What the Critics Say


"One of our finest futurists."

- Independent Monthly

"Australian speculative fiction is rewriting the map of our continent, and Dowling is one of its most accomplished cartographers."

- The Weekend Australian

"one of the finest imaginative minds of the 1990s"

- The Canberra Times

"Dowling's narrative control is almost perfect."

- The Age

"Reading a Dowling book is rather like sampling a fine wine. The scenes and images roll delicately over the mental palate, leaving a lingering aftertaste of exotica, of visions and marvels seen with eyes that have gazed long on wondrous things. His gift is to open our eyes to the marvels which hover ever-present at the edges of the world as we usually experience it.

- Mythopoeia

"At its best, Dowling's prose is close to sublime."

- Aurealis

"The timing won't work out - we can't be talking about reincarnation. But, after several decades, the spirit of Cordwainer Smith is back with us, based in Australia, still gloriously inventive, and going by the name of Terry Dowling. A very special magic has returned."

- Locus

"Commentators have tried to explain the Dowling phenomenon by pointing to similarities with the work of Jack Vance and J.G. Ballard...and Dowling has certainly mastered important aspects of each writer's style. But Dowling's vision is his own; his works create a series of myths about contemporary humanity, pleasingly woven into Australian settings, and they combine what is often hi-tech subject-matter with a contrastingly ornate style.

- Twentieth Century Science Fiction Writers

"that is the wonder of Terry Dowling. He uses terms so evocative that they have the same referent value as archetypes did for our forbears. They whisper in our sub-conscious so that we feel like natives of his horrendous latter world, rather than visitors or voyeurs. Dowling treats us as cognoscenti and we must respond if there is a milligram of creative imagination in us."

- Science Fiction: A Review of Speculative Literature

"the only contemporary writer who comes close to that wondrous talespinner Cordwainer Smith."

- Locus

"One of the most interesting new voices in local sf.an individual voice."

- The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (eds John Clute and Peter Nicholls / p.351)

"one of the finest exponents in futurist fiction"

- dB Magazine (15-18 February 1995)

"The Author is doing rather a nifty high-wire act over the abyss of Category. Though he works with the finest and most finely-honed tools of the genre, employed by the likes of Tiptree, Cordwainer Smith, Wolfe, Wilhelm, and Vance - the voice and the triple somersaults on that high-wire are in the grand tradition of Peter Carey, Jorge Luis Borges, Camus, Herman Melville, and T.S. Eliot. The `field' is a landscape dotted with the furniture of a million literary cliches, used and finally discarded, a sprung bottom here, a cracked mirror there; but resplendent with the high-rising castles of the great Surrealists. It is no less than the great field of significant literature."

- Harlan Ellison

"Terry Dowling's gifts in the creation of otherwheres and otherwhens overwhelm me.[His] gift is to create realities just out of mind's reach."

- The Sydney Morning Herald (28 March 1992)

"the most noted prose stylist in Australian speculative fiction."

- Locus

"Terry Dowling has been writing SF, fantasy and horror for as long as I can remember. The complete catalogue of his work would fill several volumes, most of it of the highest quality."

- Chris Lawson, The Coode Street Review of Science Fiction (Sept 99 / 38)

"Dowling's horror is not about vampires or serial killers. It is about disjunction; it is about solitude; it is about the rules of life that bind our world together, but which can only be glimpsed in darkness when conditions are right; it is above all, inchoate and visceral."

- The Coode Street Review of Science Fiction (Sept 99 / 39)

"In the ongoing debate as to just who is the number one speculative fiction writer in this country, the name Terry Dowling gets more than its fair share of mentions - and with good reason. Dowling's writing covers the full spectrum of what we think of as speculative fiction: that's science fiction, fantasy and horror. Yes, he does them all, and he does them all with considerable style. For above all else, Terry Dowling is a literary stylist. His voice is that of the new cosmopolitan Australia, and yet it also catches the spirit of the old: the timeless nature of our land. In fact, if I had to pick a voice to best represent Australian speculative fiction as we head into the 21st century, I'd pick Terry Dowling's."

- Peter McNamara, The Terry Dowling Interview, SF Review, 5EBI-FM, 23 June 2000

"Terry Dowling could easily lay claim to the title of Australia's number one speculative fiction writer."

- Peter McNamara, The Terry Dowling Interview, SF Review, 5EBI-FM, 14 July 2000

"Australia's premier fantasist."

- Peter McNamara, The Terry Dowling Interview, SF Review, 5EBI-FM, 14 July 2000

"A master storyteller."

- Peter Richter, SF Review, 5EBI-FM, 14 July 2000

"Terry is the linguistic jeweller of Australian speculative fiction.his stories are glittering, intricate mechanisms of words."

