1961. Badger Books.
This has been on my bookshelf for decades.
The cover is an absolute classic. A giant beaver threatens a cowering couple. The cover, almost alone, is why this book fetches extremely high second-hand prices. Amazon currently has only one copy, with an asking price of NZ$445. I read a review (more of a summary of the story) where the guy had paid US$180 for it.
The plot signals a weakness in that the writer didn’t think the idea of a factory blelching nuclear-contaminated waste into a river, mutating the beavers into gigantic size, was enough. They felt it was necessary for the beavers to have Extra Sensory Perception, with the power of instanteneous teleportation.
The plot isn’t enough, so Bron Fane (Lionel Fanthorpe) has to pad it out with tortuously added digressions. For example, chaper 11 – Attack! – opens with the victims-to-be, men in a canal barge – spending pages telling each other about the history of barges. After all that, they’re dispatched by a beaver in a paragraph or two.
The writing is flat. Multiple chapers start with formula of who is in the room: Chapter 12 “Broghan, Sinclair, Colrayn and the miricale boy were comfortably installed in Colrayn’s living room.” and Chapter 10: “Broghan, Barney, Colrayn and Eddie Sinclauir were talking to the hospital superintendent.”
To be truthful, I’m not reading it. I stopped after Chapter 12. I started reading it for the so bad it’s good fun, but there was no charm. It was merely lame. I collect pulp fiction, but this one I’d be prepared to sell – I’d be satisifed at half the going rate on Amazon!
The Urge has been nominated for Best Short Story in the Sir Julius Vogel Awards 2017.
If you’d like to support this properly strange story, please click a couple of times on this online form to enter a support nomination.
Crumbs of rock
Casts me forth
At the edge
I got through childhood silent.
Despite everything, I had nothing to say.
Now I do.
There are two threads to tell of;
Dark normal – black tales of the place and people I came from. Everyday struggles.
Fantastic – black tales of things I’ve seen, that you’ve not even imagined.