Dead Water & Other Weird Tales
By David A Sutton
Cover and artwork by Jim Pitts
Introduction by David A Riley
From weirdness on the Welsh coast: Whatever it was, the object was too large for a bird, too slim for a boat, too streamlined for flotsam… She pressed her face closer to the glass, fascinated and terrified at the same time. In the net … bilious white, flesh that might have been partly consumed by some predator. (“The Fisherman”)
A visit to Lovecraft’s Innsmouth: My eyes could not block out the sight of the shapes, flopping, wading, barking as they inexorably massed in my direction… the texture of their skins bore the suggestion of the final stages of gangrenous flesh. (“Innsmouth Gold”)
In the depths of winter in Arthurian times: The sound of battle clamoured through my brain. The field of Arderydd, soaked in blood; Liddel Water running with blood; Gwenddolau’s fortress hard by … splattered with blood… Perhaps it was not Myrddin’s great age that sapped him of his powers. Perhaps it was the Romans and their priests… The new faith has made us all weak. (“Midwinter”)
On board Venturer, about to land on Mars: The texture of Mars, the texture of its red facade, the sub-liminal texture of its history and mythology and the baggage of the many fictions. Mars was larger than itself… The three of them had sat in the rec. area and watched as Earth’s dark soul was lit up again. (“Landfall on Elysium Planitia”)
And more … eighteen stories of horror, fantasy and science fiction from award-winning editor and writer David A. Sutton:
- Introduction by David Riley
- The Fisherman
- Zulu’s War
- The Transmigration
- Under the Glamour
- The Fetch
- Mind-Forged Manacles
- Pot de Téte
- Return to the Runes
- A Night at the Hippo
- Innsmouth Gold
- Night Soil Man
- Dead Water
- The Pre-Raphaelite Picture
- Landfall on Elysium Planitia
Available from Amazon and other good online retailers (also available as an eBook).
Dead Water and Other Weird Tales is a wide ranging mix of work, drawing inspiration from a multitude of different sources. Though there isn’t a definitive theme to this group of tales, in that each makes use of different elements, they sit together without discomfort and the application of writing is familiar enough to for you to feel at home with the writer without the game ever being given away … Sutton is a masterful writer of short horror and one whose work needs to be savoured. — SF Book Reviews
Following his excellent first collection Clinically Dead and Other Tales of the Supernatural, Sutton’s new collection Dead Water and Other Weird Talesassembles eighteen stories … providing a good showcase of Sutton’s versatile talent as a writer … well worth reading, making this collection a must for any dark fiction lover. — Mario Guslandi
This collection contains eighteen stories dating from 1976 to 2015, including two completely new stories. The stories display an impressive imagination and vary extensively in theme although all contain some element of the fantastical or weird. This is a very strong collection and although some of the stories are horrific they are usually subtle and build tension very effectively … This is my favourite [collection] for quite some time and I would emphatically recommend it if you like speculative fiction. — BSFG Newsletter
The tales in this collection are creepy, atmospheric, unsettling and disturbing, the kind of tales to keep you awake at night, huddled under the covers and clutching a brightly lit torch for dear life while something slivers in the shadows. I’d highly recommend this collection. — The Book Lover’s Boudoir
David Sutton may be a local author but he has an impressive pedigree as a writer and editor (one I must admit that I was not aware of until I read this book). Based on these stories, I have been missing some very accomplished storytelling. David Sutton is the recipient of the World Fantasy Award, the International Horror Guild Award and twelve British Fantasy Awards. He has been writing since the 1960s and also owns the small press company Shadow Publishing.
This collection contains eighteen stories dating from 1976 to 2015, including two completely new stories. The stories display an impressive imagination and vary extensively in theme although all contain some element of the fantastical or weird. This is a very strong collection and although some of the stories are horrific they are usually subtle and build tension very effectively. Refreshingly, they also do not rely upon nasty things happening to young women (or men for that matter), which is one of my pet aversions. Unusually I don’t think I could name one story that I didn’t feel of some merit.
With eighteen stories I can only describe some of my favourites to give you a flavour of the book. The first story, “The Fisherman”, is set in a remote Welsh village and revolves around the mysterious disappearance of a fisherman’s wife and what he might be obsessively fishing for in the remote bay at night. The author’s use of metaphor and vocabulary is lovely; short but precise and has a Bradbury-esque feel to it at times.
“Mind-Forged Manacles” is a science fiction story set in a future Australia and the confrontation between an aboriginal woman protecting a nature reserve, and the company man sent to clear her land for industrial exploitation. This story is multi-layered with physical and ideological conflicts between the protagonists which leaves you thinking even after the conclusion.
On a lighter note, there is also “Innsmouth Gold”, a homage to H P Lovecraft’s Cthulhu stories. Whilst the story of an adventurer after bootleggers’ gold who discovers the macabre inhabitants of the abandoned town works well without an awareness of Lovecraft, the little “Easter eggs” for those readers familiar with his work add to the fun of this eerie story.
Finally, there is the eponymous “Dead Water”, set in the salt marshes of the Camargue in France. It concerns two bird watchers who get lost at dusk amid the narrow causeways and salt pools and stray into a prohibited area, much to their regret. The story starts with a light tone and gradually very effectively builds menace.
This is my favourite [collection] for quite some time and I would emphatically recommend it if you like speculative fiction. — Reviewed by Carol Goodwin. Reprinted from the Birmingham Science Fiction Group’s Newsletter (May 2015)