- Aurealis 5 (1991)


"Think of an imagination steeped in the stories of Cordwainer Smith, J.G. Ballard, and Jack Vance, then grant that Terry Dowling has his own formidable intelligence, and you'll get a notion of the riches this book offers...a marvellous book...Rynosseros places Dowling among the masters of the field."

- Locus

"For richness of social and textual detail, Dowling's work rivals that of Jack Vance and Gene Wolfe...Rynosseros is an intricate and fascinating work of Australian SF."

- Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Review Annual

"Exquisitely detailed, lushly baroque. Compare Herbert's Dune and Wolfe's Fifth Head of Cerberus."

- Anatomy of Wonder

"Rynosseros accomplishes what the very best speculative fiction works achieve: it creates a world so alluring that you ache to go there yourself, not to escape the rigours of life, but in order to participate more thoroughly."

- The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 June 1990 / p.73

"Rynosseros is an important book, a work of great originality, and one which indicates a certain maturity in approaching our own future. It encourages us to break the traditional moulds in which we tend to cast our future, and see new visions, and dream new dreams."

- Science Fiction: A Review of Speculative Literature

"If this book suffers from anything it is an overabundance of wonders."

- Editions

"Here is Jack Vance, Cordwainer Smith, and Tiptree/Sheldon come again, reborn in one wonderful talent...you'll purr and growl with delight"

- Harlan Ellison

"Reminiscent of Jack Vance's and Cordwainer Smith's colourful work, with a dash of J.G. Ballard's Vermilion Sands - and an atmosphere of its own."

(3 out of 4 stars)

- The Ultimate Guide to Science Fiction (Second Edition)

".highly imaginative, enjoyable and, to my surprise, morally concerned. Indeed, in all the varied stories.Dowling is really questioning our modern civilisation or problems such as free will or artificial intelligence. As in Spenser's Faerie Queen, which baptised erotic Italian romance and changed them into Christian allegory, Rynosseros clothes contemporary human activities in the fantasy imagery of science fiction. It is also great fun."

- The Weekend Australian, 14-15 July 1990 / Review 5


Locus 1991 Recommended Reading List (February 1992 / p.38)

"A very special magic has returned...There is humour, grandeur, tragedy. It's all superb."

- Locus (June 1991 / p.16)

"A flat-out rave review is the hardest kind to write, for all you want to do is grab everyone and shove a book into their hands.I've invoked the spirit of Cordwainer Smith, but now it's time to celebrate Wormwood's rightful author. Bravo and bravissimo, Mr Dowling!"

- Locus (June 1991 / p.16)

"Highly recommended."

- Locus (June 1991 / p.48)

"this book is a wild, virtuosic celebration of both the Romantic Spirit and the science fictional Sense of Wonder which is its twentieth century heir. If you have given up reading sf because the power to meaning and wonder seemed lost, pick up Wormwood and find it again."

- Australian Book Review

"Why has Dowling's work struck such a chord? He draws unashamedly on the traditional strengths of SF - awe, wonder and mystery - and works them into myths that have resonance for our times."

- The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 January 1992 / p.39

"Not only are the stories so drenched in arcane references and elegant prose that one feels like an illiterate chimney-sweep, but he does so much, so well, that lesser writers feel compelled to grumble at his skill and one finds oneself in filthy alleys, sleeves rolled up, dukeing it out with sour grapes scriveners."

- Harlan Ellison

".a wonderfully original story from Australian author Terry Dowling.Boggling concepts come thick and fast as Dowling explodes the myth that our home market is incapable of producing world-class sci-fi."

- The West Australian, 7 September 1991 / Books 11

"I have been reading science fiction for forty years. There may be two or three books I consider the equal of Wormwood. There is none I consider its superior."

- Science Fiction: A Review of Specualtive Literature

Blue Tyson:

Locus 1992 Recommended Reading List (February 1993 / p.39)

"Terry Dowling's future Australia, land of the Blue Captain Tom Tyson and his sandship Rynosseros, is a place of glimpses, nuances, secret battles, and rare epiphanies. Exposed to the steady light of a traditional narrative novel, this world might lose its haunting air of possibility, its subtle twilit colorings. Wisely, Dowling continues to explore it in an alternative literary form, through collections of linked stories centering around the Captain. Tom's world is full of wonders...experiencing it with him, through him, it feels as real, tactile, fully sensual as our own. Long may Blue Tyson and Rynosseros continue to explore, and allow us to glimpse more of its offhand marvels."

- Locus (June 1992 / p.17)

"Blue Tyson is a sequel to Rynosseros...and surpasses it in power."

- Eidolon

"a unique, sophisticated Australian science fiction cosmology.The dimension and thoughtfulness of its development shows a great author at work..Terry Dowling has achieved something very special"

- Sunday Times (Perth) (Books 8)

"The pleasure of reading Dowling lies in his evocation of a mood or a moment. He tests emotional responses in the delicate way a musician might tune an instrument."

