Tag: Colours

Stephen King, Dan Simmons and George R. R. Martin – Dark Visions | Review

Title: Dark Visions

Author: Stephen King, Dan Simmons and George R. R. Martin

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 266

Rating: 4*/5


Stephen King, Dan Simmons and George R. R. Martin - Dark Visions

Stephen King, Dan Simmons and George R. R. Martin – Dark Visions


This book was quite the find – I picked it up for 50p in the Ten Bob Barn at Astley Book Farm. The cover jumped out at me to begin with because of its psychedelic design and awesome colours. It’s also a hardback, which helps – I don’t go out of my way to get them, but I do enjoy them when I find them. Mostly, though, this book caught my eye because it’s got Stephen King and George R. R. Martin in it.

What we have here, then, is a cracking collection of shorts that are grouped by author, for your convenience. We start out with Stephen King, who contributes three short pieces that range from a short about a haunted shithouse in a recording studio (my favourite) to a longer piece about a black woman that took a while to build up steam. Dan Simmons’ effort was okay, but possibly not the best introduction to his work – I’m not sure, I’ve never read anything else that he’s written. And then there’s George R. R. Martin, who was the only author to opt for a single story, a piece about werewolves called The Skin Trade. It was good, but his longer form work is better.

Overall then, it’s a quirky little read and one you should get if you’re a fan of any of these authors. But individually, they all have better stuff. King’s first two stories were absolute crackers, though!


Stephen King

Stephen King


Click here to buy Dark Visions.


Sean Pemberton – White | Review

Title: White

Author: Sean Pemberton

Type: Poetry/Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 500

Rating: 7/10


Sean Pemberton - White

Sean Pemberton – White


It’s hard to explain why I enjoyed reading White – I just did. It’s certainly what you might call experimental – in fact, according to the blurb on the back cover, “White is an immense feat of close description of an unnamed city during a single day in summer”, an aspect which “inevitably recalls Ulysses. It goes on to say that “The narrative technique has affinities with nouveau roman, but actually it’s like neither, and like nothing else.”

It’s like nothing else alright, but I’m not sure I’d agree with the rest of it, mainly because I don’t really know what it means. From my point of view, it was a haunting combination of prose and poetry, which obsessed on tiny details and numbers and colours in particular. The poetry is plentiful but sparse at the same time, maybe fifty words at most on a page and scattered across it with big white gaps in the middle of it. The prose, meanwhile, has a simplicity all of its own.

Here’s a quote from a random section of the book, which I found by flicking through it until a page fell open: “The boxes are in the corridor. The boxes are stacked. The boxes are six. He walks the corridor. The boxes are six. The boxes are stacked. The boxes are stacked against the wall. There are three stacks. There are two boxes in each stack.”


Sean Pemberton

Sean Pemberton


As you can see, it’s an acquired taste, but once you realise that Pemberton is doing it for the effect that it creates rather than because it’s aesthetically pleasing (which it is, in its own special way), it’s easy to get in to it. Besides, because of the poetry that accompanies it, you fly through the book because half of the pages are virtually blank.

But it’s not too easy to explain the effect that it actually creates in the reader, so I hope it’s enough just to say that it did affect me – I’ve been struggling to describe it ever since I started reading it. A drunk guy sat next to me on the bus on the way home from work once and asked me what it was about – I just said I didn’t know, because that seemed like the safest option. He didn’t seem like the kind of guy who’d appreciate literary innovation.

And that’s precisely what this is – at the end of the day, Pemberton is playing with the English language, and you can see the fun that he’s having reflected in his final creation. Perhaps that’s the effect that it creates – White is lots of fun, you get to share in the joy of its creator. Isn’t that what reading is all about?

I feel like Sean Pemberton has proved a point here, although what that point actually is is anyone’s guess. Still, if you’re serious about literature and want some independent prose poetry, start here.


Reality Street

Reality Street


Click here to buy White.