By Patrick Loveland
Patrick Loveland’s collection Too Many Eyes hits you with a blend of 19th century frontiers folk to harsh arctic futuristic test facilities. The collection is broken down into two parts. The first half being subtitled YESTERDAY AND TODAY—stories that take place in the past up to present day. While part two is subtitled TOMORROW AND BEYOND—focusing on near future and a century from now events. Every story includes the strange and weird in one form or another. Fitting for the publisher, Stay Strange Publishing.
The cover design, as well as the illustrations before each new story, was all done by Patrick Loveland. His art is fantastic and it really captures the strange and weird. So much so that it would truly be a delight and gift to us all if he came out with a book on his illustrations one day (I’m not trying to plant the idea in your head or anything, Loveland, hehe).
The first story, Ekwiiyemak (The Place Where It Rains) was really fascinating. I kind of wish Loveland would pursue a frontiers/early America/cosmic terror story in the future. It places you in civilization, only, it still doesn’t feel very secure, what with some kind of strange plague spreading throughout the town and it being the 19th century and all.
To my knowledge, with the exception of “Ley Lines” and “Whoever Fights Monsters…” the stories are not directly connected. The two that I just mentioned are pretty interesting, though. The protagonist, Special Agent Blakely Tran, is put through some serious shit in the first story—“Ley Lines”. Without giving anything away, after the ordeal in the first story, you’d think the poor agent would be through with the madness. Nope. She’s sucked back into it shortly after with her partner, to meet another set of unbelievable events that wouldn’t make sense even if you witnessed them with your own (too many) eyes.
I don’t know if Loveland intended on doing this, but “Pizzapokalyps” was hilarious. Although, if I witnessed the events from that story in person, I’d surely soil myself. It’s a tale that involves pizza in so many glorious ways and over the last year, after Max Booth III made his infamous pizza anthology call, I automatically think about him whenever pizza and horror collide. And that puts a big smile on my face.
The last story I’d like to address is “The Bulb”. Loveland certainly does like his fair share of space and cosmic terror, but this one, it reminded me of a mixture of older alien invasion films with a sci-fi edge to it. It’s absolutely terrifying to think of an alien or thing like “The Bulb”, but then again, what’s more terrifying is the particulars of the ending. I shiver at the idea of the things described on that last page.
The only criticism I have for this collection, and I won’t go into specifics, are some of the stories did not suck me in. I did not find myself connecting with some of the protagonists for a few reasons: too many characters to focus on, story did not dive into who they were as a person, or the story seemed too focused on the buildup for the finale. That being said, Loveland does deliver good imagery per usual, his cosmic terrors are worthy of the silver screen (which I’m sure he’d be stoked for, giving his love for cinema), and the way some of his characters go out…is pretty damn cool.
Review by Patrick R. McDonough
I received the paperback from the author for review consideration.