Emporium Digested at Arkham…

Posted: April 29, 2013 by douglasthompson in An Emporium of Automata, News, Reviews
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Just Steel has reviewed D.P Watt’s An Emporium of Automata at The Arkham Digest website. Justin writes:

“When I reviewed Shadows Edge, I noted how much I enjoyed D.P. Watt’s story, and said that I wanted to read more of his work. As luck would have it, Eibonvale Press recently printed an expanded reprint of his hard to find first collection, An Emporium of Automata. Watt’s background in theater is apparent in his stories, and his unique, eloquent voice lends an ethereal beauty to his fiction…

…Mr. Watt’s fiction puts one in mind of decaying Europe cities. Bizarre, archaic secrets hide behind the facade of fringe theater, puppetry, and mechanical toys. The language is reminiscent of older theater, poetic, and at times using words that have an eccentric, archaic feel to them. This itself is present in the titles of the stories (which are wonderful): Erbach’s Emporium of Automata, Dr. Dapertutto’s Saturnalia, Of Those Who Follow Emile Bilonche, Archaic Artificial Suns, and Pulvaris Lunaris or The Coagulation of Wood just to name a few. Almost every single story in this book is deep enough for the reader to benefit from re-reads…

…The first section, Phantasmagorical Instruments, features eight weird tales, each one a pleasure to read. Although it’s hard to choose favorites from this section, as all eight stories are great, there are some I enjoyed even more than others. In Erbach’s Emporium of Automata a man recounts his childhood memories of a mysterious arcade of mechanical toys that opened in his seaside town. Of Those Who Follow Emile Bilonche features a crazed narrator obsessed with the works of Emile Bilonche. They Dwell in Ystumtuen looks at a small excerpt from a history book about a woman’s hanging, and then takes readers to see the history behind it which involves fairies and sacrifice. It’s a sad, beautiful story. The Butcher’s Daughter features a couple who moves into the house of a recently deceased 110 year old woman. After a startling discovery in the woodshed, the couple starts to uncover the woman’s disturbing secrets. Room 89 follows a grumpy, misanthropic man on holiday in a mysterious hotel. The story blends humor and scares for a particularly effective weird tale. Dr. Dapertutto’s Saturnalia sees an inspector (in Russia or some Eastern European country) drawn into investigating a film reel sent to him by a mysterious “entertainer”, and makes for one of the best stories in the book…

…This collection offers much to weird fiction connoisseurs, and up until now was only available as an expensive, hard to find hardcover. Watt’s collection appeals to the curious child in all of us; the macabre mysteries within shot through with a melancholy, captivating beauty.”

Our hearty thanks to Justin for this very in-depth review, and please do check it out in full at the Arkham website.

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