Review by Jenny Barber
This review was originally published in the January/February 1995 issue of the BFS Newsletter (Vol. 19, No. 1).
Editor Anthony North has put together a terrific issue – packed full of tremendous stories and articles. The best stories from my point of view are Carving a Life by Valerie Armstrong and Love Thy Neighbour by Anthony Cawood. The former is extremely good, I totally enjoyed this one. It’s a sadly funny tale about the life of a sculptor and the secrets of his sculptures. The latter was very effectively done and leaves you a little shell shocked. As you read, it hurls you through a whirlpool of intense emotions and the surprising ending just finishes it perfectly.
Other first-rate yarns are Black on White by Simon Kerr which is spookily prophetic and Poltergeist by Eamer O’Keeffe which is extremely clever and leaves you hanging just so.
There are a couple of dumdums in here though, such as Where is Franzl by Allen Wells which is, at best, odd. It is very short and although it has very distinct possibilities it falls flat by plodding along too slowly.
Storm Warning by Peter Tennant could work because the idea is there and it is a very good idea but the storytelling tends to ricochet a little, spinning you like a pinball between different scenes.
Mind you, The Painting by Beth Fowler is beautiful, chronicling the transformation of an artist’s personality by her novice friend. It is wonderfully told, drawing on the reader’s sympathy right from the start.
Rattlers Tale is incredible. It contains such a wide range of fiction and non-fiction that it’s bound to be a winner for most people.