By Stephen Dixon
Stephen Dixon's tales and novels have an unique, instantly recognizable sound and believe –a bizarre mix of Franz Kafka and Frank Capra. Readers of his prior paintings will locate in 14 Stories that very same wry, artistic, knife-edged humor that has come to represent his specific type. With an adroit use of language and a prepared eye for the quirky, offbeat part of human nature, Dixon creates a global as seen via a fish-eye lens–slightly distorted and off-center, but recognizable and infrequently familiar.
14 Stories is a component comedy, half tragedy, half social remark and half spoof. yet so much of all it's a hugely wonderful sequence of all-too-plausible vignettes that exhibits off Stephen Dixon's amazing expertise at its top.
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Rowenna closed her eyes. What did the alien mean? Poison? Virus? She could hear Julie's breathing, fast and hoarse. A faint moan of pain. Suddenly Rowenna realised why Julie was so afraid. It had already started: she was sick, in pain. ' Rowenna's own voice surprised her. 'This is crazy. You have to stop it, whatever it is. ' The fingers moved on the keyboard. Julie moaned again, a stifled, terrified, sound. 'No,' came the reply at last. 'There is only a way you can die with us. All of you, with all of us.
Sam wondered how much information was on a single page. 'Colours set the framework, taste is used to convey specific events,' commented the Doctor after a while. ' 'Must be a pretty good system then,' said Sam, as usual refusing to be fazed. But two million years? How long had the Tractites been here? It was beginning to look as if, in this universe, the human race had simply never existed. She glanced at the Doctor, hoping he would say something more about the Tractites' apparent antiquity, but he was still sniffing the book and talking about language.
No – something more than metal. Meat. Cooked meat – no, cooked flesh. Burnt flesh. Corpses rotting, orange worms burrowing in it, bodies piled high against a wall – Sam recoiled, feeling sick. She could see why the Doctor hadn't wanted her to know about this. It wasn't going to be pleasant. The worst aspect was that she seemed to be actually experiencing what she tasted, rather than simply reading words. But she had to find out. She screwed up her courage, took another taste – A city, drowned in a cold blue-white glare.