( I thought I would re-post my review of this top notch Brian Hodge novella since it was just nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award. I originally reviewed this book back in December. I know a fantastic story when I read one! )
WOW! That was my first thought. Let's see if I can elaborate on that.
This story begins with Damien relating his first memories, and what horrible memories they were. Memories of a mother who neglected and mentally abused him. A mother who favored Damien's half brother Cameron over him. A mother that chains her son to the steering wheel and takes off for hours at a time.
After a start like that, the reader is already invested in Damien and is hoping that he will one day gain the love and attention that he so deserved as a child. We now join Damien as a grown man, living the calm and sedate life of a grad student and dating a beautiful stripper named Ashleigh. Everything is cool and we're happy for him. Until Cameron shows up after years of no contact whatsoever and wants to have a relationship again.
From there this story heads to different cities...hell, to different WORLDS, provoking and prodding my imagination to no end. Which then brought to mind the questions-Is space infinite? If not, how far does it go? Is there life out there? If so, is it coming here, and if so, in what form? Is it coming at different times throughout the centuries? Can we call it here under the right conditions? If so, how?
Mr. Hodge provokes the reader to ask all of these questions during the course of this tale. I suspect the answers will all be different, depending upon the reader. All I know is that this novella was well written, provocative, interesting and mysterious. I will be thinking about it for some time. I also know that I've been dragging my feet in familiarizing myself with Mr. Hodge's other works. I will rectify that shortly. I highly recommend this novella to fans of dark fiction, science fiction, Lovecraft and/or cosmic horror.