Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars
By Cody Goodfellow
The debut short story collection by one of the better up-and-coming writers of late is here. Cody Goodfellow is a gentleman who made a bit of a splash a few years back with his debut novels Radiant Dawn and Radiant Dusk. John Skipp and a number of others praised them as “Lovecraft on acid”. Following that, his stories seemed to pop up all over the place in Black Static, Third Alternative, Cemetery Dance, the Hot Blood Series and Dark Discoveries (which he has become something of a regular of now with 3 appearances and a forth on the way).
Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars kicks off with a glowing introduction by John Skipp (a mentor and partner in crime on a few recent collaborations), followed by “Baby Teeth” – an original riff on the childhood haunting story. This strong tale was his first appearance in DD and a fitting way to kick off the collection. Other standout tales include: “El Santero” and “Feast of the Ixiptla” that hit on Aztec mythology. “A Drop of Ruby”, a bizarre scifi-tinged tale about a unique blood transfusion. “Magna Mater” was originally titled “The Phantom Pornbooth” and that ought to tell you enough about it. “The Good News about God” is about what we probably all secretly hope might happen to door to door religious nuts. “Atwater” is a cool TZ-type tale about a guy who takes the wrong exit and ends up in a part of town that doesn’t appear to exist and everyone there is trying to get out of. “In His Wake” shows what can happens if you take the Goth culture too far.
It’s hard to describe too much about Goodfellow’s stories without giving away some of the surprises. He comes up with some of the most original premises and pulls them off repeatedly. His main shortcoming is that he continually fires off so many ideas that he sometimes puts too many in a given tale. When he focuses on a specific one, I think his stories are stronger. He reminds a slight bit of Bentley Little at times because of his ability to pull off such bizarre premises, and at other times seems a little like some of John Shirley’s short fiction. One can certainly see influences of Lovecraft, the New Wave of SF writers of the sixties, the Cyberpunks and Splatterpunks – and even surrealists like Kafka and Borges. Don’t get me wrong though, Cody Goodfellow is one of a kind.
– Reviewed by James R. Beach