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Everything You Need
Michael Marshall Smith
Earthling Publications, 300 pages

Everything You Need
Michael Marshall Smith
Michael Marshall aka Michael Marshall Smith was born in Cheshire. After spending time in the US, South Africa and Australia, he lived in London for many years before moving to California. His first novel, Only Forward, won the BFA in 1995. Spares has been optioned by DreamWorks SKG.

Michael Marshall Smith Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Intruders
SF Site Review: Spares

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Mario Guslandi

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In his native UK, Michael Marshall Smith is recognized as a fine, acclaimed writer of dark fiction, whose stories have been very frequently included in the annual Best New Horror anthologies, whereas in the USA (where he's now relocated) he is mostly known -- under the name Michael Marshall -- as the author of a bunch of successful thrillers. Oddly enough, the majority of the short stories by M.M. Smith (the horror writer) have been assembled in volumes published by an American imprint, Earthling Publications, Everything You Need being the latest collection. And, once again, what a great, extraordinary collection!

The book features seventeen tales, both original and reprints, in which Smith displays his incredible ability as a storyteller creating memorable examples of gripping, disquieting dark fiction.

"This Is Now" is a perceptive piece where three friends recall an unsettling episode of their childhood, while "Walking Wounded" is a sinister tale of jealousy and revenge, taking place during the move into a new apartment, and "The Seventeenth Kind" is a very entertaining, solid story with a SF taste, exploring the world of late night TV shopping channels.

The deliciously creepy "What Happens When You Wake Up in the Night" describes the possible effects of waking up in the night in total darkness and the slightly surrealistic "Everything You Need" portrays a grieving widow finally coming to terms with her recent loss.

Among a number of excellent stories, some are simply outstanding. "Unbelief" is a clever literary gem where a murderer gets rid of a character deeply involved with the Yuletide rituals; "The Stuff That Goes On in Their Heads" is bittersweet, superb tale where a little boy has imaginary (or real?) troubles; "The Woodcutter" is a disturbing tale featuring a pub magician trying to make his living by blending the cheap tricks of his trade with real magic.

In addition to his knack for probing life's darker side, Smith is a skilled, insightful explorer of human feelings and frailties, as shown in "Sad,Dark Thing" (a splendid journey into the deep secrets of human condition), the superb "Substitutions," where the desire to live a different life and to share it with a different person cruelly turns into an horrific outcome, and the splendid, technological but compassionate "The Good Listener" where a man tracks down his deceased father's last days during a trip in California.

A marvellous collection which simply cannot be missed.

Copyright © 2013 by Mario Guslandi

Mario Guslandi lives in Milan, Italy, and is a long-time fan of dark fiction. His book reviews have appeared on a number of genre websites such as The Alien Online, Infinity Plus, Necropsy, The Agony Column and Horrorwold.


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