Bought this because I read one of his stories in an anthology and liked it. Having not read anything else by him I was extremely surprised by this collection. Terry Dowling is an amazing writer and any horror fan will love this collection. It is wholly original but somewhat familiar and at all times incredible. Dowling has an uncanny ability to give his work an unfathomably creepy and unsettling atmosphere. Check it out. You will not be disappointed.
Each & every story in this book involves darkness, sometimes it may be supernatural, sometimes purely emotional, and, in most of the cases, in the unexplored corners of our minds. I had thought that I would try to give a story-wise assessment, but that really would not do justice to this book and its author. The simple fact that it took so long for me to complete this book might suggest that this book was boring. But that suggestion would be terribly wrong, because none of these stories were boring. But they were terribly-terrifyingly dark. Not bleak, not sadistic, just dark, BASICALLY BLACK!
The contents (apart from the mandatory introduction) are: -
* The Daemon Street Ghost-trap * Downloading * The Bullet that Grows in the Gun * The Gully * The Bone ship * Beckoning Nightframe * Stitch * La Profonde * The Saltimbanques * They found the Angry Moon * Clownette * The Ichneumon and the Dormeuse * The Quiet Redemption of Andy the House * The Maze Man * One Thing about the Night * Jenny Come to Play * Cheat Light * Scaring the Train.
Believe me, according to Stephen King (you may read it in the preface to Everything's Eventual : 14 Dark Tales), finding a couple of memorable stories in a collection is actually a very good find. Then how can you try to evaluate a collection which has at least 6 stories (I will not say which ones; you will find your own ghosts in these stories, and they may help you in making your choice) that I will carry till the Judgement Day? You can't, apart from giving 5 stars in a feeble attempt to encapsulate all the breathlessness and creeping fear that you had felt while reading these stories. I can not recommend this collection highly enough, but forget about me. If you have ever felt fascinated by the darkness that waits outside the window, to invade & engulf your soul, buy this book and read it.
A fresh prose tide from Australasia is hitting us--Richard Flanagan from Tasmania, Witi Ihimaera from New Zealand, and Terry Dowling from Australia are just a few. One of the biggest waves in terms of imagination, craft and sheer wonder, Terry Dowling has a five-star volume that spans twenty years of his sure-handed storytelling, BASIC BLACK:TALES OF APPROPRIATE FEAR. In it, inner worlds are transformed by transgression, sudden disclosure, and the fantastic.
The addictive tales include:
The Daemon Street Ghost-Trap
The Bullet That Grows in the Gun
The Bone Ship
They Found The Angry Moon
The Ichneumon and the Dormeuse
The Quiet Redemption of Andy the House
The Maze Man
One Thing About the Night
Jenny Come to Play
Scaring the Train
One caution--don't read them at night or in the house alone, and never in a hotel room, especially if a blotch on the wall is sighted. Terry Dowling is the most skilled creator of trustworthy, tea-sipping, even chatty villains in a generation, so beware. I have been taken down (figuratively) by a few. If I had to pick three favorite tales from the superb offerings, I'd choose "The Bone Ship", "Clownette", and "The Saltimbanques," a story beyond surprising that rivals Bradbury's best.
BASIC BLACK was a 2007 Bram Stoker Award finalist and a 2007 International Horror Guild Award winner.
Thereafter when you read any of his work, you will always hear his inimitable voice that charms and warms as it conjures and unsettles. Some rare voices carry where an artist's been and what he's dreamed, as Terry Dowling's does. All those moments of earliest discovery, from his days of exploring Aussie bushland, to roaming past a madhouse at Bedlam Point, to gazing at a cemetery called the Field of Mars, are not lost, but lived again with each word.
This is one of the best horror collections that I have ever read.I can't say enough about how wonderful these stories were.This is literary horror at it's finest.The stories are creepy and frightening.The first story in this collection is one of my all time favorite ghost stories.