Journeys into Darkness and LIght

Journeys into Darkness and LIght - G.P. Keith Full disclosure: I know the author of this short story collection, albeit slightly. So that makes me rather cautious about issuing overly specific pronouncements or judgments.

You could slot most of these stories fairly well into the magic realism category, I think, though they are firmly on the magic side, to the point of sliding into the fantasy genre. They are well-written, with only the occasional aggravating slip-up in diction (such things plague even the best of us, especially if we don't have true copy-editing services available to us). The title is very close to literal: Keith posits travel through supernatural means to alternate worlds which are characterized by their darkness or by light. The issues are invariably weighty: life, death, right, wrong. That said, there's a fair bit of variety in the stories (more in setting than in tone), and occasionally a likely influence pops up in the reader's mind, although it's not verifiable and to his credit the author has usually transmuted it considerably. The story Doppelganger, for instance, featuring two halves of the same soul, one of which has the humanity, and the other the will, reminded me more or less irresistibly of the classic Star Trek episode with the same theme, the more so since the two halves eventually make contact with what is essentially a Vulcan mind meld. The consequences of their merger are quite different from the outcome in the Star Trek episode, however.

It was by no means an imposition to be given this slim volume to read. I enjoyed it; I'm just sorry it never made it into the regular streams of distribution, where it would have found more readers.