviour and whether there are more child-like novelties to activate if I fully unwrap it or fill in the gaps of both title and text.
  9. BUYER’S REMORSE by Andrew Lane
    “That meant I wavered between wanting to feel apologetic and wanting to be irritated.”
    Indeed. But, against my better judgement of either, I found myself relishing this slip-easy story of delivering a mis-delivered package by hand, even though I had to travel quite a few miles to coastal Devon by Italian scooter.
    I can’t remember a story that I consumed so readily, despite or because there were no stuttering halts along the way, bar the strange cauliflower plants bordering the road, the talk of geographical names undifferentiable by Google Maps, the twitching curtains when I arrived, bartering instead of buying, and the names of some of the barterable books that I vaguely recall from when reading Panther paperbacks in the 1960s. Whether this journey was meant to be disturbing or humorous, I found it a huge laugh in the main and highly enjoyable. Sometimes one wishes one had swapped one’s own children when given the chance.
    And when I eventually get to the end of this anthology book, the place of this particular story in it, and in the gestalt of my reading life, will no doubt slot into significant place, like a collage of arcane maps. A caveat emptor, notwithstanding.
    “‘Nothing is accidental,’ she said, smiling sadly. ‘Everything happens for a reason.'”
  10. GONE AWAY by Muriel Gray
    “Tragedy […] is defined by the protagonist bringing the calamity upon themselves.”
    This is an engagingly sardonic, well-versed tale (as narrated by a self-described plain woman from within our country’s aristocracy at the dead-end of her family’s scions) about the wrong-side-of-the-blanket tentacles of the hubris and nemesis of that buried as well as landed aristocracy.
  11. ASTRAY by Nina Allan
    “– everything battened down and no loose ends, because every army kid knows loose ends can kill.”
    I have previously read and reviewed many Nina Allan works (as you can judge from my link above), and this is a Nina Allan classic, in my book.
    Meanwhile, I must say I am a big fan of hand-written letters (“You don’t see that many hand-written letters these days.”) as I have exchanged such letters on subjects such as literature, ideas etc. with one person since 1967, on average once a fortnight, and they are still going on! The odd one goes missing, but rarely. But the whole idea of dead letters etc. has captured my imagination as a result of this anthology, and the way that this topic often leads to compelling and page-turning experiences of reading about intrigues, puzzles, coincidences, detection, travelling by google maps to deliver a mis-directed missive and so forth. And this story is no exception, concerning an army child without the commitments of long stays at schools, growing into womanhood amid a whole skein of dead letters and mad-seeming, Fortean excuses for behaviour, involving all the plot factors I list above. And such tranches of life criss-crossing with other tranches by such means make a telling portrait here of fallible people and other tragedies – but there is no clinching gestalt in hindsight to give a punch-line ending, as things always do carry on beyond the end of every story that captures you by accident or by imagined intent. A story delivered by this book to unknown addresses.
    “It was almost as if there was a story going on, a story I had made myself a part of by opening the first letter, and now I had no choice but to see how it continued.”
  12. THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES by Adam LG Nevill
    “So many ways to see everything. One skin and then another skin. It had made me squirm and squirt.”
    You may think this inwardly Nevill story is the Theatre of the Absurd and the Theatre of Cruelty trying to outdo each other, or a misdirected package of literature in itself, but knowing it takes place in a seaside resort similar to the one where I live makes it seem quite believable, judging by my own experience over many years, even the eating of ‘child-size vanilla ice-creams.’ Or vanevilla?
    It tells of a wedding held in a charity shop, and a man and woman relationship of attrition together as a result of this misdirected package, a story that seems more in keeping with bodily excess and manual relief as forms of concocted revenge against complete strangers and even stranger Movements of people each tantamount to a hobbyist diaspora within a ritual re-enactment of a church painting.
  13. ‪ THE HUNGRY HOTEL by Lisa Tuttle (and HERE)‬
    ‪”The fanciful story he began to tell turned into a song. I wondered if he was making it up as he went along,…”‬
    ‪This plainly spoken story implicates its young female narrator between her absent fiancė and an obsessive passing affair with a rock band member, one who later rides the ups and downs of wikipaedic musical fame that she witnesses, in later life, from a distance. What actually transpires is locked behind the door of a hotel room somewhere, one you may decide to open or ignore? ‬
    ‪There is also the engaging description of a delightful child-like belief in where babies come from, something that I will not divulge here, but if this idea is original to this story, it is really quite a discovery. I was finally left satisfied by this story despite the misdirected pointers toward being romantically run-of-the-mill along the way.‬
    ‪Hunger for love, hunger for fame, leading to emptiness or a shared dream? It depends on who is sent to whom, who is received by whom, and when.‬
