This review is from: Selected Short Stories Featuring Ghost Dust (Kindle Edition)
Nic Wilson's collection contains stories that are so detailed and convincing that it's hard to tell where research ends and personal experience begins. 'Support' is so realistic in its description of a routine job in the life of a bomb disposal expert in Iraq, that you feel a whole novel could be built around the character. As it is, the contrast between the detailed set-up and the wistful ending serves to highlight the fact that a short story can sometimes only be a small window into a larger world.
A lot of the stories are set at the extreme boundaries of science and the paranormal, but the overall theme seems not to be to contrast the two, but to comment on how people deal with these tough situations. In 'Suicide Spear' a veteran pilot comes to terms with the hard reality of intergalactic space battles, while in 'Raider' a cancer-sufferer turns to ancient legends in her desperate search for a cure.
My favourite was the 'The Ghost Club', a playful but chilling encounter between Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle that shows how two world-famous but wildly-different people approach magic and reality. But the essence of the collection is distilled in 'Ghost Dust', where a grim medical diagnosis is exacerbated by fear, grief and the spectre of terror. The last line will haunt you in a way that no scientist could ever explain rationally.