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Kessel reviews Bailey

Saturday Review: “Fright Night” a review by John Kessel in NCLR Online Spring 2024 of Dale Bailey’s collection This Island Earth: 8 Features from the Drive-In (2023)

“There’s fun to be had in Dale Bailey’s fantasias on the themes of drive-in horror movies of a bygone age.” Kessel writes. By leaning into, rather than away from, the high schlock of stereotypical “sci fi,” Bailey has written stories engaging the most thorny issues of today, from racism to immigration to the epidemic of loneliness.

But do not think that a dose of nostalgic 50’s horror is all that Bailey can offer: his characters are the true hearts of these stories. Kessel praises this commitment to character, writing, “The horror is most definitely there: in Bailey’s stories a lot of bad things happen to good – and bad – people. But Bailey’s focus is always on their hopes, their fears, their frustrations, their low motives and their high ones. Teenagers on their way to adulthood try to find a better way to live than what is held out to them; old people look back on the choices and accidents that led them to where they are now.” 

Read the entire review in the Online Spring 2024 issue out now! And order the book from the publisher