Mirrors in the Deluge is a collection of 32 unrelated stories that take elements from fantasy, science fiction, horror and other genres and give them a lateral shift. Like much of Rhys’ work these quirky tales between them encompass parody, pastiche and puns. The fun, as ever, starts with the title of each story – gently leading an unsuspecting reader into preconceived ideas and expectations; expectations that are soon spun around, turned on their head (or other extremities), and pushed in an unexpected direction. Thus, even a saunter through the contents page is already a hugely entertaining experience and one more akin to savouring the hors d’oeuvres of a grand banquet than consulting a list of shortcuts into a literary tome. In fact, the gastronomic metaphor serves us well here; the courses on offer range from tantalising tuck to a foody’s feast, but never mere vittles – perhaps the way to enjoy this book is to digest one story, three times a day (four if you’re a halfling who needs second breakfast), rather than trying to gorge on all the available delights and delicacies at one sitting. To complete this gourmet’s guide, a tempting sampling of the stories must include: The Soft Landing, a unique story told from the perspective of a photon; Travels with my Antinomy, how do you solve a paradox when you’re part of it?; Vanity of Vanities, the internet achieves consciousness and takes over, but with very different consequences from those you might imagine; The Fairy and the Dinosaur, in which a fairy can’t find what she wants for her picnic in the goblin market, is offered cloned prehistoric plums but turns to a time-travelling robot to go back to the age of the dinosaurs and eat an original plum. Other titles to tempt you include The Prodigal Beard, A Dame Abroad, The Unkissed Artist Formerly Known as Frog, The Goat That Gloated, The Taste of Turtle Tears, The Bones of Jones, and The Haggis Eater.
Rhys Henry Hughes (born 1966) is a Welsh writer and essayist.
Born in Cardiff, Hughes is a prolific short story writer with an eclectic mix of influences, which include Italo Calvino, Milorad Pavić, Jorge Luis Borges, Stanisław Lem, Flann O'Brien, Felipe Alfau, Donald Barthelme and Jack Vance. Much of his work is of a humorously eccentric bent, often parodies and pastiches with surreal and absurdist overtones, although he is by no means limited to any of these forms and has proven to be extremely versatile. He has been published in Postscripts among many other places.