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in the second collection by Oz-based Kiwi author, the content of which was conceived and appeared in obscure publications between 2002 and 2007 (see unnumbered p. 296). These 17 stories will surely catapult the readers from their comfort zones to a landscape suffused by an atmosphere of various degree of paranoia, peppered with a nice dose of dark humour. Nor does Haines shy away from presenting testosterone-fueled situations and other nastiness that occasionally may even border on being disgusting, as in the case of sodomy and a failed attempt at bestiality - definitely not for the prudish! Where applicable, the plot is fast paced with surprising twists and turns, and rarely predictable end, which does not necessarily mean satisfying solution to a given predicament. The writer "exposes something of his own life..., turns the good times and the bad times into fictions, puts them through the Paul Haines GenreBenderBlender..., and rubs our faces in the existential human condition of it all - somehow managing to entertain us at the same time," observes fellow author Geoffrey Maloney in the foreword to the Mayne Press edition (2009). "I find the more of me I put into the story, the more verisimilitude the piece takes on, and that in turn opens wide the floodgates for the ocean of the fantastic. The weaving of truth and lies becomes hard to distinguish," adds Haines in the introduction.
I've rated these writings of different length and depth in the light of their entertainment value/originality, style/literary execution, and message/moral, arriving at an average of 3.3. Stories that have been awarded 4 or 5 include: struggling author hooked on antidepressant for cats while yearning for a kiss of the Muse ('The devil in Mr.Read more ›
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