David Niall Wilson
Hardcover and HC Limited Edition $50.00-$115.00
Reviewed by Nickolas Cook
I’ve found one rule about writing to be the truest: A man who leads a varied life, and one who has an open mind, knows how to absorb the minutiae of life, and hold on to it and remember it in great detail, is also an author who can tell a variety of stories well, with a trueness that resonates across genre boundaries and generations.
David Niall Wilson is such a man and such a writer.
With Defining Moments, his newest short story collection, Wilson gives fans what he considers the best of the best of his recent short works. It’s an impressive collection, to say the least, and it’s great to see an author who can discriminate within his own catalogue of works with such a keen eye for what sets it apart from other works.
And I’m inclined to agree with his choices. For this reviewer, not every story was as good as the last, although some I’d rank with the best short stories I’ve read this year, and even the mediocre tales within Defining Moments were still memorable reads.
The highlights I found in this excellent collection were “The Lost Wisdom of Instinct,” a very odd reincarnation story, erotic and atmospheric, “For These Things I Am Truly Grateful,” an absolutely horrific study of a common enough psychosis gone completely out of control, “The Call of Farther Shores,” a story that will stick with you long after you read it, “The Death-Sweet Scent of Lilies,” a story I felt could have been a novel on its own (the historical sense of fine detail Wilson brings to this one is astounding), and “Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky,” definitely one of the oddest bits I’ve read in a while, part William S. Burroughs, part Charles Bukowski, and part good old Stephen King; funny, dark, and grotesque, you’ll love it.
Something that Wilson does so well is his eye for detail. His writing is sensual, conveying something for all the senses, allowing the reader to dive headfirst, if one so chooses, into the story and be surrounded. His stories are like HD, Surround Sound affairs, giving you moments so real you can almost feel you’ve lived them. There is a truth to his fiction that will stick with you. His characters are all flawed, each and every one of them. But they’re also very humane, filled with hope and angst- something a lot of small press authors do not know how to express in their tales. You can feel his compassion and worry for humanity, his loves and hates, inherent in wash tale.
Defining Moments is definitely a fine collection from a hell of an author who certainly deserves bigger market success, and soon.