I Love You and There Is Nothing You Can Do About It
By Gerard Houarner
Twelve tales of the human condition as seen from the dark side, through the lens of myth, nightmare, romance, the weird and the surreal. The collection’s title story sets the table, turning over love’s joy to explore where such an emotion might come from, and what it might cost. Other stories include:
-“The Question Man,” in which Derek is compelled to find the answers to the questions of a mysterious caller
-“Spider Goes to Market” finds the trickster god Spider caught in the horrors of the African slave trade
-“The Dead Mothers’ Club” seeks to answer the question of what happens to the children who cannot recover from the loss of their mothers
– “Twelve Nights” is the length of time it takes for a man to transform into something else, once the reality of what he knew to be his life is broken
Other stories included in this collection are “The Oddist”, “The Lighted Window”, “The Good Dead”, “Five Pregnant Vampires”, “The Abandoned Mother”, “Our Lady of the Jars”, and “Not an Exit”.
From the first print edition of this collection, John Pelan writes in his introduction: Gerard Houarner is an artist, one that’s not afraid to venture into new territories and try different hues and shades in his prose painting. The artist has hung an entirely new show in his gallery, and it’s well worth coming in to view, the admission fee is inexpensive and the memories will linger a lifetime.
And, from Asimov’s SF Magazine, Paul Di Filippo writes in his On Books Review:
…the stories that flesh out this book (flesh bruised and broken) are hardly romantic trifles, cynical or otherwise. They are instead Grand Guignolish shockers reminiscent of John Shirley’s work. Houarner’s introductions show a concerned and ethical individual at work, and his sharp literary skills insure that he always adheres closely to his personal moral compass, without sacrificing horrific impact. “Out Lady of the Jars” is my favorite here, straying as it does into the Borgesian territory of imaginary beings.