A Book of Endings
 by Deborah Biancotti

Twelfth Planet Press
Trade Paperback
First collection
Awards: Finalist,  2009 Aurealis Award for Best COllection

Deborah Biancotti lives in Sydney, Australia. Winner of the Aurealis and Ditmar awards for her short story writing, she launched her first book, A Book of Endings, with Twelfth Planet Press this year. She is now working on her first novel, a near-future psychological thriller, and has a novella lined up for 2010 publication with Gilgamesh Press.

Read an interview with Deborah Biancotti

"'Susan.' It was a whisper now.
My hands no longer shook as I picked up the last brick. I pushed it into its slot … blocking out all light from the room where Jacob lay. Then I switched off the lamp. Susan. That’s not my name."

Reviewed by Mario Guslandi

Deborah Biancotti’s debut collection left me both hopeful and frustrated. Here we have a writer with a great potential, able to produce some outstanding stories, who, unfortunately, often wastes her talent writing tasteless pieces with implausible plots and nondescript characters. When inspired, Biancotti is a top notch author. When uninspired, the author of mediocre tales can irritate, in view of what she can do when at the top of her game.

In the twenty-one stories assembled in A Book of Endings, she shifts effortlessly from the supernatural tale to SF fiction, from fantasy to crime. This eclectic nature is another source of ambiguity. Is she a multi-talented author or simply a writer still trying to find her own voice? Only the future will tell.

For the time being I’ll simply focus on five sparkling gems that grace Biancotti’s collection and I’ll ignore the few misfires or the various tales which are too ordinary to be mentioned.

Number 3 Raw Place is an enigmatic, delightful piece where a couple living in a lonely house drifts apart in a rather mysterious way.

Much as I dislike SF I couldn’t help being totally fascinated by Hush, an offbeat story where human brains are preserved by being meshed into animal bodies. A little masterpiece, witty and disquieting at the same time.

Another superb piece of fiction is Stone by Stone, a perfect, mocking tale about a peculiar murder, endowed with an unexpected ending.

I confess I’m not completely sure of what is actually going on in Coming Up For Air, a sort of technological thriller so engrossing and told in such a steady narrative style that I was unable to stop reading even when the events described remained rather quizzical.

Finally, I want to praise once again The Tailor of Time, a beautiful fantasy tale that I already enjoyed in the extreme when it appeared in the anthology Clockwork Phoenix. A man seeks additional time for his dying daughter by pleading with the mysterious Tailor who stitches the days and nights of human existence working on his sewing machine. This outstanding story alone would be enough to mark Biancotti as a truly fine writer.

Please keep an eye on her because I have no doubts that as she will ripen as a fiction writer she will present us with other excellent material apt to gain her the recognition that she deserves.

Listen to Hush, a story from this collection read by the author on the KeithStevenson.com fiction podcast

Mario Guslandi lives in Milan, Italy. Most likely the only Italian who regularly reads (and reviews) dark fiction in English, his book reviews have appeared in a number of genre websites such as The Alien Online, Infinity Plus, The SF Site, The Agony Column and Horrorwold.
Mario's other Short Reviews: Simon Stranzas "Cold to the Touch"

Cern Zoo anthology
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