They Do the Same Things Different There
By: Robert Shearman
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
Robert Shearman visits worlds that are unsettling and strange. Sometimes they are just like ours – except landlocked countries may disappear overnight, marriages to camels are the norm, and the dead turn into musical instruments. Sometimes they are quite alien – where children carve their own tongues from trees, and magic shows are performed to amuse the troops in the war between demons and angels. There is horror, and dreams fulfilled and squandered, and of true love. They do the same things different there.
I was introduced to Robert Shearman’s fiction a few years ago when I read and reviewed Remember Why You Fear Me (review). I really enjoyed it and had been meaning to check out more of his writings since. So yeah, I was pretty excited when I learned that this collection was released 🙂
So this collection was pretty interesting and eclectic. The worlds in which these stories inhabit in are recognisable and yet different from our own; sometimes the differences are pretty subtle or more on the supernatural side (“It Flows from the Mouth” comes to mind here). But what’s really amazing about these stories is how, despite of these strange worlds and occurrences, the core of the stories are incredibly relateable and often about relationships and the nuances about them (about new romantic relationships developing or marriages falling apart, the relationships between parents and children, etc). They can be heartbreaking at times but also hopeful.
The collection is pretty solid. There were maybe two or three stories that didn’t quite capture my interest as much as the rest, but they were still pretty good. Some were incredibly creepy (“That Tiny Flutter in the Heart”, “Mond”) and some were pretty O_O (“Taboo”, “A Joke in Four Panels” (featuring very familiar characters 😉 )). My favourites would probably be “Restoration”, “A Joke in Four Panels”, “Page Turner”, “Static”, “The Sixteenth Step”, “Memories of Craving Long Gone”, It Flows from the Mouth”, and “One Last Love Song.”
They Do the Same Things Different There is another excellent collection of short stories from Robert Shearman. The stories featured are intriguing and at times frightful, clever and thought-provoking. Definitely worth checking out if you’re into speculative fiction or are looking to try out stories from the genre (or looking for short stories to read), I highly recommend it!