The Ephemera

Author: Neil Williamson
Elastic Press
RRP: 5.99
ISBN 0 9548812 6 5
Available 01 May 2006

An artist communicates solely through a bizarre mosaic, a father and his dying daughter seek hope in plague-ridden Scotland, a London pensioner's existence is inextricably bound to that of his pet canary, and in the jungles of Borneo a criminal searches for his missing son hoping for reconciliation before the end of the world. Neil Williamson's collection of bittersweet tales features fourteen stories of impermanence: from the ends of love affairs and the brief sanity of wartime convalescence, to the fading away of old languages and the dying of humanity itself...

I'd just like to start this review of Neil Williamson's collection of short stories The Ephemera by saying I officially hate this man. There I was working on a collection of short stories that perfectly captured moments in time, vignettes of pure human experience that would make you laugh, cry or think and what does my editor send me but just such a collection. Not only that but every one of the stories in the book is a gem. I hate this man.

Published here together for the first time by Elastic Press, this science fiction collection represents stories from the last ten years which you may have missed as they have been published in various magazines and anthologies, also included is a new story The Codsman and His Willing Shag - and no its not an erotic tale.

Given that the book is a very respectable price, what you get is sixteen emotionally engaging stories spread across two hundred and seventeen pages. It may be a bargain bin price but not so the writing. There is a limited signed hardback version, which is most probably worth hunting down as I think this guy is destined for great things in the future.

Given the sheer quality that shines through, and I'm salivating at the thought of his forthcoming full novel The Moon King, at least that way I could add him to the other Scottish greats of Ken Macleod and Iain Banks.

Don't just take my word for it, go out now and buy the book and you too can be full of envy.

Charles Packer

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