Genre Horror Publisher Raw Dog Screaming Press Year Published 2004 Review Posted on 8/2/2005 Reviewer Rating
A Dirge For The Temporal, by Darren Speegle
Reviewed by Ray Wallace
If you've read this book, why not
Two things you must possess in order to enjoy Darren Speegle's collection, A Dirge For The Temporal. The first would be a love of language. The second, a hunger for the surreal. This is proven early, with the opening story, in fact, which is entitled "The Lunatic Mystique." Here we meet Danny Avian, long time writer for a local newspaper, who is confronted one day by a beautiful woman at his front door who proclaims her admiration for his reporting. "Because I love your daily column so ferociously," (she tells him) "I've come to collect you from yourself." And quite before he realizes what is happening, Danny is whisked away to a small South American village where he is regarded as "the Gatherer" by the residents, most of whom have lost their thumbs. And so the odd and intriguing tone is set, one that continues throughout the length of the collection.
"September," the second story, centers around a man named Galen who, while driving between European cities, decides to "wander some of the less traveled roads," to take in some of the scenery, as it were. He comes across an inn run by a lone woman in a seemingly abandoned town he has never before visited but which, somehow, seems to have been awaiting his return. "What has happened here?" he wonders. "Where is everyone?" But the woman does not tell him directly. Some answers he must discover on his own. And they may not be the ones he was hoping to find. Skip ahead a few stories to "Merging Tableaux" which begins with the following sentence: "Everyone has at least one scene that they cannot erase from memory, a fragment of the past that affected them so profoundly it now occupies a permanent place in their consciousness." The narrator of the story has two such scenes and we soon discover how an obsession with the first ultimately, inevitably, led to the other.
Then we come to "Rupture Zone," probably my favorite story of the bunch. A vindictive, gun-toting woman. A man on the run. And a chasm in the earth from which hideous monsters climb to the surface to wreak havoc upon the world of humans. What more could a fan of dark fiction ask for? How about someone with Darren Speegle's obvious talent bringing it all to life. In "The Call of Morzine," a group of young boys are camping in a cave when a man with a monkey-like creature on his shoulder comes to visit. He tells the boys that the creature is named after a town where a strange and terrible lunacy once gripped the citizens there. And then he asks the boys for directions to the town where they live. One boy in particular, Philipe, soon discovers the truth of the creature's power, a discovery that will change the way he sees the world and the way the world sees him.
This wonderful collection is comprised of more than thirty stories and poems which cover all the genres of horror, fantasy, and sci-fi and pretty much every sub-genre in between. And some of the tales are simply unclassifiable. From what he has displayed here, Darren Speegle is obviously a writer to keep an eye on. And A Dirge For The Temporal is a collection that should be on the shelves of dark fiction fans everywhere.