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Dossier: A Collection of Short Stories
Creative Arts paperback $13.95
review by Ian Shutter
Inspirational, and boasting an extraordinary level of creativity and imagination, Stepan Chapman's first collection of short fiction includes 17 stories of curious mythical affect with many amazing surprises, that form a compelling body of evidence of this writer's remarkable narrative wit. In Dossier, you will find mercenary rainmakers, dreams of microscopes, the wisdom of wizard hermits, island boy heroes, a shock to the psyche, cosmic tragicomedy, reclusive aristocrats, cybernetic bikers, spells of delusion, the subversion of ethnic traditions, robot moths, falling decadent empires, multicultural wrangling, unexpectedly benign apocalypse, and alternative Russian history.
The bold authorial conceits of Chapman's fantasy worldviews are like the captivatingly wondrous folklore tales of Hans Christian Andersen and the brothers Grimm. Yet these stories are not insubstantial escapist works of daydreamer fancy. Some have the authority of grail myths and biblical proverbs, or the weightiness of millennial epiphany. Chapman quietly roams the unspoilt wilderness zone between the familiar genre neighbourhoods of science fiction, supernatural horror and magic realism. He tracks down and gathers up all the available marvellous concepts, bizarre twists, and delightfully wry angles of attack on conventional storytelling, leaving no touchstone unturned. Then, after skimming off the crusty layers of the fatuous and the trite, he confidently presents his outrageously weird findings, and refreshingly multifaceted characters - larger than life and death together - with phenomenal writing skill, and an astonishing truthful touch.
Chapman's debut novel, The Troika (published by the Ministry of Whimsy), won the prestigious Philip K. Dick memorial award. I have no doubt that this volume will draw equal acclaim. Here's modern literary fantasy at its very best!
tZ Hidden Hearts - short fiction by Stepan Chapman, published in The ZONE #8
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