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Gumbywan

Randolph "Dilda" Carter

A rant about books, horror, and the weird.  I sometimes take on my love/hate relationship with goodreads and Amazon.

Currently reading

Perchance to Dream: Selected Stories
Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, William Shatner
Progress: 140/336 pages
Pavane
Keith Roberts

Doll Maker

The Doll Maker and other Tales of the Uncanny - Sarban, John William Wall This volume was definitely better than the Ringstones volume. I took it from the Afterword that these were the last things Sarban ever wrote, much to our loss. As such it has the touches of a more mature writer. Note however, all of Sarban's writing is crafted by a very talented writer and all of it should be read. The story itself is way creepier than Ringstones and we really become anxious about Clare's plight as things about the Sterne family, mother and son, don't appear to be quite right and Niall becomes a bigger part of Clare's story. The element of the overtly supernatural, as it is in all Sarban's stories, is introduced rather abruptly with the puppet show. We've been waiting for this for awhile, wondering what it will consist of, and its weirdness doesn't disappoint. From that point forward in the story we are certain that things are not going to be alright for Clare and she is pretty much out there by herself. Clare finally realizes her situation and the suspense continues to build as we wonder, along with Clare, how she is going to deal with the situation and get herself out of life threatening peril.The suspense really builds in three phases. First we are anticipating the puppet show. There have been enough hints that things are not quite right and we rightly assume this is going to be a turning point. It is, but only really for the reader. Next we begin to fret about when Clare is going to wise-up (or if she will) and realize that there is real menace here. Niall already has a lot of control over things by this point. Once she becomes ill and realizes what is going on, we agonize over how or even if she is going to get out of this alive and intact, all on her own (nobody is going to believe her story).I would say the ending is a little bit of a letdown. Escaping ends up being just too easy and goes flawlessly for Clare.The characters are great. We really relate to Clare and Niall is truly creepy, but not at first. Women may balk a bit at the story since it turns out to be a typical women menaced by a man story, but I thought Clare was drawn as a fairly independent character although naive, very intelligent, she just hates where she is that and lacks the confidence to get out of it. The things that happen are going to force her to mature and take control of her life in a hurry, if she has the strength, to overcome the evil and enslavement that has occurred. She is ultimately more than a survivor and although her innocence is gone, we feel like this experience has made her a stronger, more self confident, and even happier person.The other two short stories are great as well. The Trespassers being the stronger of the two and visiting some of the same themes explored in Ringstones. A House of Call was a good old-fashioned ghost story.