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Going Back
Tony Richards
Elastic Press, 168 pages

Going Back
Tony Richards
Tony Richards was born in 1956 in Greenford, Middlesex. He is the author of five novels -- the first was nominated for a Bram Stoker award -- more than sixty short stories, and numerous reviews and articles. His work has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Cemetery Dance, Asimov's SF, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, The 3rd Alternative, Pan Horror and Weird Tales. Widely-travelled, he often uses places he has visited as settings for his fiction, though he finds plenty of inspiration as well in his own home town of London. He is currently a full-time freelance writer, and lives in the north of the city with his wife.

Tony Richards Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Mario Guslandi

Two years after the appearance of his last collection Ghost Dance, Tony Richards, an excellent, but hardly prolific author of dark fiction, provides yet another bunch of short stories, much to the satisfaction of his many admirers.

Published by the always commendable Elastic Press, a small UK-based imprint particularly devoted to short fiction, Going Back assembles fourteen tales varying in themes and atmospheres, but mostly revolving around the difficult but unavoidable relationship the human race has with time.

The title story, "Going Back" is a cruel but moving piece where a man tries to alter the past to save his child's life. It nicely sets the tone of the book and emphasizes the author's uncanny ability to pinpoint the essence of our inner and deepest feelings.

Another compelling story is "Beautiful Stranger," a kind of atypical zombie tale featuring a gorgeous young woman whom even love can't turn on.

Even when the idea behind the story is not too original, Richards manages to produces solid, enjoyable fiction as in "The Cure," where a cancer patient finds an effective treatment for which, needless to say, there's a high price to pay.

In the offbeat "A Matter of Avoiding Crowds," the maze of streets in downtown London symbolizes the confusion and bewilderment taking possession of a man's life.

To me the best story is by far "Balancing Act." It is an extraordinary, outstanding psychological study of the slow but steady progress of two divorcées trying to build a new, long-lasting relationship. Nothing supernatural or horrific here, simply great fiction impossible to label.

"Skin Two" is a cute exploration of the countless, extreme possibilities of plastic surgery.

"Alsiso" was probably submitted to the famous Elastic Press anthology by the same title and didn't make it. A real shame because this melancholy story of lesbian love set in an imaginary, remote village, displays a masterful narrative style eliciting a feeling of sadness and quiet despair.

Once again Richards confirms his superb storytelling skill and refreshes the pleasure of savouring fine prose.

Copyright © 2007 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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