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Book Review

Book Cover

Blind Swimmer


Authors: Various
Eibonvale Press
RRP: £10.00
ISBN: 978 0 9562147 5 1
Available 16 August 2010

Blind Swimmer is a new anthology of slipstream short stories from Eibonvale Press. Slipstream attempts to fuse different genres to create a new form of writing. The first collection gained good critical success and like the last collection this one has a theme, in this case ‘Creativity in Isolation’.

The book consists of ten stories, plus a forward and an introduction.

Bellony by Nina Allan finds Terri who, having recently become a freelance writer, goes in search of a missing author who had been significant to her as a young girl.

Although there is nothing inherently wrong with the construction or writing of the story it fails to surprise. As soon as Terri mentions a particular story about a mysterious door you just know that this is where the story is heading, leaving the reader with little to do except plow through the pages to an end which is inevitable and signposted way too early in the story.

The Flea Market by Gerard Houarner, where Derrick finds redemption and his missing dreams in the music of his grandfather. Here is another well written story with little in the way of surprises. That the hero finds what he needs to reclaim his dreams in music is fairly obvious given the power that music has to alter emotions in humans, recalling lost loves and lifting spirituality.

The Talkative Sun by Rhys Hughes forms part of a larger work. It is a collection of jokes and puns based around the idea of a sentient sun.

The Man Who Saw Grey by Brendan Connell is a reworking, in all but name, of The Man With The X-ray Eyes, same premise, the only change being that here Greg sees less rather than more, with the same ending. It is well written, but then so was the original.

The Book of Tides by David Rix and finally not only is the story well written but also has an original voice. The story is a two piece, with a man who lives in isolation who uses the detritus which gets washed up on his shore to tell the stories of their owners. One day he finds a girl who is intrigued in his pastime, until his stories become frighteningly uncomfortable.

Flight of Fancy by Allen Ashley is an apocalyptic look at the end of the world from the perspective of a prison cell, or is it? The main protagonist is writing a fantasy book while the world's ecology turns against man, especially the birds, but the end of the story brings in to question as to which part of the story is fantasy. Is he a mage dreaming that he is a prisoner or a prisoner dreaming of a mage.

Pigs Eyes by Jet McDonald is a futuristic surreal tale about love and lose via a coconut. It's an extremely well written piece which surprises and delights.

The Flowers of Uncertainty by Douglas Thompson tells the story of Harold Swimmer and the strange comings and goings in a home where a woman appears and tends to his needs.

The Higgins Technique by Terry Grimwood tells a cautious tale of the limits of experiential learning

Far Beneath Incomplete Constellations by Alexander Zelenyj details a sexual liaison between a man and a Japanese woman. The writing in this story is just beautiful, the imagery powerful, it’s a story which is likely to stay with you for a while.

Lussi Natt by Andrew Coulthard and Tom’s isolation appears to be doing his mental health no good at all, as he is visited by various females, in a Swedish wilderness.

Overall, the stories are generally of a high standard, with some really thoughtful and haunting pieces.


Charles Packer

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