“pure pleasure and literary excellence” – review of Mirrors in the Deluge on Risingshadow

The Risingshadow.net website is not only one of the largest science fiction and fantasy book databases full of detailed book information, but also hosts well-written and absorbing reviews of many of those books. Their latest review, by Seregil of Rhiminee, is of Mirrors in the Deluge our new collection of 32 short stories by Rhys Hughes. Seregil describes Rhys as “one of the most imaginative authors ever to grace the field of speculative fiction” adding that his “stories have an enormous amount of originality, style and unpredictability”.

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

He starts by saying that “Mirrors in the Deluge is clearly one of his best books” and that “all the stories in it are excellent” going on to say they are “imaginative and well written, and they contain elements of fantasy, science fiction and horror. There’s a delightfully quirky and twisted edge to many of these stories that will charm readers”. He adds that it’s “easy for me to praise this collection” because it’s “delightfully different” and says that he “was very impressed by this collection and its diverse contents”.

Seregil then lists all 32 stories in the collection, with a brief outline of each (no spoilers, don’t worry!) followed by his own comments on some of them. I’ll quote some of his comments here, but you really must read the full review for all of them.

The Soft Landing is my personal favourite of the whole collection, and Seregil says it “is one of the most intriguing and brilliant science fiction stories I’ve ever read” adding that Rhys “is one of the few authors who have the ability to make this kind of a story work well and be of interest to readers”.

The Fairy and the Dinosaur”, says Seregil, “is a story that is impossible to forget once you’ve read it. In my opinion, this fascinating story about a fairy who travels back in time to eat a plum is one of the best and most entertaining stories the author has ever written.”

Vanity of Vanities is one of the most memorable stories in this collection”, says Seregil. A story about the internet achieving consciousness and taking over the world, but he adds “What the internet does will be quite a surprise for readers, because its actions are not what one might expect them to be.”

The Taste of Turtle Tears about butterflies who drink tears to get salt “is an excellent short story that will please readers who love beautifully written stories. This story is so enchanting that it’s almost like a fairy tale.”

Seregil says that Rhys Hughes is “an excellent author of short stories. He has an ability to create beautiful and mind-boggling stories that stimulate the reader’s imagination.” “Although many of his stories are short” he says, “there’s a wealth of depth in them.” He says that there are “no limits to his imagination”, he “can write about anything”, and “doesn’t shy away from difficult and weird material. Nothing is too weird for Rhys Hughes, because he boldly embraces the odd and produces intriguing speculative fiction that fascinates and thrills his readers (this collection has plenty of charming weirdness in it)”.

Seregil warns readers of these stories to “be prepared to be amazed, charmed, stunned and also shocked by what you’re about to read. You won’t find anything normal in these stories or if you do, you’ll find out that the author can easily twist the story into a totally new and exciting direction.”

He also praises Rhys’ way with words, saying that he’s “able to play with words in a genuinely funny way. For example, the titles of these stories are wonderfully creative”. He says that many of these stories “have been written so beautifully that at times you’ll feel almost like you’re reading weird fairy tales for adults.” Seregil says that Rhys is “one of the few authors who are capable of spicing their stories with fascinatingly absurd and brilliantly humorous elements” while being both “fashionable and original”.

His recommendation is to read Mirrors in the Deluge “as soon as possible. It offers good entertainment, thought-provoking moments, plenty of surprises and beautiful prose in one package.” His final summary is “This short story collection offers 200 pages of pure pleasure and literary excellence for quality oriented readers.”

Read Seregil’s full review here.