came recommended to me by the faceless "they," & i really should know better. winner of the world fantasy award, whatever that is. since when do i listen to awards (besides the slipstream-- not that any slipstream novels are easy to get...)? it was summed up, both in a blurb i read & the back cover text, as being like what if tolkien wrote the sympathetic story of mordor. um? no it isn't. okay, i'm over-stating my dislike. it was okay. but it isn't like that at all. there are a few stories that are lovecraft meets tolkien. see, i mention this-- "a few stories." first off, it is a short story anthology! i don't really like short stories-- howard, lovecraft, borges aside.
anyhow, it is sort of hit or miss. i wonder if mister mcnaughton feels like he's being depraved, or realizes what window dressing that is? oh, casual discussion of rape! just rings hollow. though to be fair, points off for poor treatment of women & "lesser races," sir, & no resorting to "well, it is the turn of the century!" since this was written in the nineties (1990s). rape, necrophilia, cannibalism, okay, okay. spoooooky. really the works are all identity horror. the ghouls (he loves ghouls) eat people, take their memories, & then forget they are ghouls. think they are the people! then the same thing happens in reverse! are you a dream or are you the dreamer? so on, so forth. sometimes there is some interesting play? othertimes, not so much. there is a semi-coherent universe behind it; i like sort of reverse engineering the world out of the tales.