On Short Fiction by Damien Angelica Walters

astro header 925Over at Layers of Thought, the very talented Damien Angelica Walters talks about one of my favourite topics: short fiction.

I keep reading that short fiction is making a comeback. To that I say, did it ever go away? Looking at the books on my bookcases, I say no, but in the public eye, perhaps it did. I know I see more single-author collections on bookstore shelves now than I have in the past, and while many of the collections are by those already established, some are by debut authors. I think it’s a great time to be a fan of short fiction.

There are so many talented authors working in the field of dark fantasy and horror, and Shirley Jackson Award nominee Livia Llewelyn is one of my favorites. She writes horror, dark fantasy, and erotica and her collection, Engines of Desire: Tales of Love & Other Horrors, contains ten stories as beautiful as they are brutal. In many ways, her prose reminds me of Tori Amos’ lyrics—poetic and gorgeous with a razor-sharp edge that will cut you so carefully you won’t even notice until after you’re bleeding. Livia doesn’t pull any punches with her fiction and she goes into dark places many writers would hesitate to go.

One of my favorite passages from “Omphalos” references events between a mother and  SMYS_resized-e1422294840152daughter and isn’t necessarily disturbing on its own, but it holds an undercurrent of calculated cruelty which says much of the relationship of the characters. “Long ago, like when she’d hide drawings you’d made and replace them with white paper, only to slide them out of nowhere at the last minute, when you’d worked yourself into an ecstatic frenzy of conspiracies about intervening angels or gods erasing what you’d drawn. You’d forgotten about that part of her. You’d forgotten about that part of yourself.”

Go here for the rest.

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