|Futura, 1985, 184pp, £1.95|
Another Dave Langford review.
Everyone got into a terrific tizzy about this somewhat unusual first novel: reviews are divided between Guardians of Purity and Truth (who jump up and down shouting "sick -- obscene -- salacious -- repulsive") and an equally energetic band proclaiming a new literary messiah ("astonishing -- brilliant -- exceptional"). I quite enjoyed it, but ...
Young Frank is an interestingly obsessive personality, fond of torture (small animals/insects) and killing (small contemporaries) by way of revenge on the cruel and literally castrating world. A likeable character with a nice line in irony, observation and matter-of-fact insanity, Frank keeps the tone determinedly light -- making the book highly readable at the expense of conviction, true obsession being characteristically devoid of witty self-depreciation. Horrors are either understated in brief epigrams or forced clear over the top into ghoulishly funny Grand Guignol. Great fun. Don't miss.
But ... what was the fuss about? Has a diet of far more intentionally horrible horrors left me unable to see Banks's alleged vileness and depravity? Has Ramsey Campbell corrupted my very soul? I must get on the hotline to Mary Whitehouse, and ask.
|Written 1985 for the British Fantasy Society Newsletter, but
apparently not published on grounds of shocking lack of respect for the New God
of horror writing. |
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