My yawn is an expression of doom sublimated. I dream of chasing elk across the plains of my ancient ancestors. I dream of blizzards and ice fields that merge with the bitter stars. In my dreams, I always die. And the final entry in the collection does much the same, bringing several recurring characters and storylines back into play for a noteworthy and fascinating finale to this tour de force of short horror fiction from a master of the form and the genre.
Laird Barron is never less than remarkable and this book shows that he only gets better with time. Swift to Chase is the best collection of short fiction that Barron has put together so far, and likely to be among the top such books to be produced in our current decade.
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If you enjoyed our review and want to read Swift to Chase by Laird Barron, please consider clicking through to our Amazon Affiliate link. Buy Swift to Chase by Laird Barron. The best way to support This Is Horror is via Patreon. How much will you pledge? Go on. The Doctor runs away in terror, followed by Ian. As they retreat, the monster quietly returns to his slab. A similar apparition appears to Barbara and Vicki downstairs also.
As they are exploring, a vampire appears to them and introduces himself as Dracula before disappearing again. Barbara investigates the patch of a wall from which Dracula appeared to find out how it might have been achieved, but when she turns back Vicki has disappeared.
A woman from the upper balcony of the house screams at Barbara, and as Barbara backs up in shock the wall rotates, taking her with it. Upstairs, the Doctor has rationalised where they have landed. He speculates that the house and its contents are so much like what one would expect from a creepy house that they have landed within a world of dreams — where terrors and thoughts have been magnified into a tangible place.
Ian asks whether this means that the Daleks cannot chase them here, to which the Doctor agrees due to the fact that they are safe from time and space as they reside in the psyche. They go back upstairs to look for them. However, the Doctor is wrong. The Daleks have zoned in on the Doctor's whereabouts and are preparing to materialise. They state that he is still on Earth and has just changed the year and the geographical location. The Daleks materialise in the house and a search party disembarks, but one remains in case they return.
The Doctor and Ian cannot find Barbara and Vicki anywhere and, in their desperation, they go back into the room with Frankenstein's monster. As they go down into the room they are met with the dual terrors of the approaching monster coupled with the arrival of a Dalek. Thinking quickly, Ian traps the Dalek in a cage in the laboratory, and he and the Doctor escape. With the two men gone, the monster continues to approach the Dalek, which tries to exterminate him — only for the monster to be immune from the Dalek's weaponry.
The monster opens the cage and destroys the Dalek, immune to the fact that it insists that it is indestructible. As the Doctor and Ian return downstairs they discover Barbara and Vicki, who have reunited. The travellers' joy is short-lived when a Dalek corners them. When it looks like the travellers have no chances left, Dracula reappears and distracts the Dalek that was about to kill them.
As they do, Frankenstein's monster reappears and begins to destroy the Daleks. Unsure of what to do and panicking, she sneaks into the Daleks' time machine. The Doctor speculates that they shall never know quite when it was. While talking, they discover that they were actually in an advanced form of a haunted house from the Festival of Ghana in which had been cancelled by Peking.
It is only when Barbara joins them that they realise that Vicki has been left behind. On the Dalek time machine, the Daleks further track the Doctor's progress through time and space — they state he is headed towards the planet Mechanus. Skaro is contacted for a report on Mechanus. It is also revealed that the Daleks have a secret plan. The Daleks have been building a machine that they refer to as a " reproducer ", and they plan to "reproduce" the Doctor, claiming it will be finished by the time they get to Mechanus.
As the Daleks disperse, Vicki emerges from her hiding place. Curious as to how the reproducer works, she sneaks up to it and is shocked when she sees what appears to be the Doctor standing inside the machine. Back aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor is blaming himself for the disappearance of Vicki, but he states that there is nothing that he can do about it due to the fact that the TARDIS cannot interrupt its own time stream and visit the same place twice — even if the timing mechanism allowed them to pinpoint where they could go.
Ian says they could fix the timing mechanism, but the Doctor says it could take months or years. Eventually, Ian hatches a plan. If they were to seize the Daleks' time machine, they could use that to return and rescue Vicki. The Doctor agrees and states that the next place they land will be the area of the inevitable battle that must take place. When they land they discover that they are on a largely swampy planet with dense undergrowth. They decide to go and explore so as to best use their time to destroy the Daleks.
