by Dave Houlsey
Outpost 19 (2017)
Like most short story collections, there is a thematic through line that runs through Dave Housley’s stories in Massive Cleansing Fire – it’s right there in the title. However, unlike most other collections, the stories in Massive Cleansing Fire form the building blocks of a pre- and post-apocalyptic narrative, outlining both the early days and the aftermath and allowing the reader to fill in many of the blanks.
Stylistically, Massive Cleansing Fire reminded me of Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From The Goon Squad, a set of linked stories that overlap in some places, yet often stray into wildly different plot lines and narrative voices. The sense of satisfaction that came from drawing connections between characters and events in Housley’s stories was one of the countless things that kept me, until I had blown through the whole thing…
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