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Remember Why You Fear Me
Robert Shearman
Chizine Publications, 344 pages

Remember Why You Fear Me
Robert Shearman
Robert Shearman is a British author and screenwriter. He has written for the Doctor Who series. His other books include Tiny Deaths, Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical and Everyone's Just So So Special. He attended Reigate Grammar School and the University of Exeter. His first collection of short stories titled Tiny Deaths won a World Fantasy Award.

Robert Shearman Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Mario Guslandi

Multiple award-winning Robert Shearman is an eclectic fantasist, whose stories range from the surreal to the horrific, from dark fantasy to black humor. But labels count precious nothing for good writers and, if you want to know how good Shearman is, this collection, arguably featuring the best of his short fiction, is an unique opportunity. Including twenty stories, mostly reprints, the volume does offers a complete overview of Shearman's different narrative styles and of his personal approach to reality.

"Mortal Coil" is a very intriguing piece addressing the issue of what people would do if knowing the date and the circumstances of their death. (and what would happen to the only man who doesn't have that information).

In the offbeat, magnificent "The Dark Space in the House in the Garden at the Centre of the World" a modern version of Adam and Eve face the mysteries of the Universe and of the human condition after being sent out of the Garden of Eden.

"Alice Through the Plastic Sheet" is an unusual tale where a family gets deeply affected by the arrival of new, mysterious neighbors, while "Custard Cream" is a narrative tour de force about arachnophobia.

"Damned If You Don't" is a splendid, surrealistic piece set in Hell, describing how a man and a famous dog become roommates. Other noteworthy surrealistic stories are "Featherweight," depicting a married couple trapped in the wreckage of their car after a road accident and "Pang," a perfectly crafted piece where a woman literally gives back to her husband his heart (which will keep on beating during the subsequent, unpredictable events).

Among so many excellent stories I want to make two special mentions. The first is "Roadkill," a marvelous, insightful tableau depicting the weekend of a couple of work mates cheating on their partners and having a bizarre incident on the road. Shearman creates a perfect counterpoint between the fate of the roadkill and the private doings of the ill-assorted lovers.

The other highlight is the outstanding and unsettling "Blue Crayon, Yellow Crayon," original to this collection, featuring man going home to his family for Christmas who experiences a sinister, nightmarish train night ride.

A terrific collection which simply can't be missed.

Copyright © 2012 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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