Friday, August 1, 2014

Sci-Fi Terror


By Tim Curran

Publisher: DarkFuse

Pub. Date: August 19, 2014

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

This seems to be Tim Curran's year. First with the superlative Nightcrawlers, then the almost as good supernatural thriller Deadlock, and now with Blackout, Tim Curran has surfaced as one of the new masters of horror. Unfortunately I seem to be the only one trumpeting his name from the forbidden towers. If there is a Lovecraftian ancient one somewhere under the ground listening to my exhortations, I predict I will not be the only one saying this very much longer. Curran has a gift at making the most horrible creature into a dark vision of poetry even as they are terrorizing the novel's hero.. and usually doing worse.

Take his new book Blackout. It is a short novella slightly over 100 pages. But in only a few of those pages, the author has set up a normal suburb, a normal average set of neighbors, and then rudely tears them down with a deliciously grotesque invasion featuring tentacled machines and bat like creatures. Blackout is essentially a science fiction alien invasion story yet it is interesting how Curran adds a decidedly Lovecraftian feel to the description of his monsters. Blackout is full of creep-out moments along with the more overt moments of terror. Despite its sci-fi overtones, this is essentially a pure horror tale.

Tim Curran is one of those writers who doesn't take prisoners. He seems to like stories that focus on the nature of the horror. He tends to meet his plot head on and not in detours about secret meanings and characterization. If there is any weakness to his novels, it is that his characters do not stray very far from the moment and we do not get what could be call a three dimensional look at them. Yet in the context of the plot, his characters are very real. I guess if I was dealing with tentacles falling from the sky, I would not necessarily be thinking about puppies and Samuel Beckett...well maybe about Samuel Beckett.

So the conclusion is that Blackout is a short but thoroughly tense and enjoyable horror tale from one of the best writers of the genre out there. Give it a try and if you like it, graduate to the deliciously terrifying Nightcrawlers.

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