Reads better aloud than it does in your head. I'll give Richard Kadrey that, at least. The rest, not very interesting. Good pulp, but don't look for a...moreReads better aloud than it does in your head. I'll give Richard Kadrey that, at least. The rest, not very interesting. Good pulp, but don't look for anything substantive beneath the surface. (less)
Playing Havoc is the debut full-length novel from short-story writer Steve Morris. I was impressed with his short-story collections, "In all Probabili...morePlaying Havoc is the debut full-length novel from short-story writer Steve Morris. I was impressed with his short-story collections, "In all Probability" and "Jumble Tales," and I was curious how well he would make the transition to writing a novel.
In short, Playing Havoc is a very well written and engaging story.
While I was reading Playing Havoc, I was reminded of the old Twilight Zone episode, "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street." The notion of cutting off the conveniences of modern society and watching as everyone tears each other apart has always appealed to me. And, I’m not alone. TV shows like Revolution are still exploring this idea. The biggest problem with most of these shows is that they become absurd. They all seem to presume the worst in people and that everybody will just start eating babies once the lights go out.
Steve Morris has more faith in humanity. Playing Havoc takes this idea and grounds it in reality. It acknowledges that some people wont carry their weight and others will resort to stealing and other deviant behavior. But incidents of violence are rare and far from gratuitous. This has the effect of creating more tension because you never know when one of the characters will finally be pushed over the edge.
Playing Havoc does amazing work in creating a cast of characters who all live and breathe. They all seem like people that you know, with all of their peculiarities. Trevor was a particular favorite of mine.
Overall, I have to say that Steve Morris has managed to move effortlessly into the realm of long-form story telling. Playing Havoc is a great story with well-drawn characters, grounded in reality with believable characters.
As is indicated from the offset, Evolution of Insanity is more focused on the whole of the work rather than its individual parts. While each story wor...more As is indicated from the offset, Evolution of Insanity is more focused on the whole of the work rather than its individual parts. While each story works well on its own, it’s when they’re brought together under the same umbrella that the cohesion is apparent.
London in the Mind calls, “Beauty, could only exist, if its creator has put effort to make it beautiful.” Which seems to be a call to the creator himself. A call that is emphasized by Robert’s frustrations in the following story. A writer that seeks to portray something beautiful but is constantly tormented by his own limitations as well as the distractions of the world around him. All of which seems to mirror the conflicts in the writing process of Haresh M. Daswani himself.
Some of the pieces, like Terminal Thoughts at Ten in the Evening, read more like extended poems than short stories. Others still are meditations on the blessings of the world that surround us or on the recent economic struggles that the world has endured.
The ‘voice’ varies from clinical to poetic and from formal to vulgar. Which makes for variety, but some of which does make for awkward reading. This awkwardness comes across mostly in the first two stories, but quickly disappears after that.
A particular favorite of mine was Meditating Lord Nocturne. The imagery was well developed without being too flowery, while thelanguage remains graceful. (less)