- Foundation

"The details are haunting; each story projects a special mood. Terry writes with verve and flair; his imagination never stops."

- Jack Vance

Twilight Beach:

"The profound myths of Twilight Beach break the old chains of identity, portraying Australia as a realm where conditions allow an exalted existentialism...A myth of sheer being emerges."

- The Sydney Morning Herald (5 November 1994 / Spectrum 11A)

"It's not compulsory to read Rynosseros and Blue Tyson before Twilight Beach, but if you haven't, I'll bet you'll want to read them after it."

- The Weekend Australian (15-16 January 1994 / Books 5)

"a singularly impressive mixture of poetical imagery, creativity and sheer storytelling power.intoxicating stories.Dowling weaves strange and beautiful tales of almost mythical and fairy-like quality. Highly recommended."

- Interzone (April 1994, p.64)

"a writer of great sophistication whose work has few parallels elsewhere in the genre"

- Foundation

"he builds up with cumulative intensity an Australis Incognita...the books resemble a Thousand and One Nights of the future, a medieval display of epiphanies locked into a certain timelessness."

- Damien Broderick / Reading by Starlight

"Luscious, sensuous and vivid, the line between artifice and outre has been cleverly blurred by Dowling so that the created and the real are synthesized into a prose which smells of the world he is shaping."

- Aurealis

"a travelogue `to the exotic realms of the mind and spirit'...well-written and well-crafted"

- Australian Book Review (68)

"I've already made the comparisons to other literary spell-weavers: Ballard, Vance, Cordwainer Smith (and I could add Bradbury at his most darkly atmospheric). So in dealing with the new book, Twilight Beach, I'll forgo both further comparisons and blow-by-blow story description, and try instead to express the qualities that make Dowling uniquely himself.some of that special intensity of vision in Dowling's work, closer to Blake's "eternity in a grain of sand" than to anything else in sf/fantasy."

- Locus (November 1993 / 54)

"This stuff gives me goose bumps. Best enjoyed late at night over a good glass of port."

- Australian Realms

The Man Who Lost Red:

"Australian small press MirrorDanse has issued a 500-copy limited edition of a new two-work `collection' by Terry Dowling, titled after the longer work...Those are the basic facts - but they can't convey the excellence of the writing presented here."

- Locus 410 (March 1995 / 65-66)

An Intimate Knowledge of the Night:

"it's excellent. As an examination of the schizoid condition, it's disturbingly brilliant (or should that be brilliantly disturbing?)"

- Eidolon

"the best of these tales are untrammelled delight. Dowling's most ambitiously literary collection."

- Sydney Morning Herald (14 October 1995 / Spectrum 11A)

"An extraordinary collection of linked tales about rapture, fear, the secret darkest mysteries of the world and the human spirit."

- Mythopoeia

"This beautiful collection of tales by one of Australia's best writers crosses between fantasy, horror, and SF."

- The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, Ninth Annual Collection, 1996, xxi

"If your taste in horror runs towards the subtly chilling, you will probably love this collection. And even if you think you have no taste for horror at all, if you remember the old Twilight Zone with fondness, this book is for you."

- The New York Review of Science Fiction (March 1996, p.16)

"Aphelion is a highly regarded Australian small press and Dowling a likewise esteemed Australian writer. Both are primarily known for their work in the SF field, but this handsome trade paperback collection of the author's darker tales proves that neither's excellence is restricted to a single genre. Dowling is firmly in control, displaying an exacting attention to detail that is somewhat reminiscent of Dennis Etchison, and an ability to introduce the bizarre or supernatural into any situation in a manner that sometimes recalls the work of Peter Straub."

- The Scream Factory

"In both title and framing narrative, Dowling's An Intimate Knowledge of the Night is a nocturnal meditation on storytelling, fear, perception, illusion, and (thanks to the telephonic presence of the friend/co-conspirator known as Ray) a strange mixture of obscure erudition and mental instability. It's also a collection of good to excellent stories on which one could place all of what a section of Dowling commentary calls those `misunderstood, misleading and inadequate [labels] like `science fiction,' `fantasy' and `horror', handy grab-bag terms like `magic realism' and `allegory'.'.Works like the remarkable "The Last Elephant" or the mainstream-into-otherworldly-fear of "Scaring the Train" actually do achieve the wished-for inquiétude and "new way of seeing". And when those night winds come at last, you feel them on your skin."

- Locus (July 1995, p.23)

"If this book were simply a collection of Terry Dowling's best short fiction, it would deserve to be reviewed with respect, even with relish. However [it's] more than just a bundle of stories, no matter how intriguing. They have been set into an eerie and eloquent story of their selection and ordering. Dowling's lissom reality testings - plucking at the fabric of story and the story-stopper called mystery - are a delight in themselves. But they are given a special intensity by their frame-tale of Terry's wrestling with his dark twin, admirer, inspirer and misleader."

