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Irrational Fears
William Browning Spencer
White Wolf Borealis Books, 233 pages

Irrational Fears
William Browning Spencer
William Browning Spencer is the author of the spectacular Zod Wallop, as well as Resume With Monsters and a short story collection, The Return of Count Electric.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Zod Wallop

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Neil Walsh

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Alcoholism is a cthulhoid conspiracy. No wait! Maybe that's just what the mad cultists want you to think. Or maybe they only want you to think that they want you to think that, in order to cover up the fact that it's actually true. Is that it? Who the heck are these mad cultists anyhow and what do they have against AA? Or is AA the cult? What's going on in this book?

Our protagonist, Jack Lowry, is a middle-aged alcoholic who may be just a little too damn cynical and jaded for his own good. He's trying to be a recovering cynical and jaded alcoholic, but that demon drink just keeps calling him back. And what about those other demons? Are they real, or just a bad case of DTs? Well, whatever the situation is, one thing is for sure: there's certainly something very weird going on.

Luckily Jack has a few allies. But they're mostly all alcoholics too, in various states of recovery or drunkenness, and it's getting harder and harder to credit what they're telling him. It's also getting harder and harder for Jack to believe his own eyes...

Read just about anything by William Browning Spencer and you'll probably get the impression that this is one deeply warped individual. Sure, he writes like a dream, but the dream usually turns into one heckuva nightmare. Irrational Fears is certainly no exception. Call it dark fantasy; call it horror. Doesn't matter. The nightmare will haunt you for a long time to come.

The characters of this book spend most of their time in a place the average reader may not feel comfortable in -- and I'm not talking about the detox centre, I'm talking about the emotional and psychological place they live in every day of their lives -- which makes reading this book somewhat unpleasant at times. These are some seriously messed up people. But they're also very real people who feel pain, who make mistakes, who fall in love, and who -- occasionally -- blow large holes in the bad guys. Get to know them; you'll be glad you did.

Copyright © 1998 by Neil Walsh

Neil Walsh is the Reviews Editor for the SF Site. He lives in contentment, surrounded by books, in Ottawa, Canada.


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