Reviewed by Mario Guslandi
The third installment of the anthology series Uncertainties keeps pursuing its original scope, namely to investigate the fragmented and confused sense of reality which often affects our otherwise ordinary lives. In order to do that, newly appointed editor Lynda E Rucker has assembled twelve “strange” stories (eleven of which original) penned by Matthew M Bartlett,SP Miskowski, Adam LG Nevill, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Shearman, RS Knightley, Lisa Tuttle, Ralph Robert Moore, Tracy Fahey, Julia Rust & David Surface, Scott West and Rosanne Rabinowitz.
This heterogeneous team, which includes both famous authors and comparatively less known writers, has indeed successfully carried out the task by exploring the oddities of the current world, according to the experience and the imagination of each contributor.
Of course, as a reader, I found some stories more accomplished than others and, as a reviewer, I will pinpoint my favourite tales in the volume.
To start with, I’d like to mention “Wanting” by Joyce Carol Oates (the only reprint in the anthology), an impressive, perceptive narrative tour de force describing the psychological reactions of a woman just back in the city of Detroit, to her ostensibly casual meeting with a local artist. A standing example of “quiet horror” by an experienced writer in the genre.
SP Miskowski contributes “ Warner’s Errand”, a fine tale of urban madness featuring an old guy whose mind gets increasingly fogged while surrounded by an alienating environment.
Robert Shearman’s “Bobbo” is an offbeat piece where a writer (who apparently dislikes Robert Aickman’s work) finds by chance a first edition of one of Aickman’s books with unexpected and
“It Could Be Cancer” is yet another of Ralph Robert Moore’s insightful, excellent stories, portraying a man afraid of cancer and of various other things. Moore leads the reader throughout
the events of the story, dropping his final bomb in the last few sentences. I suppose we could call the enticing “TallDarkAnd” by the duo Julia Rust & David Surface as a tale of technological horror, revolving around a neurotic girl, who, by managing to get into the chatting line of her roommate, discovers many truths about the world of Internet and about herself.