I have mixed feelings about this collection. On one hand, I want to applaud the design, commentary and stories Wilson has gathered in this volume. One might be tempted to use it to teach a course on writing. Wilson provides unique insight into the processes that gave birth to these tales, including even a play and teleplay. He also disperses throughout the introductions his personal experiences with the entertainment community. I think it's both insightful and fascinating. The caliber of work presented is a testament to Wilson's success as a "NY Times Best Selling Author." His selections cover a variety of genres, providing a vast supply of fuel for the reader's imagination. However, on the other hand does the average reader want all this extra material? True, they could skip that material, even the play and teleplay. Are they then getting their moneys worth? I believe they are. Fans of Wilson's Repairman Jack are sure to find THE BARRENS AND OTHERS a wickedly...
Author F. Paul Wilson made a fan out of me with his stunningly original novel The Keep, a tale of Nazis facing Lovecraftian horror in a Romanian castle. I became a fan of his Repairman Jack character in The Tomb, a sequel to The Keep, and that led me to The Barrens and Others, where Jack makes a belated return in the story A Day In The Life. It's rare to find a really good short story collection, and this is Wilson's second; The first was the amazing collection Soft and Others. The stories here include: Feelings, where a greedy Lawyer learns empathy the hard way. Tenants, which finds an escaped killer hiding out with an old man and his VERY unusual boarders. Faces, a different spin on the serial killer tale, concerning a hideously deformed girl who kills beautiful people in a truly gruesome manner. (These three stories all take place in the town of Monroe, and tie in with Wilson's Adversary Cycle, which began in The Keep.)...
I have read a bunch of novels by F. Paul Wilson and have always been reasonably satisfied with the results. Good novelists, however, are not always good short story writers, so when I picked up Wilson's collection The Barrens and Others, I was somewhat optimistic that I would enjoy it, but also ready for disappointment. Happily, this book exceeded my hopes.
The Barrens and Others is a collection of a dozen stories and a pair of short screenplays, along with some commentary by Wilson. Although some of these stories fit into his Repairman Jack/Adversary universe, they are all standalone. I won't describe all the stories, but among the standouts are Feelings (in which an ambulance chasing lawyer gets a rather unusual curse), A Day in the Life (which features Repairman Jack battling a group of extortionists), Slasher (dealing with a man's obsession with his daughter's killer), The Barrens (a Lovecraftian tale of people seeking too much knowledge) and Topsy (which has a...
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