Sunday, 14 May 2017
Recommendation: The Secret Of Ventriloquism by Jon Padgett
The stories within cover a range of styles and influences: 'The Indoor Swamp' for example is a largely plotless, Ligotti-esque mood piece, whereas 'The Infusorium' is a longer work, full of vivid characters, plot reversals and the influence of noir. Padgett also gives us jet-black humour in 'Murmurs Of A Voice Foreknown', a one act play, and a story written in the style of a ventriloquism manual.
But despite this impressive variation, these stories all seem to take place in the same fictional geography, with images, events and motifs criss-crossing between them. Padgett-land is a place of thick smogs, mysterious plan-crashes, dream-logic, and the mysteries of 'greater ventriloquism'.
As such, The Secret Of Ventriloquism is not just a collection of good stories, but a good collection of stories, structured and arranged to hint at wider horrors that we never see. If the key to good horror writing is atmosphere (as I keep repeating) then Padgett proves himself a master of it here. Each story builds tension individually, but also contributes to the overall, escalating feeling of unease, of a malaise physical and mental. It's magnificently done and demands to be read by all aficionados of the genre.
The Secret Of Ventriloquism (UK | US)