Review by Sereghil of Rhiminee

ISMs Press/Lulu
ISBN: 978-1326709815
124 pp.
£4.99 from Amazon

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Dreamglass Days is a treasure trove of dark literary speculative fiction for those who love dark fiction. It's an astonishing collection, because each of the stories is something special and gives readers something to think about.

I discovered Mark Howard Jones in the excellent Creeping Crawlers anthology (edited by Allen Ashley), because it contained one of his stories, 'For the Love of Insects'. Because I was deeply impressed by it, I became interested in the author's fiction and wanted to read more of his stories. I'm glad that I had an opportunity to read and review this collection, because it's one of the best collections I've ever had the pleasure of reading.

Dreamglass Days is everything that I expect from literary speculative fiction. It contains beautifully written and imaginative stories that have originality, style and substance. It has all the necessary elements that are needed to impress a quality-oriented reader. I'm personally a devoted reader of this kind fiction, because there's nothing better and more rewarding that reading stories that delight you with their originality, atmosphere and depth.

This short story collection contains the following stories:

- Fallen Star
- Love Box
- Dark in the Shot
- Pig on the Beach
- The Condition
- From the East
- The First Hours of the Full Moon
- Bitterbloom
- A Million Miles of Rain
- Karas d'carcasse
- Wunderkind
- Sustenance
- All the Fun of the Unfair
- Corpus Deliciosum
- In an Ancient Embrace
- Put on the Mask
- Against the Grain
- The Circus of Automatic Dreams

The first seventeen stories were originally published in the Manchester-based literary magazine 'Sein und Werden', which was created by Rachel Kendall. The final story, 'The Circus of Automatic Dreams', is original to this collection. These stories have been arranged in chronological order by the author.

These exquisitely beautiful and atmospheric stories can best be classified as literary dark fiction. They've been infused and spliced with elements of surrealism, absurdism, science fiction, weird fiction and dark humour.

These stories lure readers into a world where reality blends with weirdness and an alluringly dream-like atmosphere. It's great that many of these stories feature absurdism and surrealism, because it adds a nice touch of strangeness to them. When you read them, you get a feeling that things are not quite right and something unsettling is about to happen or it has already happened.

There was something in this collection that reminded me of Rhys Hughes, Clive Barker, Douglas Thompson, Allen Ashley and Brendan Connell. The author has a slightly similar kind of way of examining and exploring various themes and issues as they have, but he has his own unique writing style, the development of which can be seen in the chronologically ordered stories.

Many of these stories have a deeply melancholy and wistful feel to them that I found irresistible. The author writes perfectly about feelings related to loss, loneliness and yearning, because he doesn't dwell on them, but creates a realistic sense of something lost.

I like the way Mark Howard Jones writes about sex, passion and everything that is related to human sexuality. He dares to explore and examine sexuality openly, which makes some of his stories captivatingly erotic.

The author has a surprisingly wide range of imagination, because his stories range from weird fiction to science fiction. He's equally at home at post-war conditions as he is at complex relationships.The author's literary prose is beautiful and evocative. I consider him to be one of the best authors of literary speculative fiction, because he has an ability to immerse his readers into his stories. No matter how long or short his stories are, you'll find yourself immersed in them.

I'm sure that there are many readers out there who agree with me when I say that we need more this kind of speculative fiction, because it stimulates our imagination and satisfies our need for the weird. I sincerely hope that Mark Howard Jones will continue to write this kind of fiction, because he has a talent for writing atmospheric and thought-provoking stories with a good amount of weirdness.

If you're in need of excellent and beautifully literary dark fiction, I advise you to take a look at Mark Howard Jones' Dreamglass Days. It has a lot to offer for those who love literary speculative fiction and appreciate the finer points of nuanced storytelling. It's a must-read collection for readers who love quality stories and want to be intrigued and surprised by what they read. Highly recommended!