Recommendation: Tiny Deaths

October 30th, 2008 • Posted in Recommendations |

Robert Shearman is an award-winning playwright, both for stage and radio.  He’s been resident dramatist at the Northcott Theatre in Exeter.  He’s written for Doctor Who, both TV and audio books.  And judging by this book, he’s also a wonderful writer of short stories.  Don’t you just hate him already?

I met Rob, far too briefly, at the British Fantasy Convention in Nottingham a few weeks ago.  A few people that weekend had already recommended his collection Tiny Deaths from Comma Press, and after meeting Rob and having a nice chat, I bought it.  And folks … it is brilliant.  Surreal, beautiful, heartfelt, funny, shattering, sad, thought-provoking, every story in this book will affect you in some way.  Sometimes the stories are so subtle that it might take a minute or two for you to realise what you’ve just read … and then the chill of discovery shivers down your spine.  Sometimes the humour masks something much deeper, and much darker.

Rob obviously knows a lot about life, and he’s not afraid to explore his knowledge in his fiction.  I suspect there’s plenty of his own experiences in this book – sometimes quite overt, but more often masked behind a surreal veneer that works just perfectly in conveying certain meanings, certain themes.

Tiny Deaths is up for a World Fantasy Award this weekend, and I’ll be cheering for it.  But whether it wins or not doesn’t matter.  This is a landmark collection from a stunning writer.  The fact that it’s also his first book promises, I’m sure, even more wonderful tales to come.

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2 comments on “Recommendation: Tiny Deaths”

  1. Charles Prepolec says:

    I’d read Tiny Deaths a little while back and couldn’t agree more about its merits. I had the pleasure of meeting Rob and chatting with him over the course of a couple of evenings at WFC 2008 and was chuffed to buggery that Tiny Deaths won for Best Collection. Nice guy and an amazing writer with a very unique writer’s voice.

  2. Tim Lebbon says:

    Absolutely. I met Rob all-too-briefly at Fantasycon this year, hoping we can have a few beers and a proper chat one of these days …

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