(PS Publishing, £8.00, 144 pages, limited edition signed, numbered,
large paperback, also available as limited edition signed, numbered
hardback, priced £25.00, published 2002.)
One hole in the market that PS Publishing amongst The Uglimen falls into this literary Bermuda Triangle: you'd
imagine that to be published it would normally have to accrete subplot
sufficient to double its length, which may well not be to its benefit.
As it stands, it's a short tight horror tale, lean of fat and efficiently
told though hardly groundbreakingly original.
are filling is the publication of stories that are too long to fit in
most magazines or anthologies but are too uncommercially short to be
published as books -- long novellas or short novels, depending on which
side of 40,000 words their wordcount falls. At around 45,000 words,
A short prologue is set in 1969 Los Angeles. Charlie and Doug are at
the airport waiting to board the flight home to England. They're nervous,
jittery, desperate to escape something: quite what, we won't learn until
later. Flash forward to 2001. Rob Loomis is told by his mother that
his father has hung himself. But who is the man Rob sees at the funeral?
And who is the man who phones him to tell him the Uglimen are coming?
The answers to these questions take Rob and his girlfriend Jessica
on a journey which tells him plenty of things he didn't know about his
own past. And there are a few twists before you get to the end. The
Uglimen themselves, members of a self-mutilating religious sect, are
kept much in the background, as hired muscle for the real villain of
the piece, and to add to the atmosphere of threat Morris builds up.
They could perhaps be made more of, as "religiously-inspired fanatic"
is the sum total of their characterisation.
All in all, The Uglimen won't waste the hour or two it'll take
you to read it, and it's good it isn't bloated to a more "commercial"
length. Less is more.
Review by Gary Couzens.
Elsewhere in infinity plus