Here they are:
One of the joys of reading horror stories lies in knowing however bad things may seem, they’re only going to get much worse. We all have days when we could happily kill the people we live or work with. But few of us get round to actually doing it.
In Dot Matrix Lawrence Hawthorne pictures how he would – as he puts it – euthanise Ross Baker Head of Marketing at Frip PLC. Almost in an act of kindness.
For his first published short story Jack Binding fashions a small cast of backstabbing characters most of us might like to euthanise. We might even like to euthanise Lawrence Hawthorne. Set in an office in London’s East End the story captures one essence of a good horror short by ensuring his main protagonist as just as unworthy of our empathy as the rest. Nevertheless, we can’t help but see that Hawthorne is only human. Realising that, as most of us have experience similar situations, we begin to understand the rancour he harbours towards his fellow workers.
Ross Baker messes up, only sneak behind Hawthorne’s back to heap as much blame as possible on him. In an atmosphere where everyone is fearful of losing their job it’s no small matter. The only possible job security to be had is by making it to the top. And that means using colleague’s heads as stepping stones to get there. Forced to work well after midnight because of the mistake Baker made, a tired Hawthorne hears a strange sound in the deserted office. He fears someone might’ve overheard him cursing his superiors beneath his breath. He feels the presence of someone, or even some thing. That’s when things start to get out of hand.
Jack Binding’s work reminds me of some of the great horror short stories dating from the 1950s and 60s. The English author’s debut tale of deadly office intrigue whisked me back to masters of the genre such as Ray Bradbury, Roald Dahl and the long-forgotten Gerald Kersh, to name but three.
Dot Matrix is an excellent launch to what looks to be very promising trajectory.
He also wrote about Property, too, but I’ll save that for another post.
So yes. I have more things to write. Psychological stuff. Sydney stuff. Science fiction and how the Westworld TV show has blown my mind.
Also, Twenty-Seven is out in a few days. First person asshole narrative. I suppose there’s a reason I do that pretty well … But I’ll heckle y’all about that one in due course.
I kind of miss London. Boo hoo etc.
Right, I’m off to the beach to try to even out my sunburn.