I’m not at all in the mood
to review a book right now, truthfully speaking. What I’m in the mood for
is to indulge in senseless banter. And I shall. Well, maybe not
senseless banter…..let’s devote this banter to the subject of the author
here. With a little luck and effort, we might even get to Conscience.
perspective of my life, I’ll tell you about John, and it all goes back to this:
One day, less than a couple
decades ago, I picked up a copy of The Light At the End. You know, I was
very much into picking up books like that, Tor and Zebra and Bantam and
Dell, New American Library and so forth all carried a healthy library of
horror fiction back in the day, and at the time my own stuff was really
dimestore fodder compared to the titles presenting themselves smack dab in
your face at grocery check-out counters and prominently placed upon book
store shelves….those days, horror literature maintained a very formidable
presence on those shelves.
Loved Light At the End.
And The Scream. The Cleanup. Dead Lines. Problem
was, as motherfuckingly great as these jewels were, Skipp was one half of a
partnership, a collaborator with writer Craig Spector, and in separating the
two literary entities all I had to go with were the photographs featured in
such horror fan magazines as Fangoria and a brief cameo in Barker’s
Nightbreed, and he was the dude sporting the least amount of hair
despite the length of the hair he had. The Skipp/Spector novels were
terrific shit, great in the very definition of genre greatness, and were an
inspiration to me.
Let’s skip (pardon the pun)
about eighteen years into the future, after whatever my writing career had
been was kickstarted again and I frequented horror conventions and the like,
Circa May ’06…..I was socializing amongst a group of fellow writers at one
of those conventions when I found myself listing my influences and idols in
the field. Soon as I mentioned John, there he was, a small handful of yards
away, and I immediately set myself to talking with him. I hold him in high
esteem as a remarkable human being in his own right, regardless of his body
of work which makes the most devout horror reader wow.
Conscience did the trick for me of separating the sheep from the goats, the
Skipps from the Spectors, and for those of you pressed too much for the time
it takes to find out for yourselves, I say John is a gifted writer,
musician, and all-out hellraiser to modern sociality as we know it.
Conscience is damn good fiction by Skipp and only Skipp. The
character of gun-for-hire Charley Weber comes face to face with his inner
self, his conscience if you will, when he's summoned to take out the
life of the woman he may still love. And there's more to the book than
just that brilliant fable, but there's tasty treats to follow with added
short stories, poetry, and his early full-length action/horror screenplay
John Skipp in all his modern, ball-splicing, Bukowskiesque glory, and,
after taking it all in, one wonders why he ever found himself with a partner
to begin with.