The Celt in the Machine by Philip Emery. EBook review

The Celt in the Machine by Philip Emery, Immanion Press, £2, 2015

Reviewed by Shona Kinsella

This collection of poetry and short stories covers a range of speculative fiction with fantasy science fiction, and some horror thrown in for good measure.

I would be very hard-pressed to give this book anything so simple as a star rating. There were some things that I liked about it very much, such as the author’s sometimes elegant use of language.

“Deathless Prose” was my personal favourite, with a short story coming to life and haunting the author; something I suspect all writers have thought about in the middle of the night.

“Dreamgames” raises some interesting questions about death and how humans find value in things only if we are able to lose them, however the story came to a disappointingly abrupt end.

In some of the stories, such as “Streetwise”, the author uses a lot of made-up terms. While these are excellent world-building and would have worked very well in a novel, where the introduction could be spread out, it felt like too much in a short-story, at times obscuring the meaning.

“The Awaiting” and “Wednesday’s Child” both carry a content warning, for scenes that may be distressing.

This book is a very mixed bag of things. We are told that it is a collection spanning some forty years and that may explain some of the discrepancies in style. Perhaps the variety means that there’s something in there for everyone! It’s definitely worth a try.

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