The Envious Nothing: A Collection of Literary Ruin by Curtis M. Lawson
Paperback – Hippocampus Press – 2022 – 260 pages
Over the past decade Curtis M. Lawson has emerged as one of the most dynamic and vibrant voices in contemporary weird fiction. Gifted with a prose style of admirable fluency and evocativeness, Lawson also reveals a broad range in subject-matter, extending from tales of science fiction to tales of psychological terror.
In this new collection, such stories as “You and I and the Envious Nothing” and “A Grave at the End of the World” explore cosmic horror in its most quintessential sense. Conversely, “Everything Smells Like Smoke Again” and “The Green Man of Freetown” display horror in the most intimate of relationships, while in “Orphan” unthinkable horror comes to a punk rocker performing in a rundown Midwestern town.
Lawson is deft at innovative treatments of age-old motifs. “The Rye Mother” presents a new take on Halloween; “Elvis and Isolde” evokes the transmigration of souls; and “The Truth about Vampires” melds psychological and supernatural horror. Most impressive of all is an unpublished novella, “Beneath the Emerald Sky,” set in Iceland and summoning up hideous vistas of strangeness from myth and legend.
Throughout his work, Curtis M. Lawson exhibits a sensitivity to his characters’ fluctuating emotional states that lifts his work far above mere shudder-coining. And this volume is also sprinkled with poignant poems that translate weirdness into metrical form. No reader of the contemporary weird tale can afford to be without this book.