    ‪The Faim-Inn or the Fame Hotel.‬
  14. img_2767
    L0ND0N by Nicholas Royle (and HERE and HERE and HERE and, in 1994, HERE)
    “Go ahead. Skim. I’m just telling you what I saw.”
    This is a conflation, or is it? A story within a story, or is it? A picture within a picture, then? Maybe, if you count ‘found art’ like a red vase or an unknown contraptiveness in a railway station subway… Or a novel within a novel? Yes, maybe, if it is a novel about the Belgium coast (and its postage stamps) facing the coast of England, on this very day, this very moment, when the tides encroach in real-time upon where I sit on the Essex coast waiting for lands to touch each to each, as if in a Geographia poem by TS Eliot, or a tale of dark diaspora by Joel Lane.
    This is a wonderful work for me. I take ‘found art’ photographs like red vases etc for some of my real-time reviews, including in 2013 a novel by Nicholas Royle. This story also gives useful advice on the etiquette and art of using Twitter and Facebook. It is a seminal work for our strange times of pervasive communication and the conflation between self and unself that results. A ‘mise en abyme.’ Nicholas Royle fiction writer/editor etc. and Nichola Royle Sussex university literature professor.
    I saw the Gilbert and George video about Gordon’s Gin in Cheltenham art gallery a month or two ago. Possibly my last holiday.
  15. CHANGE MANAGEMENT by Angela Slatter
    This is primary colours, not pastel.
    In your face, an untrammelled essence of Dead Letters and the earlier mentioned Belfast office, whereby Eva works conscientiously in the local sorting office trying to avoid sending such letters to be sorted in Belfast, by sorting them herself, as she was once sorted into life’s hidden pigeon-hole by childhood abuse and later caring for her elderly mother – a life needing change of direction if not in the way the local sorting office itself has just changed management…
    This is not only primary colours, it is Grand Guignol, too, the story’s correct label of saving grace, with a sharp-edged division between evil and good, except possibly the new emotionally powerful style of loving that comes into her life via a clutter of bloodstains and epiphany as well as of good and evil. The fable’s moral is uncluttered though: the nature of men. It is as clear as red is from black.
  16. LEDGE BANTS by Maria Dahvana Headley & China Miéville
    “Since then I’ve been on this dread postal quest, forced to chew my way through decades of lost mail, trying to get my teeth into things that were stolen from me.”
    …this being extrapolation from exactly that, this book’s pastel and primary colours are now mixed and merged with James Joyce, John Cowper Powys, Peter Ackroyd, William Blake, Arthurian fantasy and more. Is it a Tench? I ask. No, a Stoat. Ha Ha Ha.
    An ageing postal worker whose job no one questions but involves sorting through decades of Dead Letters in this book’s terms for that expression. One wonders whether he has been sent mad by this activity, imagining he is eating the contents of these packages, beset by the ‘distaff’ oppression of his self as lots of men as old as me seem to be – or wielding his ‘spear’ in self-defence in the misguided belief it is Excalibur, forgetting it was originally wielded by a distaff, anyway, from under a lake! Which is which out of these two authors, I wonder?
    And so we are following this ageing man’s mind through such crazy byways he has created for himself.
    OR it is all true, a fantasy that exists as reality? “…a skull carved from a bigger skull.”
    OR a metaphor for Trump, Brexit and post-truth? Yes, that’s what it is. But who am I?
    “You should never underestimate the magic of magic’s passing. The strength of the death of that strength.”
    “My book, soaked through days before, illegible — each page polluted with the next, warped, stuck, tearing if turned.”
    Each page mis-labelled, too, upon the next, as mis-directed as the parcels of half-pairs turn out to be, yet a gestalt of itself, just as this whole book’s own gestalt is a strong mixture of literary differences, but producing its own child, sometimes torqued, sometimes pilfering, sometimes hitting the spot, a child for whom the reader can act as tutelary agent – a child called Dead Letters.
    This story – perhaps the most disarmingly powerful of all within its own foregoing context as linchpin – tells of another tutelary agent, genderless, caring in a very strange way, as if it divided those socks at birth into half-pairs, knowing exactly what was going to happen. A small boy has a new sister, and boys who expected themselves to be the sole centre of attention often hate anything in the shape of a sister come to change that. Not disarming, after all. A poetic density takes the reader along and we understand it because it understands us and our own foibles as once child and later grown-up, even ageing, as I am, once a parent, too, of a boy and girl, in that order, an overgrown-up who needs such lessons to re-learn. To search for my own “birthbloom.” To become a tutelary agent or hawler myself? A Dreamcatcher.
    “A battlefield poppy, wound-fed. As I have observed it, much of mothering involves contortion.”
    Indeed this book has an engaging variety of styles, full of intrigue and mis-direction, teasing and compelling, as well as cohering an optimal literary theme for a fiction anthology. It makes me wonder why this theme has never been used before. Or has it?
    I hope I have done it all justice.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Dark Gods – T.E.D. Klein

