The Company He Keeps edited by Peter Crowther and Nick Gevers

Postscripts 22/23, PS Publishing, 2010. 394 p

The book – one of the most recent in the Postscripts series of anthologies – contains short stories encompassing a range of genres from SF, Fantasy and Horror through to mainstream but mostly in the speculative realm. There are too many stories to consider individually but the standard is high. Even if not all are entirely successful the book contains very few duds. One of the most effective tales is the title story, by Lucius Shepard, about a plot by a famous movie star to enravel his associates in the – perhaps simulated – murder of his girlfriend. Eric Brown’s The Human Element works well even if it re-visits one of his early themes, the relationship between an artist and his work. All the contributions are worth reading though I found Bully by Jack Ketchum too predictable. The Forever Forest by Rhys Hughes was curiously old fashioned, as if the author was trying too hard to convey otherness; it reads as if it might have been written in the 1950s. There’€™s also a story, Osmotic Pressure, by someone called Jack Deighton, which contains a fair bit of (arguably necessary?) information dumping.

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