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This Little Light of Mine (2011): I’m Gonna Let it Shine, but Only for Fifty-One Pages

Nate Southard, This Little Light of Mine (Burning Effigy Press, 2011)


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I love this cover. Love it.

The latest piece of Burning Effigy madness to find its way to Goat Central (once again thanks to my local Half-Price Books) is this lovely little Nate Southard chap, a fifty-one-page story about a trio of business-suit types who get trapped in an underground garage during an earthquake and find out that running out of air is far from the worst thing they have to worry about. This sort of thing has been done in short form very well in the past—the obvious example, if you translate from “underground garage” to “pond in the middle of nowhere”, is Stephen King’s immortal “The Raft”. Southard’s story doesn’t quite hit those heights; there are places here where I got the feeling he wanted to turn this into something longer, and for what seems like it would be a thin premise, I never doubted he could. (If you turn this into a novel, Mr. Southard, I will be at the bookstore day of release.) Aside from one character, who never has a chance to develop (this isn’t a spoiler—during the initial earthquake he is, as Steven Stapleton would put it, brained by falling masonry), Southard does a good job of focusing on character development just as much as the problem-solving aspects of these folks keeping themselves alive and whole, trying to get word from the outside world, etc. If the story has a drawback, it’s that the short leg of this triangle is the creep factor, but I’m willing to play this as a thriller-with-monsters instead of a horror tale and be satisfied with the focus on problem-solving. Toronto-based Burning Effigy once again shows their impeccable taste in what they choose to publish. ***

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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