Dark Gods – T.E.D. Klein


DARK GODS – Four Tales:-
Children of the Kingdom
Black Man with a Horn
Nadelman’s God

Viking Penguin Inc. 1985

My real-time review here of TED Klein’s THE CEREMONIES.

I intend to review this book during 2017 and, when I do, my comments will appear in the thought stream below…….

12 thoughts on “Dark Gods – T.E.D. Klein”

    Pages 3 – 23
    “Less than half a block can make a difference in New York.”
    We are enticed in 1977 by immaculately and evocative prose scenario following the narrator – who seems a trifle xenophobic and nervous of others threatening his life(style) – suffering a bus journey through the more unsalubrious parts of New York to where he lives with his wife Karen in the more salubrious. And getting his feisty Grandfather into an old people’s home that is reminiscent of a slightly seedy version of Aickman’s Hospice, two of the women residents at least being “well-fed-looking”.
    Granddad spends his time outside on stoops with types (including loose or inscrutable children coming and going to school) in the more downtrodden vicinity of New York, sitting with Father Pistachio who is translating his own book on the Gospel According to Thomas and other (Indian-Jewish?) theories that the narrator relates to a Hollow Earth.
    This Thomas, either a look back at Thomas Mann’s sanatorium or a preternatural prophecy of Thomas Ligotti’s scenarios — or, more likely, an apocrypha’s Doubting Thomas, I ask myself, doubting.

  2. Pages 23 – 47
    “…a neighbourhood can change in half an hour as assuredly as it can change in half a block.”
    The adjoining parts of this novella, too.
    From one moment dealing with his Grandfather, helping paint his room in the rest home, taking him for a haircut, but also upon the edge of Father Pistachio’s theories of Fortean diaspora of tribes. I sense hints, too, of ‘niños’ – as part of these diaspora and the hair-trigger city itself – giving abuse or, even, inviting abuse upon themselves to incriminate grown-ups or to echo civilisations doing this in serial numbers as part of their future? Upon the edge, too, of pools below basement washrooms, pools full of tapeworms and other creatures too dire to describe? Who knows? I feel infiltrated. Or about to be so.

  3. Page 47 till end of CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM on page 71
    “Well, well, I thought. The Machine Stops.”
    Only connect.
    Except when the connections cease and all is black, a blackout when the “blacks” are out and about – and some “white’ scrawny creature, too, if you can but see them.
    I confirm that, just as with ‘The Ceremonies’ earlier (Rosie as a version of a hybrid-blighted Grandfather-Pistachio-thing under the drain grate?), I have never read this book before, so this is a genuine real-time review. So when I called it the hair-trigger city above, I had no idea. This is a very powerful powercut of a finale, details of which would spoil it. I sense from my memory that there really was a blackout in New York in 1977. And pistachio nuts to tread upon in 1979. And Young Ones that have come out since to tempt or taunt or taint some members, I’m told, of our humankind. Old Ones, too, one in particular.

  4. PETEY
    Pages 75 – 98
    “First the effect, then the cause — as if his mind held so many unexplored levels, mystery upon mystery, that he never knew the things it contained…”
    Arrival, Story of Your Life…?
    This first half — topped, tailed and intermitted by italicised inscrutability of illness and suicide of as yet unknown person(s) — builds from an engagingly theatrical social comedy of a house-warming party of a sizeable number of American middle-aged couples whom I, from Britain, would today call Republican voters (even Trumpists?), the house being very large, rambling and miles-from-anywhere, also like a stately home. Accretively, though, we learn of its decor and furnishings and items of fine art (more recondite than fine) and gradually we learn of the darkly strange backstory of the house and its owner. Tapestries of the grotesque and arabesque. And people drifting off from the main group. Readers, let’s keep together.

