Now it’s all out in the open about my story, CONE ZERO, I’d like to collate a small scrapbook of comments, taken from the various reviews –
TERRY GRIMWOOD said “‘Cone Zero’ four is another masterpiece. Set in some mythical world that seems like 19th Century Paris, it has mention of televisions and is back-dropped by an unnamed but savage war. It snows on Damian’s 30th birthday, and it is snowing blood. A search for a mysterious, visionary artist, terrible revelations and a tragic past all collide into one of the most satisfying endings I have ever read.”
DAVID HEBBLETHWAITE said “For example, one ‘Cone Zero’ story begins with a fall of blood-red snow, and follows Damian, who becomes obsessed with discovering the identity of the artist who apparently painted his mother (who died when Damian was a child) recoiling in horror from a large metal cone labelled ‘ZERO’. Unearthing the truth is a fascinating journey, with an equally intriguing destination.”
JANICE CLARK said ““Cone Zero (4)” begins, ominously, “On the evening before Damian’s 30th birthday, it snowed blood red flakes.” Visions of the Antichrist come to mind, but this is a different Damian, and it soon becomes evident that only he sees the strange coloration of the snow or experiences the coppery taste of blood in the snowflakes that melt in his hand. Is the man insane? Are his perceptions forever altered by memories of his mother’s suicide?
His mother’s suicide note referred to the “Cone Zero scandal.” Damian learns that an upcoming exhibit by the reclusive artist Dalziel features a painting titled “Cone Zero,” and then discovers the woman in the painting matches his only photograph of his mother. Embarking on a quest to find the artist and try to solve the enigma of his mother’s life and death, Damian meets an elderly blind sculptor who tells him “Cone Zero” refers to a device for seeing the future.
Clue by clue, Damian pieces things together, following a path that he thinks is his own but may have been preordained. The existence of the future-viewing cone questions the nature of existence and appears to negate the concept of free will. The tragedy must play out.
Although Damian shows more than a hint of madness, I admired his intelligence and persistence in pursuing his goal. I was saddened by the tragedy of his life, and hoped at first that in gaining knowledge about his mother, he would also gain the strength to become a more functional human being. But not all stories have a happy ending.”
EMILY S WHITTEN said “Other strong stories include the fourth Cone Zero.”
MARIO GUSLANDI said “Of the several stories simply entitled “Cone Zero” the one I enjoyed the most is about a man who finds out that the woman portrayed in a painting called “Cone Zero” is his own mother as appearing in the only picture of her he possesses. Determined to disclose the secrets surrounding his mother’s life and death, Damian finally learns that “Cone Zero” is a future-viewing device and that the events in our existence are apparently pre-ordered in spite of our efforts to shape our destiny. Obscure and thought-provoking the tale is an accomplished example of fiction apt to makes us feel uneasy and shake our certainties about the world we inhabit.”
PAUL L BATES said “In the 4th “Cone Zero,” a circumloquitous cautionary tale of sorts, the term refers to a work of art, and, purportedly, a mystical device. There is a wonderful madness in the telling as Damian seeks clues to the reasons for his mother’s suicide, the blood red snow whose true color only he can see, a recluse’s visionary art and to himself. Very mysterious, very moody, and often compelling”
ROG PILE said “Snow falls on the city like frozen blood, and walking home, Damien sees the poster for an exhibition of work by the eminent artist Dalziel. At the exhibition, Damien’s attention is drawn to a strange painting of metallic cones in a desert, and particularly to the woman recoiling in horror from one of them.
The woman is the same one whose photo he studies each night, his mother who committed suicide years before in his childhood.
The artist Dalziel is an enigmatic figure, avoiding the public gaze; but now Damien is determined to seek him out and learn the truth about the woman in the painting. Was she indeed his mother and, if so, can the artist provide some clue to her suicide?
His search takes him to the home of another reclusive artist, the sculptor Petrolini, rumoured to have been both lover and muse to the mysterious Dalziel. He learns that the cone in the painting might be a thing Dalziel owned which allowed him to foresee the war. But Damien learns that the artist had painted the picture years before his mother was born.
So it could not be her in the painting, but it’s so like her…
Then he learns that the artist has returned to the city, and a meeting is inevitable.
Beautifully told, this is an intense and thoughtful story.”
Thanks to all the reviewers (even if you didn’t like my story). I’m honoured to appear amongst such great writers and I’m incredibly proud to be part of this anthology.
Thanks for looking. There’s nothing more to see. Move on.