Null Immortalis: Nemonymous 10
 Edited by DF Lewis

Megazanthus Press
2010, Paperback
First collection? No

Authors  DF Lewis (editor), William Meikle, Daniel Pearlman, DP Watt, SD Tullis, David F Fitzpatrick, David V Griffin, Ursula Pflug, Andrew Hook, Joel Lane, Tim Casson, Tony Lovell, Gary Fry, Derek John, Margaret B Simon, Mike Chinn, Richard Gavin, Joseph S Pulver Sr, Reggie Oliver, Rachel Kendall, Roy Gray, Cameron Pierce, Stephen Bacon, Mark Valentine, Steve Rasnic Tem, Bob Lock, Tim Nickels.

"At that moment Tullis heard a sound from behind him – a dry shuffling noise that could surely only be the wind… At any rate he didn’t turn to look, rather kept his gaze on the woman in front of him. She didn’t appear to have detected any movement… so there simply couldn’t be any"

Reviewed by Mario Guslandi

Null Immortalis… Is this Latin? Not quite, to the best of my knowledge. If my memory serves me well it should be "nullus". Perhaps "null" is English and "immortalis" is Latin. Whatever…

The book constitutes the latest (and last) volume in the celebrated Nemonymous series, hence the selection was probably still made by the editor on the  basis of anonymity, but the names of the authors are now immediately disclosed to the reader.

The anthology assembles twenty-six stories of various length, genre and tone. Some authors are renowned writers, others are less known. Some stories are great, others simply don’t succeed. That’s normal. Some of my favourite authors (Reggie Oliver, Richard Gavin, Andrew Hook, Steve Rasnic Tem) seem a bit out of shape, contributing material not really up to their usually high standard. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of very good stuff therein.

For instance Daniel Pearlman’s A Giant in the House is a well-crafted portrait of family life, featuring a man whose height keeps decreasing with the passing of the years, and  David V Griffin’s Violette Doranges, an intriguing, delicate piece about an elusive girl whom we’ll never be able to properly meet.

David M Fitzpatrick provides the tense Lucien’s Menagerie, a fine example of excellent storytelling where a woman has to pay a singular price to get an inheritance from her ex-husband.
"He took a deep breath, shaking as he exhaled...You shouldn’t have to go through this sick shit to get back what’s rightfully yours. But legally I have an obligation to uphold... and if you deviate even one tiny bit from that, my job is to make sure you don’t get this property."
In Strings Attached Gary Fry perfectly blends mundane matters (the business projects of a rich retiree are hampered by a corrupted city officer) with dark horrors returning from the past, while Derek John (Oblivion) cleverly investigates the secret of the long life span of the members of a distinguished family.

Joel Lane contributes The Drowned Market, a puzzling, compelling tale about a writer who takes a rejection the hard way and becomes a mystery himself.
"You must have given me the wrong folder," he said. "This isn’t a murder story. I don’t know what it is. There’s death in it but not murder."
In the amazing, quite effective Holesale, Rachel Kendall describes a wonderful trick by a master deceiver: "...he couldn’t sell the holes fast enough. As soon as one was handed over, another wad of notes was waved in front of his nose. People were biting at their new packages, trying to tear them open."

In the gentle The Toymaker of Bremen, by Stephen Bacon, we make the acquaintance of a little boy and a bunch of playful children, whose happy existence is threatened by the dark shadows of the war:
"His parents hugged him again, the air busy with the sniffs of his mother as she dabbed  at her face with a handkerchief. Promises to return when the war was over..."

Once again, regardless of the personal taste of the reviewer, the Nemonymous anthology has to be commended for the general good quality of the included fiction, a trademark of the whole book series. So, it’s with a feeling of sadness that we realize that the Nemonymous  saga is taking its leave and the original, interesting experience of reading (and reviewing)  anonymous fiction is coming to an end. But editor Des Lewis is a resourceful man and I’m sure that he’ll be back soon with new ideas and new anthologies.

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 Horrorworld.

Mario's other Short Reviews: Simon Stranzas "Cold to the Touch"

Cern Zoo anthology

Deborah Biancotti "A Book of Endings"

Joseph Payne Brennan "The Feaster from Afar and Other Ghastly Inhabitants"

Paulo Bacigalupi "Pump Six and Other Stories"
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