  5. Page 98 to the end of PETEY on page 128
    “Nothing about an extra trump, a spare, a bonus, a joker…”
    Things at the party later take the turn of archetypes and rituals, e.g. tarot cards or astrology, as the guests explore the books that came with the House, its cluttered Attic, the host spending most of his time on the toilet, and another guest sleeping and having a nightmare. It appears that the house was purchased relatively cheaply by means of a trick or Trumpery of dodgy capitalism, pretending there was a high road coming through the house when, in fact, it wasn’t.
    As to the ‘Petey’ undercurrents, is this a version of ‘piety’, and indeed there is a ‘DIETY’, not ‘deity’, on page 121. Or is it a reference to ‘pets’? Or things like the previous story’s ‘children of the kingdom’ now pickled in jars? Or is this word Petey a garbling of Party as a prediction of this very house-warming? Hints, half-hints, and an eerie sense of a scarecrow outside, things haunting this text with more weird and wonderful glitches that one can imagine literally coming out of the text itself. I wonder what that grey shape arriving at the end turns out to be? “He turned over several minor trumps,…”

    Pages 131 – 156
    “Ah, Howard, your triumph was complete the moment your name became an adjective.”
    …which is ironic when many HPL fans today in 2017 are being led against their previous idol through political correctness.
    This story is told as if for me – with a conscious overt decision to write it in real-time, by the what might be seen as a politically incorrect narrator, with the story’s gestalt clincher as yet unknown even by him.
    Judging by the current age this narrator gives for himself — and I assume this narrator is E. Hoffman Price (known as a real-time HPL disciple) — he is telling of events from 1974 onward? The plane journey where he meets the missionary fresh from Malaysia, the connections he makes with Tcho-Tcho, the Coltrane LP cover, and the blacks and other races and a telling mention of a “Negro child” and “a rowdy group of half-naked teenagers” and other Puerto Rican children playing truant, even a mention somewhere of Sunni, and the central theme of a black man with a horn, involving coughed-up lung-tissue…all these things (and more) are entrammelling.
    I am eager to read more later about this Case of the Mysterious Missing Missionary. And to enjoy the engaging humour, too, earlier exemplified by EHP’s stated rivalry with a posthumous HPL, and his account of the incidents on the plane.
    Everyone is guilty till they are proved innocent, I guess.
    “It was, in fact, a thorny problem: forced to choose between whites whom I despised and blacks whom I feared,…”

    • I also enjoyed the easy chat between EHP and the posthumous HPL … and the intermittent HPL quotations as illuminators.
      And is the ‘CHarlie CHan’ character on the plane anything to do with the Tcho-Tcho. We deserve to know.

  7. Page.156 till end of BLACK MAN WITH A HORN on page 173
    “With Howard gone these more than forty years I still lived out my life in his shadow; certainly his tales had overshadowed my own. Now I found myself trapped within one of them. Here, miles above the earth, I felt great gods warring; below, the war was already lost.”
    But is it ever lost, till it is lost? I continue to relish the narrator EHP’s engaging old age and his relationship with his sister and nephew, in this unfolding scenario, that may never be resolved. The Jewish ‘shofar’ possibly as black phallus – and the Malaysian bogeyman for children called ‘shugoran’ as something fishy lurking in this book’s earlier pools under New York. All parts of a pattern of library research to solve the mystery and whether HPL’s own black face will turn up, pressed against your own window, although the story only implies that fear or, rather, hope. Perhaps you will not even see anything like that in it. And what about that man with a naked child or child-like thing lurking in his vicinity of the hotel, reminding me of ‘The Ceremonies’ and that book’s own library’s under-age acts witnessed by an adult. Was Carol’s dance a cha cha?
    ‘Death’s Herald’ and the ‘scuba’ theory, notwithstanding.
    Literature’s unique quest for xenophilia by aversion therapy, from HPL and his disciples EHP, TEDK et al, onward? The choice between fearing and despising resolved?
    Meanwhile, EHP still moulders away in a Florida bungalow? How will we know, unless he tells us?
    “The calendar on the wall tells me it’s been almost three months since I moved in. Somewhere in its remaining pages you will find the date of my death.”

