Nothing is Everything is Simon Strantzas’s fifth collection, and though this is his first full publication by Undertow Publication he’s appeared in their anthologies Aickman’s Heirs (2015) and Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Vol. 3 (2016). It contains ten stories, five originals, one being a novella, illustrating that Strantzas is a master at telling strange, beautiful stories and also that his writing is weird with purpose.
“Weird with purpose,” is something that came to mind each time I read a story in Nothing is Everything. It was not only that the stories were strange, sometimes unsettling, eerie, atmospheric, but emotionally layered, as though the meaning of each tale hide in the undercurrent of Strantzas’ words. It was not what was said, but what wasn’t. These stories are the kind that you actually read or the meaning’s easily lost, leaving you wondering what the hell you just read.
It seemed every word and detail were perfectly chosen for each tale, leaving anything extra on the cutting room floor. They reminded me of other authors and works I love: Brain Evenson’s A Collapse of Horses and Song For the Unravelling of the World, Sue Rainsford’s Follow Me to Ground, Michael Griffin’s The Lure of Devouring Light and The Human Alchemy, Gwendolyn Kiste’s And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe, Mary Rickert’s You Have Never Been Here, Michael Wehunt’s Greener Pastures, Robert Aickman’s Dark Entries, and so on… This niche of quiet, soft-spoken weird fiction that isn’t quite horror but inspires real, grounded fear.
Honestly, I don’t know what else to say about Nothing is Everything except that I loved it from start to finish. It’s my first book by Strantzas, but it’s definitely not going to my last. It’s exactly what I want out of weird fiction, exactly what I want to read when I pick up a book, exactly the depth and meaning I want to portray in my own writing.
*Book Spotlights are not reviews, but appreciative posts of works I enjoy greatly and that I want to speak at length about.