The July 2014 publication WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY FINE by Daryl Gregory is one of the nominees in the Novella category for this year’s Shirley Jackson Awards nominations, and comes fairly well garlanded already with recommendations and plaudits. Are they justified? The answer is a polite “FUCK yeah!”
The narrative alternates tone from darkly comic to just plain dark extremely well, and ramps up the gears as it goes on from sedentary stroll through the characters’ solitary gardens to full nitro-fueled denouement. Bear in mind, though, that this is definitely a novella. In the paperback version, it comes out at 192 pages, but I read it through in just over an hour. Because I couldn’t put it down. Readers are not going to feel short-changed. Thomas Ligotti remarked perceptively once on how apt the novella form is for film treatment, and this would make a particularly propulsive and gripping horror movie. And Daryl Gregory is an established enough author that some studio may have already optioned the film rights. I certainly hope so, because I can’t wait.
Does Daryl Gregory pull his punches very slightly and wind up the tale without exploiting the full potential of his material? Well, there’s the faintest hint of, as one of the characters says, “something big coming.” That presumably is HARRISON SQUARED, this March’s very-full-length sort-of-prequel from Tor Books, and definitely now one for my must-review list, which stars Harrison Harrison the Monster Hunter, one of the chief characters from this book and the closest it comes to a hero. WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY FINE does work just fine as a standalone, though. Grab it. Just don’t be surprised if you need therapy afterwards.
Read the rest of Mackintosh’s review at TELEREAD.
For information on WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY FINE, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover design by Elizabeth Story.