As the Daleks approach Mechanus, the Daleks decide to animate the robot. They power up the reproduction machine and the simulated version of the Doctor comes to life. The Daleks ask the simulated version of the Doctor whether it knows its mission. The robot responds with, "To infiltrate and kill. The Doctor, Ian and Barbara are exploring the planet Mechanus. They soon discover that the dense undergrowth of the planet is made up of living plants called Fungoids that are constantly trying to attack them.
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They are soon cornered by the Fungoids, and as it looks like they might finish off second, some lights flash on which cause the Fungoids to vanish away. Ian investigates the lights and discovers they form a corridor through the jungle. The travellers follow the pathway. Meanwhile, the Daleks have landed on Mechanus, where they say all life must be treated as hostile, and have fanned out in search of the Doctor, not before releasing their deadly doppelganger to "infiltrate, divide and kill.
As the Doctor, Ian and Barbara make their way through Mechanus, they are being stalked by the robot Doctor who never lets them far out of its sight. They soon reach the end of the corridor of lights and find themselves in a cave. Unsure as to why the complex system of lights leads to such an innocuous locale, they begin to look around, hoping they will either discover the significance of the cave or find a way of turning off the lights so as to allow the Fungoids to destroy the Daleks.
In their exploration, they discover a weapon for keeping the Fungoids at bay. Barbara is confident that, with the combination of their newly-found weapon and the bomb that the Doctor has been working on, the Daleks are done for.
The Doctor warns her that the bomb can't be used undercover so they'll need to think of another tactic. Meanwhile, Vicki is desperately searching for the Doctor. She screams out, which alerts the Doctor and Ian, who rush out to rescue her. The robot Doctor uses this opportunity to swoop in and take advantage of Barbara's isolation. The robot Doctor informs Barbara that Ian has been killed by the Fungoids and that he needs her help out in the jungle.
Confused and worried, she complies. The Doctor and Ian find Vicki, who has fainted from the shock of her near escape with the Fungoids. Ian deduces that she must have hitched a ride with the Daleks in order to catch up with her friends. They carry her back to the cave and discover Barbara missing. Ian goes back out to look for her.
Whilst Ian is gone, Vicki regains consciousness but, on seeing the Doctor, reacts wildly, suspecting him to be the robot version. When Ian returns, she calms down and apologises to the Doctor before explaining about the robot clone and his plans to kill them.
The Chase by Annie Dillard and Salvation by Langston Hughes Book Report/Review
Ian deduces that this is why Barbara must have left the cave. The three friends go out and look for her in a panic. As they walk through the jungle, Barbara hears Ian calling her name. This leads to the robot Doctor attacking her.
It knocks her to the ground before Ian arrives and fights the robot off her, but it is able to break free of him and escape. Ian explains the situation to a confused Barbara. Ian and Barbara meet up with Vicki — the humans are then shocked by the appearance of two Doctors, each of whom tries to convince them that he is the true Doctor. Ian makes his mind up and attacks one of the Doctors when it tries to get past him to destroy the other.
They grapple wildly whilst the other Doctor gives Ian tips on how to finish off his adversary. However, the Doctor with Vicki and Barbara slips up and calls Vicki " Susan ", revealing himself to be the robot. Barbara informs Ian that he has the wrong version, and the four unite in battle against the robot. Eventually, the robot Doctor battles the real Doctor, who destroys it. An exhausted Doctor and his companions return to the cave where they sleep.
The Chase by Annie Dillard and Salvation by Langston Hughes – Book Report/Review Example
Little do they know that, whilst they sleep, a camera falls from the roof of the cave and observes their slumber. They head off to the area in which they suspect the Doctor to be. Come morning, the travellers are shocked to see a large city risen up across the jungle that they missed due to last night's darkness. They leave to investigate it. They have not gone far when they spy some Daleks heading right for them. The travellers run back into the cave and suggest ways of escaping their certain doom.
