Friday, January 20, 2012

The Useless - Dominy Clements

As in the opening tale, Dominy Clements explores the idea of a text spreading or infecting those that come into contact with it, willingly or otherwise. Daniel Ausema’s story similarly employs the image of the severed tree to paint a larger canvas, a synecdoche of the condition of the surrounding landscape. This tale incorporates both of these elements whilst raising questions as to the reliability of the narrator’s perceptions. Dominy Clements’s main character, the wife of a university lecturer, finds herself stranded alone in the desert after she and her husband’s car has run out of gas. In a memorable early scene where she awaits her husband’s return on foot from a nearby gas station, her eyes fall upon a strange figure lying on the side of the road. ‘For some reason, my brain has been accepting that everything is as normal as the situation allows, and I fall back into a more relaxed state on seeing the return of my better half.’ The better half however turns out not to be her husband but a stranger, a man who introduces himself as Bob. Her husband he informs her, is unwell, and waiting for her in the nearby town. Revealing more of the story would spoil any surprises. The tale has a nice twist, and several memorable weird scenes. It also provides an additional interesting variation on the relationship between the body and text, and those perceptions that bind them.


The Useless by Dominy Clements starts out as a cliche, a breakdown in the dusty west, but soon moves beyond that into a nightmarish exploration of the power of words


"The events described are weird and disturbing,..." (Black Static #25 - TTA Press) 
Any further reviews after 20 Jan 12 will appear in the comments below.

My own views:
“Can you recall the lasting effect of the most deeply disturbing collection of horror stories you’ve ever encountered? The narratives join hands…” — From THE USELESS by Dominy Clements