Review of Spare Parts from Philip K Dick Award-winning novelist Simon Morden.
Stuart Young’s Spare Parts dwell on the fantastic which grows from the ordinary: if this wasn’t genre, posh reviewers in mainstream magazines would call it magical realism. Young serves up six stories -atmospherically illustrated by Bob Covington and Dave Bezzina – on the theme of love and loss, and the quiet desperation of ordinary lives suddenly transformed by accidental magic.
"Boxes" is about memory: Peter is ditched by girlfriend Elaine for a newer model, and all he’s left with are his memories. An experimental drug leaves him with total recall, but being able to remember everything he’s ever seen or said or done has a catastrophic effect on his sanity. "Midnight in a Perfect World" is a classic story of destructive co-dependency, made possible by a mantelpiece clock that is able to keep a relationship new and exciting, just so long as the hands on the face are set right. "Spirits of Darkness and Light" is a ghost story – a dead Royal Flying Corps pilot appears to a colleague, asking him to finish what he started. But just what is the ghost’s mission? When the life expectancy of a new pilot is measured in minutes, taking deliberate risks is the kiss of death. "Swamp Gator Blues", "Face at the Window" and the title story "Spare Parts" complete the collection – not quite as strong as the other three, but still fine stories in their own right. Perhaps Young has yet to find his own unique voice, but his range and depth of storytelling is already well crafted.