clowns-coverIn the postscript to his stand-alone short story, “Clowns,” FP Dorchak, author of five novels including Sleepwalkers and Voice, explains that he wrote the short story in 1987 and only recently rediscovered it. One imagines him opening a drawer somewhere and stumbling upon the old manuscript. Maybe the letters are the dot-matrix approximations of the alphabet we thought were so high-tech back in the ‘eighties, or maybe they’re the smudged and smeared characters from a creaky Remington or Underwood. Whatever the case, the story was presumably sitting in the darkness, lying in wait for a long time before fate brought it back into the light — a fitting image, it turns out, as the story begins with a toy clown springing to life with plans to violently wake a young boy from his sleep. From there, needless to say, things gets a little creepy. The story itself is short (“very short” as the title page notes), but it’s also the stuff of nightmares. It’s easy to imagine “Clowns” in the pages of Weird Tales or as a “TZ First,” the forum that the old (and much missed) Twilight Zone magazine once dedicated to first-time authors. The good news for fans of Dorchak’s fiction is that he plans to gradually bring more of his shorts out over the next year or so on his Wailing Loon imprint and then gather them together in a single collection. Given the intense creep-factor of “Clowns,” the proposed collection is bound to terrify.


  1. Thank you so much for the review, Marc! And thank you for the Weird Tales and Twilight Zone comparison! Both of which I’d read as a kid! I’m honored to have been put in the same sentence with these two fine publications!

    I’m actually sitting at the keyboard working on another of those short stories from the past, “Plaything,” when I got this notification! I’ll release this one on my blog this August (I’m “booked up,” pardon the pun, that far out, with my Friday short story posts).

    But thanks, again, this is kind and gracious review…and…do YOU know where all YOUR knives are?!

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