Saturday, November 18, 2017

Book Review: 'Strange Worlds' by Paul Clayton

Author Paul Clayton has an impressive career as a successful writer. His repertoire is rather vast – Historical books ‘Calling Crow ‘Flight of the Crow’ and ‘Calling Crow Nation’ his trilogy of the Southeast Series, White Seed: The Untold Story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke; ‘White Seed: The Untold Story of Roanoke, a novel about the American War in Vietnam ‘Carl Melcher Goes to Vietnam’; socio-racial dysfunction ‘Van Ripplewink: You Can’t Go Home Again’; a horror story of contemporary placement ‘In the Shape of a Man’, and Science Fiction/Fantasy
‘Strange Worlds’.

For an author so highly regarded as a man who can recreate history as though it seems contemporary, it is rewarding to know that this same imagination can fly high and sculpt fourteen stories so bizarre that not only do they embrace some ghastly leaps but that they also weave the reflections of the now through the eyes of a man who is possibly predictive with a unique commentary on everything from race and religion to father-son relationships, the elderly and more.
The stories included here are The Triumph, Dog Man, The Thing in the Box, Day, or Two, of The Dead, About Our Cats, Remembering Mandy, Jimmy Jon and the Avengers, A Working Man, Amything, The Great Leap Forward, The Last Raft, Christland, Gentle One, and 2038: San Francisco Sojourn; The Wrath of God.

Paul’s synopsis offers some added temptation – ‘In the future, the love of a young man’s life is dying. He would do almost anything to keep her alive…except that! In Dog Man, it turns out that Oscar the tomcat was just misunderstood — with deadly consequences… A love sick young man attempts to tap the power of an ancient religion to secure the affections of a girl on their class trip to Christland… The dead come briefly back to life every year when the astral dimensions align in Day, or Two, of The Dead. A cynical young ‘player’, adrift in the modern, amoral age meets God on a mountain top and his life is changed forever — but not in the way he’d ever imagined – a collection of works that channel the spirits of Huxley, Orwell and Philip K. Dick in these intelligent, provocative and highly entertaining stories.

Few authors are as willing to examine the status of or environment with as keen an eye to possibilities for the future as Paul challenges. Gripping, entertaining, wise and very well written, Paul Clayton has definitely made his mark. Grady Harp, November 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.