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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spotlight on Impossibillia by Douglas Smith (by Liviu Suciu)

In the spirit of showcasing less well known recent sff works that truly impressed me, I am starting a series of mini-reviews "Spotlight On".

From PS Publishing Showcase #5 I am presenting Impossibilia by Douglas Smith

Roughly 100 pages in content, and starting with an introduction by noted fantasist Chaz Brenchley, Impossibilia contains three novellas:

Bouquet of Flowers in a Vase, by Van Gogh is the piece of resistance of the collection and one of the best and most moving novellas I have read in a while. Haunting and evocative, it takes place in France, where Maroch and the newcomer Laure are "viewers", people with a special ability to recreate and imagine the past as it happened, and maybe, just maybe, actually influence it.
In this case it's about finding an unknown painting by Vincent VanGogh, that Maroch and his longtime very demanding partner Karsh want to sell for a fortune. But what is the genesis of the painting? Has it existed originally, or the action of "viewing" the past influences it?
Of course things do not go quite as planned as both Laure and Maroch have painful secrets that will influence their actions. Just astounding.

Spirit Dance is a more conventional short story about shape-shifters, but I am sure any story coming after the previous one would have read flat. Still a good story and it kept my attention to the end.

Going Down to Lucky Town is a zanier but ultimately very moving story about a part time gambler, part time con-man who seems to have gotten down luck to a measurable skill. Actually Charles Perelman aka Charlie the Pearl could "see" luck, but the question that he will face one day is at what price.
Another superb story that made this volume such an unforgettable one for me.

If you can get hold of this relatively rare collection you will truly enjoy it. Highly, highly recommended.


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