Gemma Files 1
So, since I never bother to get around to doing theme updates, I’ve decided that this blog will be more catch-as-catch-can and I’ll update it more as stream-fo-conscious style. I think there is a perpetual war between quality and quantity, but since quality never even showed up to this knife-fight, I’m going to give you what I can.
So far I’ve only read 2 of Gemma Files’s stories, although I’ve read more “of” them than I have them of them. In a less confusing parlance, I mean that her reputation proceeds her.
After mixed experiences with Ellen Datlow’s “Best Horror” series, I’d pretty much given up on them except as ways to read Laird Barron stories that I hadn’t yet bough the books for. So once I bought both of Barron’s collections, I thought I was done. But that wasn’t the case.
I kept reading about a story called “each thing i show you is a piece of my death.” The descriptions that I read (and any description I could give it) make it sound like “Blair Witch” of a story. But everything kept saying it was the best and that other’s suffered in comparison. Well, since I happen to hate that style of story, I though I’d eat the anthology cost, read the “best” and then assuage my conscience for never reading another again.
If you’re not a reader of short fiction, then I can understand where I might have lost you above. I can only speak to my few passions (i.e. poetry and horror), but there has been a long-running arms race between cinema and literature to try to incorporate and out-do the other’s innovations. Some I think are great, some are less so, some are Cloud Atlas. In general, however, I am fairly loathe to see one genre try to incorporate the advances of another. Other than children’s books, which mix visual and textual in a very effective collaboration, I think that these experiments flop more than they pop.
So, rest assured that if you read “each thing I show you” by Ms. Files and Stephen Barringer means you can have the best and then ignore the rest.
I’ve been mulling it over and I’m not sure why theirs’ is the most affecting, but it is. I might be the way that they weave the inter-corruptive nature of the beast in from the get-go, sort of establishing it’s baseline acceptance at the last phase of denial, then leading you through the retrospective dawning awareness, anger, grief, and acceptance.
Here’s an interview with the lady herself: http://shirleyjacksonawards.blogspot.com/2010/06/gemma-files-and-stephen-j-barringer.html ↩