Nov. 22nd, 2012

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I discovered by accident a couple of days ago that my story "Only One Ghost", which appeared in the 2010 Peter Crowther/Nick Gevers anthology The Company He Keeps, got a jolly friendly review at the time from none other than Locus's estimable reviewer Lois Tilton. Here's what she says:

Richard suddenly finds that all his books have his own signature written in them, in faded ink that is older than he is. The discovery seriously unnerves him. His wife Lynda minimizes the situation until she sees that her books now have her own signature in them as well.

Only old dip pens and fountain pens had those bifurcated nibs. Perhaps lawyers still used them. No ordinary human beings ever did — we used rollerballs and ballpoints and gels. Pens that had not been in widespread use, if invented at all, when Lynda’s books were signed, to judge by the fading of the ink…

Here is a bit of strangeness that remains unexplained, although the narrator proposes a number of possible theories. Seemingly a small thing, yet it shakes their sense of self and threatens to undermine their relationship with each other. It is a bibliophile’s story, and a large part of the enjoyment is in going through the bookshelves, full of nineteenth-century novels, that mean so much to these characters. Very nicely done.
I was, of course, completely calm about this -- no running around the house telling the long-suffering Pam that a reviewer had spotted exactly what the story was about. Instead I was just, you know, like, cool. Discovering good reviews you never knew you had is one of the great pleasures all those dumb self-help books never mention.

Today's my birthday; it's been declared a public holiday. And I got a good review. Pope Benny, Ross Douthat and various others have made idiots of themselves. A friend said I got an early birthday present a couple of weeks ago and shared it with the rest of the American people. My Thanksgiving blessings are counted.

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