Oct 16, 2011

eBook Review–Creeping in Reptile Flesh by Robert Hood

Creeping in Reptile Flesh is a collection of 15 stories by a Robert Hood, dubbed as “Australia’s Master of the Macabre”. 
I have a little confession to make - prior to getting this review copy I really didn’t know who Robert Hood was.

Which I hope means that my review of it isn’t affected by any sort of in-group bias( the in-group being the Australian SpecFic community which I participate in /support) rather than just underlining my ignorance.

Given the digital treatment
The collection was originally published in 2008 by Altair-Australia and has been reprinted/reissued by Morrigan Books as of July 2011 in digital form.
The collection, when it was first released, made available a number of stories that were hard to find after their initial publication run in overseas magazines.  Now with the eBook age finally upon us Robert has his work preserved for posterity or at least until our advanced civilisation is wiped out by an EMP.

A Definitive Collection?
Robert thankfully, is still with us.  There is a common wisdom that suggests that there’s a right time that a collection should be put out – writers are supposed to get better with time and experience and well, putting out a collection of works too early in one’s career could be damaging. Too early and you risk turning readers off I suppose.

But not having followed Rob’s career at all its really hard for me to judge.  What I can say is that Creeping in Reptile Flesh is consistently good.  There’s consistent tone and quality in the writing mixed with enough variation to make it an enjoyable and refreshing read.

So is it the definitive Robert Hood collection?  No, but it’s a fine snapshot of a good writer’s career(and I’d like to think Robert’s going to be around a little longer).

My picks
The Collection was a finalist in the 2009 Aurealis & Ditmar Awards, the title story  was also a finalist in the best Novella category for the 2009 Ditmar Awards.  That being said my favourites were to be found further  in the work.

They are:

Getting rid of mother, which I found to be charmingly disturbing.  A couple who can’t seem to look after themselves buy a house that comes with its own escapee from a nursing home.  The poor old …well I should let you read it for yourself.

Heartless definitely fell on the weird end of the horror spectrum.  Though this is one tory that features a bit of gore, there was a sort of Dexter-ish glee in in the outcome .  A sense of justice achieved though by rather less than ok means.

Rotten times – decay and corruption in modern times taken to a literal end.  I like this story for its non lineal arrangement as well.

And while all of the antagonists in the above shorts meet the deserved ends, as with all good horror there’s a lingering unease felt by the survivors (If there are any) and the reader.

I’d recommend it even if you are not that big on horror.  It tends more towards the weird than than the gory.  If you are a horror fan, well I’d hope you’d already have it, but then there's a lot of good reading out there.

(Note: You can now purchase a hard copy from Booktopia.)

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