Garry Kilworth's first collection shows him to be one of the most original and enjoyable writers in the field. The thirteen stories in The Songbirds of Pain mix science fiction and fantasy, with a dash of unclassifiable strangeness. Kilworth is particularly adept at evoking colourful and exotic locales in distant parts of the world, as in 'The Dissemblers', a story set in the Arabian deserts, about a man resorting to bizarre self-torture in his attempts to see beyond the veil of death. 'Blind Windows' is an adventure set in the Far East, reminiscent of an updated Rider Haggard: a group of Westerners searching for some fabled crystals find their way into a hidden underground world. 'Scarlet Fever' is about an artist in a sterile future society who gives himself the disease in an attempt to stimulate creativity. And the titled story tells of a woman who undergoes a strange and painful series of treatments in order to achieve perfect beauty.
Garry Kilworth (1941 -)
Garry Douglas Kilworth was born in York in 1941 and travelled widely as a child, his father being a serviceman. After seventeen years in the RAF and eight working for Cable and Wireless, he attended King's College, London University, where he obtained an honours degree in English. Garry Kilworth has published novels under a number of pseudonyms in the fields of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fiction and Children's Fiction, winning the British and World Fantasy Awards and being twice shortlisted for the prestigious Carnegie Award for Children's Literature.