Sleeps with Angels by Dave Hutchinson
Having read and enjoyed Europe in Autumn I jumped at the chance to review this collection of shorts which was sent to me as an ARC. Hutchinson’s prose is absorbing and in each short he demonstrates an intelligent take on alternate worlds. They mostly sit in SF but are quite unobtrusive, even where they rely on hard science. The story, and the characters are the thing here.
There are six fairly long short stories in here that deal with themes that will be familiar if, like me, you’ve read Hutchinson’s previous book. A fragmented world with fragmented politics on a truly modern stage. In The Fortunate Isle We get a police procedural where a man, shot through the head, is claimed to be a woman’s husband but his provenance is much, much stranger. Dali’s clocks Is a sly story about creativity, as provided by drugs. Sugar Engines is a cosy catastrophe in a nanopocalypse. Sic Transit Gloria Mundi sees an archaeological investigation into the mysteries of a Roman merchant’s far-fetched stories and All of the news, All the time, From Everywhere has a post-collapse world where the news can only be gleaned through animal sacrifice and elves now run the world. The last tale in the book The incredible exploding man is about an accident in a particle collider and is rather excellent – did the editor save the best for last?
Each story has a note on its genesis from the author, which is always interesting. The stories have all been published before, except for Sic Transit Gloria Mundi and are described as Science fiction, although that title does more to obfuscate than reveal what to expect from these stories. I’m glad to say that Hutchinson is as good with a short as he was with the novel and I eagerly await his next book & will keep an eye out for previous collections.
Overall – Very accomplished writing, it’s well worth visiting the many worlds of Dave Hutchinson