The year 2016, will probably be noted in future times (you know when we finally get out Jetsons flying cars and all that) as the year Weird fiction broke big. This year has seen some truly amazing work from some cats who are proudly doing their own thing and writing their own unapologetically "left-of-center " fiction.
Michael Griffin would be one of said cats. With his debut collection, The Lure of Devouring Light, he gives us eleven glimpses in the shadows, sometimes of dark corners, sometimes in people. In the title story a brilliant musician stows himself away to ready himself for the performance of a lifetime, the process of which is both otherworldly and terrifying. In"' Dreaming Awake In The Tree Of The World," a man awakens in an enormous tree, cared for by a mysterious woman. He finds that how he is seeing things and how they really are do not good bedfellows make. "Far From Streets" follows a couple from their home in the city to an inherited plot of land, where they build a new life for themselves or maybe the new life was already there and waiting for them, claws out? "Diamond Dust" is a hellish nightmare from a smoldering void. "The Accident of Survival" follows a couple as they are nearly killed in a road accident and they discover that surviving has its own kind of terror.
"The Jewel In The Eye" is a darkly fantastical proposal about copying yourself with tragic consequences. "The Need To Desire" is a short but effective tale of body horror. But the foundation of this collection lies in the final selection. "The Black Vein Runs Deep" is a novella length tale involving closed mines and environmentalism, corporate warfare and love. And it has some monsters in it. I will be honest, Griffin might not be an author for everyone. His prose can lean a tad on the unwieldy side, at first but once you get going and grow accustomed to it, it's not too bad. He tells a good story with rich characters. In the last story, he eased up on the "over-prose" a bit and it felt quite comfortable. I'd wager the other stories are earlier and he's settling into a chosen voice. With "Black Vein" he really hits a stride that would work for almost any reader. I was impressed with the work here and will definitely be following and reading his output. The Lure of Devouring Light is available from Word Horde.