Aftershock & Others is the third collection of short fiction by New York Times bestselling author F. Paul Wilson, hailed by the Rocky Mountain News as ""among the finest storytellers of our times.""The title novelette won the Bram Stoker Award and its companions touch on the past, present, and future--from the inflationary insanity of Weimar Germany (""Aryans and Absinthe"") to disco club-era Manhattan (""When He Was Fab""), to the rationing of medical services in a grim near future (""Offshore""). Wilson's stylistic diversity and versatility are on display in stories that pay tribute to Ray Bradbury (""The November Game""), use a sentient killer virus as a point-of-view character (""Lysing toward Bethlehem""), and pay unabashed homage to pure pulp fiction in two yellow peril stories (""Sex Slaves of the Dragon Tong"" and ""Part of the Game""). And finally, Wilson treats us to his popular antihero Repairman Jack at his most inventive: trapped in a drugstore with four killers (""Interlude at Duane's""). At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
Bestseller Wilson (By the Sword ) displays an expert grasp of storytelling mechanics and an impressive breadth of themes and approaches in what he says in an afterword is his last collection. The title tale is a moving meditation on love and loss, built on the unlikely premise of lightning-strike survivors seeing the spirits of their dear departed at their near-death moment of electrocution. "Dreams" riffs on the Frankenstein theme with its speculation on how the monster might act were its brain to have retained aspects of its predeath personality. In "Interlude at Duane's," urban mercenary hero Repairman Jack must foil a four-man holdup with found weapons fashioned from consumer goods on the shelves of the drugstore where it takes place. In all these efforts, Wilson establishes characters with a few deft strokes, quickly sets up a tricky plot, and then masterfully maneuvers the reader to a well-orchestrated (and sometimes surprising) ending. Fans will hope they haven't seen the last of Wilson's short fiction. (Mar.)
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
March 29, 2009
Number of Print Pages*
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Aftershock and Others by F. Paul Wilson
Another award- losing year: Soft and Others, my first short fiction collection, lost the Bram Stoker Award to Richard Matheson's Collected Stories. No gripes from me. He's the greatest. A fair number of my stories never would have been written if my teenage mind hadn't been warped by his Shock collections.
I can't complain about 1990. I started off writing the Midnight Mass novella for Robert McCammon's Under the Fang. This was the first of three "theme" anthologies contracted by the Horror Writers of America to put itself on firmer financial footing. Rick McCammon, Ramsey Campbell, and I were chosen as editors. Rick took the fi rst, a collection of vampire stories with the premise that the vampires have taken over--now what?
I knocked out Mass over four weekends while working on Reprisal. As I was finishing it Kristine Kathryn Rusch called, asking if I had anything for the Pulp house novella series she was editing. Since her print run would be less than a thousand, I asked Rick if he had any objection to Pulp house doing a stand- alone edition. He didn't. But when Pocket Books (publisher of Under the Fang) learned that my story would be technically a reprint by the time Fang was published, they demanded I cancel the special edition or they'd cut the story. Well, I'd already given Kris my word, and a deal is a deal. So that's why Midnight Mass didn't appear in Under the Fang. It did go on to become my most reprinted story.
Otherwise Reprisal claimed most of my writing time, though editors clamoring for short stories kept interrupting me. In March came Bob Weinberg. I was scheduled to be Guest of Honor at the 1990 World Fantasy Convention and it's a tradition to include a story by the GoH in the program book. Bob's wife, Phyllis, loved Repairman Jack so I wrote the "Last Rakosh" and dedicated it to her. (Years later this was blended into the Repairman Jack novel All the Rage.)
The Dark Harvest hardcover of Reborn, the fourth volume (though chronologically the second) in what I'd eventually call the Adversary Cycle, was published in March, followed a few months later by the Jove mass- market edition with one of the worst covers ever to sully my work: a lolling- tongued demon leering from atop a doorway. Beyond awful. I'd complained about it but no one was listening. The advance orders to this sequel to The Keep were excellent, so where's the problem?
Right. Where was the problem? Reviews were excellent and the book was optioned for a theatrical film within months of publication. Things looked good. I'd been wrong about retitling The Tomb, so maybe I was wrong about this. (But I wasn't. That cover was going to come back to haunt me.)
In April Richard Chizmar requested a story for an anthology called Cold Blood. I turned to Jack again. The working title was "Domestic Problem" but I ended up calling it "Home Repairs." (This was folded into the RJ novel Conspiracies.)
Then in May Joe Lansdale called looking for a dark suspense story--no supernatural--for Dark at Heart, an anthology he was editing with his wife, Karen. He wanted something like "Slasher." Back to Jack for "The Long Way Home." (It's available for download at amazon .com in their Amazon Shorts section.)
About this time I got to work on my first editing gig: Freak Show, the second of the aforementioned HWA anthologies.
I wanted Freak Show to be more unified than Fang. So . . . to all who asked (and to those I particularly wanted in the anthology) I sent out three pages of guidelines outlining the background of the show and how my connecting story would run, plus the general circular route the show would take around the country.
I asked for regionalism--write about places you lived so the tastes and tangs of the settings would be authentic. I also asked for a description of the freak and a loose outline of the story--necessary to avoid duplication of characters, locations (I didn't want multiple stories in Chicago or L.A.), and plotlines. A bit of work, yes, but you were pretty much guaranteed that I'd buy the piece if I approved your proposal. Some writers found this approach too restrictive; others blasted off and came up with great stories.
After the synopses were set, I began tying them together; I also circulated descriptions of all the freaks to the contributors to encourage cross- fertilization (a passing mention of this or that freak in other stories).
Need I say it turned out to be a lot of work? It took a year of my life and, as time went on, increasingly interfered with my own writing projects.
But here in 1990 I was oblivious to what I'd let myself in for. In June I finished revising Reprisal and set off on a research trip to Hawaii to gather sights and sounds and locations for the Maui sections of Nightworld. I wrote some of them on the spot while they were fresh. (Yeah, I know--tough work. But no sacrifice is too great for my craft.)
Careerwise, the high points of 1990 had to be the election of my first novel Healer to the Prometheus Hall of Fame, and being Guest of Honor at the World Fantasy Convention.
Excerpted from AFTERSHOCK & OTHERS by F. PAUL WILSON
Copyright (c) 2009 by F. Paul Wilson
Published in March 2009 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.