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C.G. Hatton is a writer and editor based in the North-East of England. She has a PhD in geology and a background in journalism, having worked as a sub-editor and editor at several newspapers. She is a freelance member of the NUJ and a regular at Writers’ Block NE. She has published two books in the Thieves’ Guild sci-fi/thriller series and co-edited the Tiny Globule anthology of short sci-fi stories.
She loves meringue, drinks rum and listens to Linkin Park, has climbed active volcanoes, walked on the Great Wall of China, been mugged in Brazil and can fieldstrip an SA80 assault rifle in under thirty seconds. She is married with two young daughters and is currently working on her third book.
on Nov. 16, 2011 :
Sci-fi, I think, works best when its imagined worlds ultimately reflect our own. For example, as war in Afghanistan continues into its 10th year, Daniel Durrant opens this collection by inviting us to consider warfare as an ultimately self-perpetuating industry. Sue Anderson, meanwhile, shines a light on the absurdity of racial and cultural conflict through her story of an alien pen-pal from a race of extreme shape-shifters. Likewise, Will Nett uses his carefully crafted prose to remind us of the perpetuators of such racism; Nazi war criminals lingering in the shadows, both literally and imaginatively. Then there’s AD Scott who offers a wry take on the modern gamer who, like many of us now, is wired to the web, becoming mentally and physically ever helpless and reliant on such systems. “My body isn’t built for all this physical shit!” complains his hero as he is unceremoniously thrown into the street, thereby thoroughly ‘disconnected’. So, five tales in and this collection has already set the tone for thought-provoking and effective Sci-fi.
Warfare surfaces again in CG Hatton’s “Tuesday” as we’re provided with an alternative view from the frontline, cleverly presented much in the fast-paced, raw action that was a feature of her recent novel. Our preconceptions are nicely overturned with a shocking revelation.
Amongst my personal favourites were “The Head of the Firm” by Anne Colledge and “Five Minutes (or Forever One Step Ahead)” by Graeme Wilkinson. Anne Colledge’s neat psychological horror story appealed to my love of great writers of the macabre, such as H P Lovecraft or Edgar Allen Poe. I also found Graeme Wilkinson’s “Five Minutes” to be a superb concept, beautifully executed in a taut narrative where art and science collide in a satisfyingly chilling way.
Ian Laskey’s “Within” offered yet further horror, but of the far more visceral, ‘blood and guts’ type. Literally! But again, nothing is wasted here in the text, the writing crisp and well-paced. In fact, I believe the gore is the point of his writing here, to help us see, smell and feel the disgust. I felt a touch of “Apocalypse Now” running through it too, with its Vietnam context and horrors that have emerged out of the insanitary, demonic depths of the jungle.
After the queasy read of “Within”, Matthew Preston immediately opens his tale with a terrifyingly painful-looking alien’s anal probe! But, the dread that stalks “Within” is here nicely counterbalanced by Matthew’s mischievous sense of humour in which a down-on-his-luck divorcee faces a further rejection ‘of the third kind’, following an Alien abduction.
Following this, “Life on Mars” was Louise Hume’s moving and inventive account of the perils of leaving behind ‘life on earth’ for the pipe dream of seeking riches and a pursuing career on another planet. She reveals that there are real riches to be gained from our humdrum human relationships on terra firma and we should value that too. Thought provoking.
Equally moving was the tale of “Androidgynous” by Matt Watts, perhaps surprising given its sole character being that of an android. The narrator has been great intelligence and deep human feelings but has then been marooned alone to travel the galaxy, endlessly repeating a mundane, Sisyphean task. The intense boredom and loneliness is explored in what becomes almost a kind of tragic rethinking of ‘Marvin the Paranoid Android’ (of Hitchhiker’s fame)! In bestowing human intelligence and emotions to an isolated piece of machinery that can live forever, mankind has committed torture.
All of which slips nicely into another tale of torture and isolation, albeit this time of a more deliberate kind. In “Internment”, Herika R. Raymer imagines a world run by “Ada” and machines, humanity willingly complicit in their rule. In a world subject to Ada’s Asimovian laws, the thorny issue of punishment for serious crime is here given a new and horrific solution.
Finally, to end the collection, the “science” in science fiction is given a succinct and pithy monologue by a grandmother in “I’m no scientist”. James Harris manages to delightfully fuse (or perhaps confuse) a debate concerning theories of time travel and a grandson’s expanding waistline!
In summary, I’m happy to say that everything that’s good about short-story writing is here. Science Fiction and the short story are sometimes overlooked. The short story in particular is occasionally considered the baby brother of the more serious novel. As such, The Tiny Globule is a thing to be celebrated; showcasing skilled and imaginative writing that challenges our philosophies and spooks our certainties. Inevitably, with such a range of ideas and authors in a single volume, readers will no doubt find some of the content more to their taste than others. Therein, however, may lay the ultimate pleasure from The Tiny Globule. Namely, reading though a pageant of rich ideas told in a diverse ways. And variety is, as Sue Anderson's shape shifting alien reminds us, the spice of life.
(reviewed long after purchase)