Ian suggests that the Doctor try to convince the Daleks that he is the robot version, but Vicki and Barbara say that this is too risky. Ignoring their advice, the Doctor sneaks away in order to try this plan. The Daleks take positions and are ordered to take no prisoners. However it is unsuccessful, and the Daleks try to exterminate the Doctor. He dives back in the cave as the Daleks make directly towards them. In their panic, they try to find somewhere in the cave where they can hide.
They are shocked when one of the walls slides back to reveal a large multi-sided robot that calls itself a Mechonoid and bids them enter. The travellers have no choice but to accompany the robot. As the travellers escape into the lift, the Daleks enter the cave and find that their enemies have disappeared. They soon discover that they disappeared behind the hollow wall and begin the process of opening the lift door. Inside the lift, the Doctor tries to get information from the machine as to where they are going; however, it gives them none.
The lift soon opens its doors and the travellers find themselves in the Mechonoid City.
They are led to a large room, and the door behind them is closed and locked. Once in the room, they discover a dishevelled human survivor named Steven Taylor , who asks them who won the wars. In his period of solitary confinement, he appears to have gone slightly mad with only his "mascot" Hi-Fi, a small stuffed panda, for some company. He is an astronaut from Earth who crash-landed on the planet two years earlier and has been kept as a prisoner by the Mechonoids.
He explains to them that about fifty years ago humans began a process of colonising the planet and that the robots were originally devised to clear the area. However, Earth got caught up in an interplanetary war and the planet was forgotten. Ever since the crash, he has been held captive by the robots because he did not know the proper computer access codes that would identify him as one of the now never coming colonists; they keep him in this room as a kind of experiment.
The Daleks have opened the lift door and received a report from Skaro on the Mechonoids. They claim they have weapons and may damage them. Steven shows his guests around his cell and takes the Doctor and Ian to the top of the roof. When questioned as to why he has never escaped using the roof, he states that it is too high to survive the drop, being feet. He also shares an experience whereby he escaped once before and was nearly killed by the Fungoids; he was soon recaptured by the Mechonoids and returned to his cell. Ian and the Doctor examine the roof and find a large drum with cabling wrapped around it, deciding that this could be used as a way of scaling the roof of the building.
Steven states that he has tried this before, but wasn't strong enough to pull the wire on his own, though it could work with all five of them. The Doctor is doubtful and goes to talk it through with the girls. However, his decision is made for him when the window onto the corridor is opened and he sees a Dalek exterminating a Mechonoid when it doesn't reveal where the travellers are.
The humans all run up to the roof to escape; however, just before scaling to the roof, the Doctor leaves his device on the floor of the cell. As the Doctor escapes, two Daleks enter the room. Seeing that the humans have escaped to the roof, more Daleks are ordered to cut them off. One of the Daleks knocks the Doctor's weapon, which explodes instantly, immobilising the two Daleks and setting the building on fire. Atop the city, Ian and Steven are preparing the wire.
However, Vicki is unsure as to whether she can do it due to her fear of heights. This phobia is so debilitating that at one point she faints. What do you think about my theory? Chase: I could buy this theory! Absolutely what I love about reading and writing short stories is their ability to hover in the air more sketchily, without so much brick building.
With the greater length comes more opportunity and pressure to explain, and novels are more apt to become weighted down with the details of day-to-day living. Yes: more information and more specificity. It can make for a more intimate experience. Rechner: How do you approach writing about a culture not your own? That story is one of the oldest in the collection, and as time went on, I just became more interested in writing expressly about the female experience.
Same for another culture: confidence will be necessary, some of which will come from research and some from fearlessness; yet still, questioning of yourself and caution. This is one of many benefits in avoiding straight-up realism! Rechner: Many of the stories conjure rites and rituals just a couple steps off or away sometimes darker, sometimes more fanciful from traditional.
How did you get so interested in what we might gain and lose in departing from tradition? Everything is supposed to be possible. I see horror and impossibility in both the freedom and the strictures and have come to an understanding of tradition as something that, though it may harm us, means to help us.
Rechner: What kinds of tactical, or philosophical, or conceptual questions are most compelling to you in the writing you are doing now? Born and raised outside Detroit, Michigan, she lives currently in Portland, Oregon.