A Rhapsody for the Eternal
By Darren Speegle
Raw Dog Screaming Press
2009; $14.95 Trade Paperback
Dark Discoveries reviewed Darren Speegle’s collection A Dirge for the Temporal way back in early 2005. It was a solid collection, and he was very much a promising new writer that looked to be headed on to much bigger things in the future. Since then, he’s been rapidly gaining ground and finding his way into higher profile publications such as Postscripts, Clarkesworld, Cemetery Dance and the Subterranean Press anthology Tales of Dark Fantasy. His stories are exotic blends of horror, fantasy and science fiction – fitting in nicely with what has been termed “The New Weird”.
In his new collection, he kicks it off with the “Lunatic Miss Teak”, a creepy tale about a doll with echoes of Ramsey Campbell and Thomas Ligotti. “Elephant Speak” follows and is more of a science fiction piece, but he imbues it with a bit of the paranormal as well. “Transtexting Pose” continues along that path, touching upon addiction in a unique way. “Glitzing with the Big Delicious” examines hero-worship and martyrdom. “Waltz with the Shadows” is a novella that deals with the protagonist’s search for his origins and also touches on cloning. “The Tiptoeing Monk” looks at spiritualism in the distant past and how legends are made and their basis in fact. There are also the strong tales “The collection closes out with “Night Watch” – a story of a couple and their pilgrimage to an ancient museum, where it is the catalyst for them to release their inner and outer demons and ghosts – and the haunting poem fittingly called “A Last Word”.
It’s hard to break down the stories into simple synopses as they are all rich and complex. Darren ties together the ancient past with the distant future and weaves intriguing stories.
– Reviewed by James R. Beach