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Irrational Fears (HB) *OP Hardcover – July 1, 1998

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New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 233 pages
  • Publisher: White Wolf Publishing; First Edition edition (July 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565049152
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565049154
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,243,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Former literature professor Jack Lowry has been in Hurley Detox before?twice before. But the power of positive thinking isn't for everyone, and after five months of sobriety Jack is back for another dreary round of group therapy led by counselor Wesley Parks, a man with the "emotional resources of a mollusk." Worse yet, Jack finds himself attracted to fellow patient Kerry Beckett and a hopelessly one-sided relationship he knows is doomed from the start. But the vicissitudes of recovery are nothing compared to the threat to life and sanity presented by The Clear, a local cult whose leader claims that all drunks are progeny of an ancient alien tribe and that they must prepare for cosmic battle during the upcoming Unraveling. At first, The Clear seems more nuisance than danger. Then people start disappearing. Hinkle, a fellow patient, manages to escape the cult's clutches, only to meet a nasty end, swallowed head-first by a malevolent toilet?and that's only the beginning. As in his previous novels (Zod Wallop; Resume with Monsters), Spencer follows characters already beleaguered by the mundane world as they reluctantly make a stand against vast supernatural forces. Black humor lightens the darkness, from the Lovecraftian overtones of an AA meeting where the usual slogans are replaced with "One Day at a Zigmuth" and "But for the Grace of Azathoth," to the Whole Addiction Expo, a twisted send-up of the New Age recovery movement. Those who prize droll humor and vivid characters along with supernatural fireworks will love this finely crafted fantasy.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Ex-professor Jack Lowry's latest visit to an alcoholic rehabilitation hospital takes a decidedly bizarre turn when a cult called The Clear introduces a new (and monstrous) dimension to the process of recovery. The author of Zod Wallop (LJ 10/15/95) mixes social satire and over-the-top horror in a caustic, darkly humorous tale of one man's war against both real and imaginary demons. Spencer's characteristic eccentricity (reminiscent of Philip K. Dick and Ken Kesey) illuminates his latest novel and explores the fine line between madness and sanity. A good choice for most fantasy or general fiction collections.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jack M. Haringa on October 5, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Rivalling "Resume With Monsters," William Browning Spencer's newest novel, though brief, skewers much of the new-age mumbo-jumbo of recovery programs while giving a nod to the traditional tough love approach of AA.
The hapless and sometimes hopeless residents of Hurley Memorial Hospital's detox unit include a paranoid possible former spy, an aspiring poet and nihilist 18-year-old beauty, and Jack Lowry, narrator and ex-college professor. Together they battle a hostile counselor, a drug-controlled group of recovery guerrillas called The Clear, and something slimy and tentacled straight from the pages of Lovecraft. Add a man-eating toilet and a telekinetic zombie and you have "Irrational Fears."
Spencer's trademarked blend of horror and humor recalls the Jonathan Carroll of "Outside the Dog Museum" and Joe Lansdale's (also a Texan) Hap and Leonard series. The characters come alive through sparkling and honest dialogue. They are quirky but not cliched, and nearly everyone of them is someone you might meet but probably wouldn't like.
One of Spencer's most brilliant devices is the blend of dream, DTs, and supernatural events that keep both readers and characters guessing as to what is real and what exists only the mind of the recovering alcoholic Lowry. We are drwn into the most surreal occurrences through Lowry's clear and natural voice, and while 1st-person narration takes some of the suspense out of a horror novel, Spencer manages to make us care about the secondary and even tertiary characters enough that we are pulled along to the end. And we want to know what he'll come up with next. Highly recommended.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By James Richey on July 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Bill Spencer is a master of prose and storytelling. I have had the pleasure of sitting with him, sharing a couple of Cokes and talk about the struggling of just trying to get published and gain an ounce of recognition. Bill writes for the love of it. And if you ever met the man you would find him sheer pleasure. He is an open, honest human being that expels his wit onto the page.
Irrational Fears is only another fine work by Bill. I happen to work in the Criminal Justice field and have an understanding how drug and alcohol abuse programs work. He obviously draws from some strong source to write this book, and throws a bit of demonic rage into the mix. It's a great book filled with things you'd never expect. Read it.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Matthew T. Carpenter on August 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
William Browning Spencer wrote Resume With Monsters, which I have but have not read. Irrational Fears was touted as a mythos book in Glynn Barrass' chapbook from Rainfall Books. I was able to get a rather inexpensve used copy of the hardcover edition from White Wolf, published in 1998.

I'll keep my comments brief. The book centers around Jack Lowry, an alcoholic in detox. He meets up with a motley crew of other alcoholics and they end up going to rural Virginia to a rehab center. There they start butting heads with a radical group called The Clear, who say that alcoholism is actually demonic possession. What follows is a lot of surreal events and weird behavior on the part of everyone, as some members of the rehab group vanish or are kidnapped, zand Jack and his strange crew work out how to get them back.

At first I thought it was actually going to be a mythos title. The Clear has a pamphlet that says alcoholics are the heirs of the K'n-Yan who had previously worshiped Tsathoggua and were cast into an asynchronous reality where their hungers were focused on drugs and alcohol. In one of the AA meetings, some woman says something like "Thank Azathoth I'm better now." There certainly is a weird episode where some otherwordly betentacled creature engulfs a surroung crowd of mindless naked worshipers. However, it turns out that the founder of The Clear, Dorian Greenway, had been through a period where he had read Lovecraft and sort of incorporated Lovecraft's fictional beasties into his group's message, including discussing the Pnakotic Pentagram. All the strange happenings may be paranormal (caused by Greenway tapping into someone else's psychic powers), but not mythos paranormal, and in fact they may just be drug induced hallucination. There are no ancient entities.
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mike Varela on September 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This was a good read, but of average originality -- needed more work, plus an additional 300 words. Characters were not too well delineated either. It also contained much less humorous viewpoints, so I was not too entertained, and thus subtracted one point. Yet the ending was uplifting, so all is forgiven. Please write more frequently and larger books, Bill! People who liked this story will like James Herbert's "The Others" much better. (BTW, Herbert's novel has nothing at all to do with that lame ghostie movie by the same title.)
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