Book Book Book Book
Commentary Commentary RSS Reviews Podcasts_Audio Podcasts RSS Blog Links Archives Indexes
Paul McComas
Reviewed by: Rick Kleffel © 2011

Walkabout Publishing
US Trad Paperback First Edition
ISBN 978-1-456-56640-1
Publication Date: 01-28-2011
490 Pages ; $29.99
Date Reviewed: 04-16-2011

Index:  Science Fiction  Horror  Fantasy  General Fiction

Paul McComas is my kind of writer. 'Unforgettable,' (Walkabout Publishing ; January 28, 2011 ; $29.99) yes, but more importantly to me — Paul McComas is uncategorizable, and that is a virtue never to be underestimated. He just wants to tell stories, lots of them, and he's willing to do whatever it takes to make that story work for both himself and his reader. He not afraid to be really, really weird, but he's not stuck on it either. He might just churn out a novel like 'Planet of the Dates,' a simple, sweet and unflinching look at Those Tumultuous Teenage Years. Then again, he's also co-writing, with the iconic William F. Nolan, 'Logan's Journey.' And yes, I am talking about a new novel set in the world of 'Logan's Run.' Of course, youth is a through line between the two, and to a degree, the through line for all of McComas's work. Every day, every story is new for Paul McComas.

Let me make it clear, 'Unforgettable' has, coming out of the gate, something for everyone; screenplays, stage plays, short stories, song lyrics and giant spider-oriented excerpts from the forthcoming Logan novel; no matter where your taste runs (or leaves something to be desired), McComas has something for you. 'Unforgettable' is huge (490 pages, with illustrations and lots of verbiage from the author). It earns the hefty price tag, not just with quantity, but also with quality. McComas takes his craft seriously and his stories seriously, but not himself. This collection is pretty much wall-to-wall fun, so long as your definition of fun includes your own shed skin cells gathering themselves together to visit you.

McComas writes in every genre. In 'Unforgettable,' you'll find science fiction, fantasy and horror all represented. But he approaches them all with the same smart sensibility, combining the logical extrapolations of science fiction, the free reign of imagination in fantasy and that dark anatomical sensibility of horror. Plus, happily, lots of this collection is funny, which really helps. McComas is not trying to offer readers a slab of stories that ache with meaning and literary angst. He aims to let us have fun, and that is a welcome goal.

As I mentioned, you'll find lots of forms in here. The entertaining introduction sets up his unpretentious literary game plan. It's smart and fun to read, plus you get to see a photo of the author in Star Trek: The Next Generation costume. Fictionally, ten solo stories open the book, followed by stage plays, followed by a series of collaborations. In the solo stories, check out "The One That Got Away," a kick-ass fishing story written as a monologue. Here's a little sub-genre that really needs to get more work, and McComas steps up with a wonderfully funny story. In the collaborations, you get the aforementioned giant spiders with William F. Nolan and, with his wife, Heather McComas, "Collies in Space."

McComas also offers a bevy of screenplays. Do NOT expect The King's Speech. DO expect "Blood of the Wolfman" and "Spaceslime!" McComas even has the yarbles to offer up stories he wrote in his teenage years, as well as "Songbook Sinistre," song lyrics that make you want to hear the music. Next time, he needs to give us a CD with the book, or it's never too late for him to post some of the songs on his website. He finishes the collection with another ten stories that lean towards the short, sharp shock and joke variety. Chock-a-block with illustrations, interludes lots of author intros a la Harlan Ellison (who seems to be a muse here), Paul McComas' 'Unforgettable' lives up to its title even by virtue of the titles of some of the stories. I mean, who can forget a title like "Collies in Space"?

Review Archive
All Reviews alphabetized by author.

General Fiction
Non-Genre, general fiction and literature.

Supernatural fiction, supernatural horror and non-supernatural horror.

Science Fiction
Science fiction, science fantasy, speculative fiction, alternate history.

Fantasy, surrealism and magic realism.

Crime, thrillers, mystery, suspense.

Non-Fiction, True Crime, Forteana, Reference.


Archives Indexes How to use the Agony Column Contact Us About Us