David Rix's What the Giants Were Saying was published by Eibonvale Press in 2008.
Information about David Rix:
David Rix, was born in England in 1978. He has had a lifelong fascination with horror and the surreal and has been a dedicated reader and collector of books for several years. In 2004 his first story was published in the World Fantasy Award-winning anthology Strange Tales from Tartarus Press.
Information about What the Giants Were Saying:
The November air was cold, but not cold enough to still the energy of the great white towers. They spun and spun as always – huge sails whirling around, always seeming just slightly faster than they should be.
What the Giants were Saying is a dark-hued and surreal fable on the theme of creativity. It is an extreme horror tale of artist's block, tattoos, Don Quixote, copper wire... and wind turbines! Always wind turbines! It tells of a landscape artist desperately trying to escape his own feelings of mundanity and having hallucinatory encounters both with those great white whispering giants and a wild tattooed girl who pushes creative experience to the very limit and knows that the towers are the key to something remarkable. Tattoos, Windmills, turbines, human skin and copper wire... with these keys a world of supernatural change is unlocked – and supernatural creation. After all, what could creativity be like when such things as pain, life and death no longer have the same meaning?
It's simply a choice between one life and another.
* * *
Cal pinned the tattooed girl's skin to the small artist's canvas and stood looking at it, a tear trickling down his cheek.
What the Giants Were Saying is accompanied here by the shorter work that inspired it, Red Fire, a piece that pushes the boundaries of extreme horror into a visionary and surreal world of love and pain, great white moths and tattooed skin, and above all, into the world of story itself.
I cannot see any more – and you want me to read you?
These two connected tales are both horror writing at its most spectacular and extreme.
A REVIEW OF DAVID RIX'S WHAT THE GIANTS WERE SAYING
David Rix's debut book, What the Giants Were Saying, is an unforgettable mini-collection for adult readers who appreciate originality, surrealism and explicit horror fiction. The stories in this collection are rewarding and thought-provoking reading experiences that will intrigue and shock many readers with their strangeness and explicitness.
What the Giants Were Saying is something different and unique. It may not be to everyone's liking because of its disturbing and explicit contents, but readers, who are used to reading weird horror stories and are fascinated by well written stories that differ from what's become the norm for horror fiction, will most likely enjoy it very much. Because I enjoy reading horror fiction, I was personally very impressed by this collection and the author's imagination.
I think it's good to mention separately that this collection contains disturbing and explicit scenes that may unsettle sensitive readers, so it's not for the squeamish. The stories in this collection are a unique combination of weird fantasy elements, surrealism and extreme horror. They feature strong and shocking horror elements involving body horror, body modification and mutilation.
What the Giants Were Saying consists of the following two stories:
- What the Giants Were Saying
- Red Fire
"What the Giants Were Saying" is a story about Don who is a landscape artist. He thinks that his paintings are boring and is a bit depressed (he has no desire and creativity left in him). One day when he is driving home, he receives a phone call from his girlfriend Jacki and has a car crash. This is the first significant event that happens to him. The second one is his meeting of the mysterious and tattooed Feather, because his life begins to change when he meets her.
Feather liberates Don from his normal life that has dulled his creativity. She nurtures his creativity and brings it out in him, because she shows him new ways to think and feel. She leads him down a path that sets him free of his restraints and conventional thinking. As a result, Don begins to explore his creativity in a whole new way. His art becomes terrifyingly weird, because it pushes the boundaries of what is accepted and goes beyond those boundaries.
It was intriguing for me to read about how Don was intrigued and inspired by the great wind turbines, the giants, in the wind farm. They whispered to him and he had visions about them. Feather also experienced their presence and seemed to know that they were a key to something important.
I found it interesting that David Rix explored the creation process of art, because it's something that has seldom been explored in speculative fiction in such a detailed way. There are authors who have written stories about art and artists, but stories like this one, in which the author pays attention to how art is created, are unfortunately rare and difficult to find.
The sections in which Jacki tells about the happenings from her point of view are intriguing, because they reveal how Don seems to have lost his sanity. Jacki's responses to the questions were interesting, because they indicated that something disturbing had happened to Don.
David Rix plays nicely with the idea of what's real and what's not, because Don has hallucinatory meetings with the tattooed Feather and the great white giants that whisper to him. When he seemingly begins to lose his grip on reality and experiences strange things, the readers are led into his strange world and state of mind in a thrilling way.
The supernatural elements add a fantastic level of weirdness the story. They're an important part of the change that is happening to Don. His awakening to creativity is a strange process.
The author writes fluently about emotions and problematic relationships. The relationship between Don and Jacki is not an easy relationship, but it defines Don's life and art in a way that affects him. When Don meets Feather, his life begins to change, as does his art and he begins to free himself of Jacki and gradually discards everything that he used to be (he becomes a new man).