    Pages 177 – 202
    “…creator, almost singled-handed, of the highly successful Nobanana campaign…”
    My children in the 1970s once referred to a shopkeeper as the NOBANANA man because he often shouted at them when they entered NO BANANA MEN (they liked the sweets called banana men but such were often out of stock and he knew what they were coming in for!)
    Nadelman when he grew up to be a proper grown-up he worked for an advertising agency, and he was responsible for the NOBANANA drink campaign that made his name. But before that in his mad 1970s student days of occult interests…
    “The seventies were still young and Nadelman not widely traveled; this was the first man he’d ever seen wearing an earring, outside a pirate movie.”
    He visited a S&M club full of satantists et al. He believed in “ceremonies”, “preternatural power”, “Lovecraft, that sort of thing.” He now sees such obsessives as CREEPS. Read the paragraph about CREEPS, you won’t forget it, Well, I believed in those sort of things in the sixties as a student CREEP, and I’ve since grown up, too, I guess, but I still believe in preternatural powers embodied by my gestalt real-time reviews, beyond my control, almost writing themselves…..? Anyway, Nadelman did grow up, sort of, too, with his girl friend who went to that club with him back in the day, now his wife, himself a successful advertising man, but one of his student occult poems is rediscovered and used as lyrics by a rock band. And it entails someone called Huntoon, a fan of those lyrics, writing to Nadelman, inspired by them to erect the most outlandish and foul-looking sculpture on his mother’s rooftop, not ‘found art’ so much but a new god or God? An avant garde installation, too, as part of its look, I guess. But I have not seen the very worrying photograph of it that was sent to Nadelman, so what do I know?
    What I do know now, however, is that I ought to worry if anything equally outlandish has been manufactured by modern CREEPS out of DF Lewis’ 1000+ published weird and sometimes off-the-wall stories in the 80s and 90s…
    I guess this TEDK story takes place in the 80s…
    “guarded nihilism” seems “le mot juste” or deux mots. “a furtive god.” “pious do-gooders!” That piety, diety, petey…? A dictionary as a “bar mitzvah present from Aunt Lottie.” “Reality is never enough for some people.” CREEPS “In The Know.”

  9. Pages 202 – 229
    “Nadelman felt himself sliding further down the feathery slope to the land of unreason. First the creep believed the Rival God was actually real; now he claimed he’d talked to him.”
    In these later days of Trumpery, this text tells me “The lie had become real.”
    Huntoon haunts (stalks, in modern terminology) this novella’s family man Nadelman, as also does Nadelman’s past, but he can’t find his actual goto home, but, from his shorter-term past, he recognises on a train the girl from the erstwhile S&M club. And talking about longer- and shorter-term pasts, I have remembered that in the 1960s I created the long epic poem about the god Etepsed-Egnis in the collaborative ‘The Egnisomicon.’
    Snopake or Tippex needed to cover my tracks or mistakes?
    And there was a story entitled ‘The Hungerers’ in my Prime Books reprise collection ‘Weirdmonger’…
    “From the street came a squeal of brakes and, with it, the blare of a horn.”
    Nadelman’s own extensive scrutiny of his then real-time notes for his student poem actually frightens me, as does his need to hunt down the Huntoon haunting to its lair.
    “Grant the reality of a single spirit and you found yourself faced with an entire cosmos of them.”

  10. Page 229 till the end of NADELMAN’s GOD and of the whole book on page 559
    We see a line of sad old men on the boardwalk at the end, and they must once have been children, I guess. But which the Old One? Which the child it once was? Where its home?
    I needed at least a bit of the real me shown. But where else would I have found sanctuary? Probably not in a synagogue or even in any other church of god or God.
    Nadelman’s meeting with the Huntoons is CREEPy in its true sense. Including the backwards gramophone for hidden messages.
    Telling, too, are the feelings of guilt thereafter as to what Nadelman thinks he had brought into being, what he had brought into our world by the “Naming of Names.”
    I often feel the same about my own past work, except my guilt is less, I hope, because fewer people have seen it.
    Judging by what is happening today in our world — as I finish reading this book, this great book, this culmination of ceremonies and dark gods — the sense of the book’s guilt is felt even more strongly. And there is some incredible writing you will never forget scattered throughout, but specially that shown in the pages around page 244.
    Perhaps that’s why TEDK has had his literary version of the Silence of Sibelius (the latter lasting 30 years after his final composition.)
    He is still staying put, I suggest, “till morning.”
    “Today the world was changed, or rather, it was he who had changed; he felt as if everything he gazed upon […] were doomed to pass away with the dying light, and that the passing would be bitter.”