I’m sort of in love with indie author, Copper Sloane Levy. His voice is lyrical, lush, and sensuous. His narrative, quiet and atmospheric, his characters, saturated in grime and sumptuous noir… Oh, yes, I’ve got it pretty bad for the guy. While lazily surfing the net in my hotel room two weeks ago, I discovered Levy’s website and half-heartedly clicked on his short stories, An Imitable Thirst (originally published by Fiddleback.) But I wasn’t expecting to fall in love. Who really does? And just how did I find myself in a hotel room, awaiting Levy’s anonymous appearance? Well, I was invited as a guest author to Necronomicon, an annual Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror convention. Frickin’ Christopher Paolini was there. It was my first convention (both as a professional and visitor) and after enduring more than 3 days of mind-numbing panels and senseless dick measuring from other small-press publishers and authors, I needed a break.
And there it was in the form of a Lovecraftian horror story. And oh, how sweet it was!
Levy writes beautifully. The author dumped a truckload of suspense into a very small package—and yet the execution was flawless. The relentless, slow creeping tension is delightful. There were times I felt constricted by its weight. Levy stays true to old-fashioned Lovecraftian storytelling, never revealing what is madness and what is reality. The narrator’s growing paranoia over his wife creates doubt about what is really going on. Is there an alien fetus growing inside her? Or is the delusional narrator reading too much into what he might’ve seen on his wife’s tablet?
I won’t spoil the ending by saying too much. After all, wading through the narrator’s existential crisis is half the fun here. All I will say is that the ride to the end is intense—there are tentacles, sexualized spousal abuse, (ahem, the wife turns into a possessed MMA fighter from another dimension and knocks the narrator out in one mind-bending scene) and interesting contemplations about love and marriage as a whole. In a weird way, the whole thing works.
I remember my unsettled reaction after I had finished reading “An Imitable Thirst.” Somewhere in my mind, I had also stumbled into a portal to the unknown. I was in a strange hotel, surrounded by strange colleagues, and I suppose it was the “strangeness” of Levy’s tale that I related to. His story was about cosmic horrors and relationships, but I also felt it was a bit about me, too. Right place. Right time. 5/5 stars for this contemporary Lovecraftian gem.