This story has been balanced well and it has a rhythm of its own. If you're a bit inexperienced with speculative fiction or haven't read much modern fiction, it may probably take a while for you to get used to the author's writing style, but once you do, you'll enjoy the story. I personally enjoyed his visual writing style, because he described each scene perfectly and showed his readers what happens and how far the characters go to find what they're looking for.
When you think about the contents of this story, you'll notice that David Rix asks what art is and what is allowed to do in the name of art. He writes boldly about strange and unsettling acts that liberate Don's feelings and unleash his creativity. He leads his readers to a world in which art has become extremely intimate and sensual in a deeply unsettling way.
"Red Fire" is the story that inspired the author to write "What the Giants Were Saying". It's a story about Cal and Feather, and also about love, pain and moths.
"Red Fire" is an opposite of "What the Giants Were Saying", because it differs from it. In "What the Giants Were Saying" Don finds his creativity when Feather shows and teaches him new things, but in "Red Fire" Cal is causes pain to Feather and wants to open a doorway in her. In other words, "What the Giants Were Saying" is a story about art's creative force while "Red Fire" is a shocking story about art's destructive force. This is the main different between these stories, but there are also other differences.
In my opinion, "Red Fire" is one of the finest and most intriguing modern horror stories available for horror readers. It boldly differs from normal stories, because the author dares to address disturbing themes and insanity in an uninhibited way. Its raw explicitness is refreshing in its brutality and surrealism, because you seldom have an opportunity to read this kind of extreme horror stories that strongly mold and push the boundaries of horror fiction to new directions.
David Rix has an extraordinary sense of eeriness and grotesqueness that manifests itself in many ways in "What the Giants Were Saying" and "Red Fire". He displays gorgeously weird and unsettling visions to his readers by writing unflinchingly about the brutalities and terrifying acts that the characters do to each other. Because I've always been fascinated by strange and unsettling horror stories in which authors dare to go beyond the boundaries of normality, I was positively surprised by both stories and their unsettling atmosphere.
In my opinion, What the Giants Were Saying broadens and pushes the boundaries of modern horror to fascinatingly disturbing yet intriguing directions. The bold and totally uninhibited exploration of eroticism, tattoos, body modification, mutilation and lust reminded me a bit of certain explicit stories written by Clive Barker, but there's also a touch of J. G. Ballard and David Cronenberg in these stories. I'll also mention that there was something fascinatingly unsettling in these stories that reminded me slightly of "The Maker of Fine Instruments" by Brendan Connell.
David Rix's descriptions of body modification and mutilation are very effective in their terrifying weirdness and they create an unsettling atmosphere that will haunt the readers long after the final page has been read. He delves deep into a territory that is often left unexplored in horror stories and explores it with enthusiasm and intellect. I'm sure that horror readers who are familiar with the works of Clive Barker will enjoy these stories, because David Rix has the same kind of sense of style and depth as Barker. He writes about flesh and skin and their changes and transformations in a similar way as Barker.
It's nice that the author dares to shock his readers with psychologically challenging scenes in which the characters are pushed to their limits and explore their feelings, because these scenes are excellent. What makes these scenes work so well is that the author shows many things to his readers, but doesn't give easy and clear answers to what's going on and lets his readers assume certain things.
It was nice to see Feather mentioned on the pages of this mini-collection, because I've been fascinated by her existence ever since I read David Rix's excellent Feather, which was published in 2011. I think that everyone who has read Feather will be thrilled to read about her in this mini-collection. (I assume that the girl mentioned in these stories in the same Feather as in the book.)
It was interesting to read What the Giants Were Saying, because it showed how much creativity and imagination David Rix has and what kind of extreme horror fiction he can write. He has developed a lot as an author over the years, but this collection showcases his writing ablities at an early stage. It was nice to see that he has plenty of imagination and he is not afraid to use it.
I look forward to reading more stories from David Rix, because he's one of the most talented authors of speculative fiction that have emerged during the recent years. He belongs to the same league of quality authors as Brendan Connell, Douglas Thompson, Nina Allan, Alexander Zelenyj, Quentin S. Crisp etc.
I highly recommend this mini-collection to readers who enjoy reading modern horror and the darker side of speculative fiction, because the author's enthusiastic approach to difficult themes and issues is so fresh and exciting that you can't help but be impressed by it. I was positively impressed by the the author's exploration of art, life and extreme experiences, because it's been a while since I've read anything like this.
What the Giants Were Saying is an excellent collection of two connected stories. It offers a fascinatingly skewed and disturbing glimpse into life, relationships, art and creativity. Both stories in this collection are modern horror at its utmost imaginative and weirdest. If you enjoy reading thought-provoking modern horror stories, please take a look at this collection, because you'll be intrigued and shocked by its contents.