Posts Tagged ‘An Emporium of Automata’

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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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The very first review is just in of Eibonvale’s edition of D.P.Watt’s ‘An Emporium Of Automata’. The Speculative Fiction Junkie wesbite have named the book as one of its TOP FIVE READS OF 2012(!) and praised the book in glowing terms as follows:

“… D.P. Watt’s stunningly excellent collection An Emporium of Automata… I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give this collection the review it deserves.

These stories make clear that Mr. Watt is a master storyteller in every sense of the word, but–as you should expect by now–there is actually more going on here than simple storytelling. Consider a story like “They Dwell in Ystumtuen.” It begins with a bored and distracted historian trying to recall the details of a public hanging that took place in 19th century Britain. But this image is then juxtaposed with the heart-wrenchingly tragic and brutally violent story of what actually happened to the person who was hanged. The contrast couldn’t be clearer and Mr. Watt states it plainly:

‘Imagine, if you can, dear reader (mindful, kind or otherwise) the infinite neglect of history by the historian. Imagine the millions of lives heaping up, untold, forgotten, yet undead in the graveyard of memory; begging, or praying, with skeletal hands to be brought back to mind, if only for an instant.’

This is as concise and as beautifully written a statement as one can find of a theme that seems to be a near obsession of Mr. Watt’s, which is the overwhelming weight of the absent mass of humanity that has been lost over the ages.

…This preoccupation with not just the humanity before us but with all of the individual humans who are absent is, I believe, at the root of several of the other strengths of Mr. Watt’s work, including the extreme beauty of his prose and the way that his narrators directly address the reader. While these traits obviously owe a debt to the author’s roots in the theater, their real impetus is the urgency that results from the dizzying work of confronting such a terrible vision.

An Emporium of Automata is a truly landmark collection and is as rich a treasure as literature is capable of producing.”

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Well – here’s the first glimpse of An Emporium of Automata by D P Watt. These will also be shipping soon to everyone who got a pre-order placed. There are still a few copies available of this title that will be specially ‘lettered’ and personalised by the author.  When the pre-order period closes in a few days, these will no longer be available so don’t delay!  🙂

Click here to read more: http://www.eibonvalepress.co.uk/books/books_automata.htm