Continuing our review of 2013, here is Martin’s pick of his fellow 900 Club writers’ work from last year.
Probably the easiest one to choose as my number one favourite from Paul’s though, was The Sowing, because as soon as I read it I loved it. I like the way he has taken something real and turned it into something even more twisted. The flashback to an infected ant, millions of years ago is inspired. The contrast between that and the broken-hearted scientist is something most people writing this type of story would probably not think of. Paul, uniquely, thinks of these things. Excellent story.
A Leisurely Breakfast is one that immediately stood out when I thought about picking a favourite. Simon, as usual, makes something sad and a bit sinister funny as well. I really enjoyed Mark. Probably because I’ve read (I think) pretty much everything Simon wrote before the 900 Club, and that story was typical of Simon’s warped imagination and sense of humour. It is a preposterous story and I love it. However, The Man in the Middle, was my favourite. The dialogue and narrative are both hilarious. Almost every line made me laugh. Not only that, the twist at the end somehow contrives to be even more ludicrous than the rest of the story. Ingenious.
Because his son writes, I assumed John was a seasoned writer, but then he told me he hadn’t written before, so I had no idea what to expect. I was still surprised by his first story, The Letter, because it didn’t read like someone’s first attempt at writing. What I found fascinating was that the letter in the story was worded in such an innocent way, then when you come to the twist at the end, the letter suddenly becomes something completely different. Something rather disturbing – very well done indeed, a seasoned writer would have been pleased with it. I also really enjoyed Duo, John showed his dark side again in this, but also an understanding of the human psyche.
My favourite, however, was Next. I get the impression John uses his extensive life experience (OK, he’s a bit older than me and has had an interesting life) in his writing, which gives it a believable, tangible quality. In this story though, he showed he also has a great imagination and a flare for the fantastic. And the twist at the end is excellent.
First of all, I agreed with Simon about The Walk. It is vivid and made me think about it for quite a while after reading. I also laughed for a long time after reading Peter and David, everything about it is funny, even the fact that he bullet-pointed a conversation. You don’t bullet-point conversations, but Adam did, and who is going to argue with that? Not me.
My number one story though, is Chapter 17 of my memoirs By Monsieur le Comte de Beaumaris. I…I just don’t know where to begin. The way this story is worded is amazing. I had to read it several times. He’s practically invented a new language. It is ludicrous and brilliant. Adam has turned out to be a bit of a dark horse, as soon as I think I’ve got his number, he does something totally surprising. Surely the mark of a very talented writer.