The turning of the calendar turned out to be a good thing for Knife Fight and Other Struggles, at least in terms of reviews. In the days leading up to, and the days following, my second story collection released in November showed up in a lovely cluster of review outlets, with some very good reception.
On December 27, the Winnipeg Free Press ran a full review of the collection by Keith Cadieux (which you can view here), which read in part:
“Anyone even vaguely interested in horror or weird fiction owes it to themselves to give David Nickle a look, and Knife Fight and Other Struggles is a great place to start. Those already familiar won’t be disappointed.”
Then on New Year’s Day, Josef Hernandez at Examiner.com penned a full review (readable here) that among other things says this:
“When reading the collection, the reader never knows what comes around the next corner when one story turns to another. All the reader can be sure of is that it will be unexpected and entertaining.”
On January 3, Alex Good at The Toronto Star led off his science fiction review column with Knife Fight and Other Struggles (here) starting off thusly:
“David Nickle, one of a number of Toronto writers making this month’s column, doesn’t believe in holding anything back. With this new collection he takes the reader on a series of wild rides at manic velocity, careening through a dozen explosive and surreal stories that dip into fantasy, science fiction and horror, exploring alternative worlds and crazy futures.”
That review had some legs: over the course of the next week, it was reprinted (at least online) at papers in Hamilton, Halton Region, Windsor and probably some others. I was feeling pretty good about the review situation until this weekend, when I had cause to feel goddamn good, at my first-ever appearance in the review pages of The Globe and Mail. My book leads off a column of small press recommendations by Jade Colbert, who offers up the following eminently pull-able pull-quote:
“Genre, unfairly, can be a ghetto. Scan the cover blurbs on David Nickle’s new collection of horror and dark fantasy – he has an armful of awards to his credit – and you might well wonder how you’ve missed him. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking the talent based on preconceptions of what horror might be – read one of these stories and see if you aren’t hooked… Believe the hype: David Nickle is very good.”
You can go read the whole thing here.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect in terms of reviews and sales for this second story collection of mine; short stories are traditionally considered poor sellers in the book-buying marketplace, and often disappear entirely. A story collection released in the pre-Christmas marketplace, competing with publishers’ all-star fall lineup is an even better candidate for invisibility. This little explosion of attention is welcome, and met with a whole lot of gratitude here at the Yard.