Tales of What the F*ck is a short story collection written by D.A Watson. As the title implies, it is a collection of strange or dark fiction. For the most part Tales is very well written. Each story moves along at a good pace with interesting concepts and solid writing throughout. Watson has a natural, conversational flow to his prose that is enjoyable to read.
I have to admit, I feel the title Tales of What the F*ck is a bit of a misnomer. Most of the stories are standard horror fair and few twists are surprising or “really out there.” There were a handful of stories peppered in that changed up tone and style which was nice. Over all, given the title and cover, I think I was expecting a bit more weirdness and diversity. I particularly like a story of a man engaging in a philosophical debate in a music store over if he should sell his guitar. The tale itself isn’t t exactly profound or overly weird. It is very smart, however, and optimistic. That optimism was a drastic change from the other stories which made the book more interesting as a whole. As a collection I feel that type of disjointedness would have worked more in its favor.
Scattered among the short stories are poems that also add some diversity to the book. The poetry, though well written, falls into a fairly standard form. While I enjoy rhyming poetry, a little more variety in style would have been welcome. The occasional delving into Scottish dialect combined with melding humor and darker topics feels somewhat reminiscent of early Irvine Welsh.
Some of the twists and concepts behind the stories just rely on human ugliness with no thought or depth. It isn’t a character study or contemplation, nor even that shocking, just kind of crude. It isn’t so mean spirited or dark that it is disagreeable, but some aspects of the violence or darkness felt juvenile. That was my only real complaint with the collection. Tales isn’t going to send Watson to stardom, but it’s a worthwhile read for fans of darker stories. It shows a great deal of technical skill and storytelling talent but makes me wonder if Watson’s style is a bit more geared toward the longer form. I don’t know that I would recommend the book to anyone other than horror fans, but I certainly plan to check out his novels.
Author Bio –
D.A. Watson was halfway through a music and media degree at the University of Glasgow and planning on being a teacher when he discovered he was actually a better writer than musician. He unleashed his debut novel In the Devil’s Name on an unsuspecting public in the summer of 2012, and plans of a stable career in education left firmly in the dust, later gained his masters in Creative Writing from the University of Stirling.
He has since published two more novels; The Wolves of Langabhat and Cuttin’ Heads, a collection of short fiction and poetry, Tales of the What the F*ck, and several acclaimed articles, poems and stories, including Durty Diana, which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in the US in 2016, and the Burns parody Tam O’ Shatner, prizewinner at the Falkirk Storytelling Festival and Dunedin Burns Poetry Competition, and nominated for the People’s Book Prize in 2018.
Watson’s writing has appeared in several anthologies and collections including 404 Ink, Dark Eclipse, Speculative Books, Haunted Voices and The Flexible Persona, and he is also a regular spoken word performer, with past gigs at Bloody Scotland, Tamfest, Sonnet Youth, Express Yourself, Clusterf*ck Circus, and the Burnsfest festival in 2018, where he appeared on the main stage as the warm up act for the one and only Chesney Hawkes, a personal milestone and career highlight.
His fourth novel Adonias Low will be released by Stirling Pubishing in 2021. He lives with his family in a witch infested village on the west coast of Scotland, and continues to write some seriously weird sh*t.
Social Media Links –