Review: Collision: Stories by J.S. Breukelaar
by J.S. Breukelaar
Release 2019, available for pre-order
J.S. Breukelaar’s Collision is speculative fiction that crosses genre. It is a medley of fantasy, horror and science fiction—now and then in a single story, as in ‘Rogue Bay 3013’, with its lethal angels and engineered beings, and in ‘Like Ripples on a Blank Shore’, the closing novella about sentient hosts on rampage in Deerport.
The author’s cleverness as a writer lends a unique sharpness to the text, and it stabs you with acute openers and razor-keen dialogue that slice through the weight of silence, the sepia of dusk.
‘When Turner blinked in the glare of the afternoon, the hand was still there’—the first line in ‘Lion Man’, a story with a talking dog that is also the reincarnation of Clint Eastwood.
‘Just give me a listen,’ says the armless piano player who rocks up for an ad with hard dark eyes in ‘Union Falls’. Getting her in the box was one thing, opens ‘The Box’ and its shifting points of view, where one protagonist is embedded in the belly of a console. Some stories like ‘Raining Street’ start measured but find pace when a widow ventures across three bridges to traipse over to forgotten streets that harbour the ghost of a departed love.
In its most wicked endings, the ethereal lights up the page in a fluorescence of language where you listen to the drone of an ocean and follow the illusion of a trail before you splash headlong into brick red water garlanded by headlands.
Stories are ruthless, nothing is safe—even the child who offers a lollipop and loses a wrist to the Clint Eastwood dog. Breukelaar experiments with the Gothic and queries the queer. Bedded within the tales is a voluptuous energy that turns pages. Tables pirouette in a blink and, before you know it, the story is eleven shades grimmer.
Not much will guide you to foreshadow this cross-genre assemblage that is also distinctively illustrated. What you will find is a crafty muse and an inventive metaphor that induce the reader to be astonished.
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