- The Weekend Australian (25-26 November 1995 / Books 8)

"Terry Dowling's linked collection, Intimate Knowledge of the Night, was one of the major horror publications of the year, and from its pages, `Scaring the Train' is a major work that deserves to be numbered among `The Best'."

- Bonescribes, Year's Best Australian Horror: 1995

Antique Futures: The Best of Terry Dowling:

1999 Locus Recommended Reading List (Locus, February 2000 / p.40)

"Who's the writer who can produce horror as powerful and witty as the best of Peter Straub, SF as wondrously byzantine and baroque as anything by Gene Wolfe, near-mainstream subtly tinged with the fantastic like some tales by Powers or Lansdale? Why Terry Dowling, of course. .any collection that includes the masterfully subtle transformation of seemingly everyday recollections into gripping horror in Scaring the Train, the revelations about human awareness (or its bleak absence) through the actions of aliens in The Man Who Lost Red, and the haunting far future of Tom Rynosseros and a lost love in Shatterwrack at Breaklight, is already a treasure trove and Antique Futures offers much, much more.

- Locus (Nov 1999

"Wondrous, often baroque, images fill this cross-section collection of works by the most noted prose stylist in Australian speculative fiction."

- Locus (Nov 1999 / 64)

"Antique Futures: The Best of Terry Dowling, offers short fiction by one of my favorite writers at any length."

- Faren Miller, Locus (Feb 2000 / 32)

"The influence of Ballard, Vance and Cordwainer Smith on Australian writer Terry Dowling has been highlighted a number of times. New collection Antique Futures: The Best of Terry Dowling gives a clear picture of Dowling's career to date, and shows how successfully he has blended those influences into his own unique voice."

- Locus (Feb 2000 / 35)

"This is a major collection covering nearly fifteen years' work by one of Australia's finest genre writers, and an essential addition to any SF lover's bookshelf."

- The Coode Street Review of Science Fiction (Sept 99 / 40)

"Reading these stories, one is struck by Dowling's ability to write stories that blur genre lines without losing their edge. Most fantasy-SF hybrids turn out just plain silly, but not in Dowling's hands."

- The Coode Street Review of Science Fiction (Sept 99 / 40)

"It is a retrospective collection of the best of Dowling's stories, and it is easily the most fulfilling book I've read this year."

- Chris Lawson, The Coode Street Review of Science Fiction (Sept 99 / 38)

"Obviously, the main reason for recommending a short story collection is good short stories.Other criteria for selecting books include looking back - retrospectives of famous authors...Antique Futures: The Best of Terry Dowling.gives a good picture of his first 15 years."

- Locus ( February 2000, p.29)

Blackwater Days

2000 Locus Recommended Reading List (Locus, February 2001 / p.44)

"Dowling's latest title is Blackwater Days from Eidolon Publications. Conceived and written as a single work - a novel in the true sense of the word - it features seven closely linked stories set around the Blackwater Psychiatric Hospital at Everton in the Hunter Valley, featuring Dr Dan Truswell and his two `psychosleuths', Peter Rait and Philip Crow.

"Three of Blackwater Days' seven sections were published earlier to international acclaim. "Beckoning Nightframe" appeared in Eidolon 22/23 and again in the 1997 Datlow/Windling Year's Best Fantasy & Horror. "Jenny Come to Play" appeared in Eidolon 25/26, The Year's Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy, Volume 2, and the 1999 Datlow/Windling Year's Best Fantasy & Horror. It won the 1997 Aurealis Award for Best Horror Short Story. In the June 98 issue of Locus, Gary K. Wolfe called it "a genuinely masterful tale, full of psychological twists.if this is any indication the novel will be a stunner". The opening story, "Downloading", appeared online in Event Horizon: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror in September 1998.

"An Intimate Knowledge of the Night (1995) and last year's Antique Futures retrospective showed that [Dowling's] earliest stories were subtle, delicately written fictions that built upon the sense of inquietude which arises when the world proves to [be] not quite what it seems. And now his latest book, linked novel Blackwater Days, returns to that territory with some of the most impressive work of his career."

- Locus, 474, July 2000, p.35

"far more than a strong collection of stories."

- Locus, 474, July 2000, p.35

"Horror fiction has gone through something of [a] malaise in [the] late '90s, and a book like Blackwater Days is a cogent argument that the reason for that malaise is that the genre has surrendered its greatest strength - the ability to subtly disturb perception in a way that evokes terror and wonder simultaneously. It's a strength of Dowling's work and one that will reward lovers of fine horror. And all wrapped in a wonderful painting by award-winning artist Shaun Tan that inspired the book. Don't miss this one."

- Locus, 474, July 2000, p.35

"Blackwater Days is a singularly chilling book.There are echoes of Alfred Hitchcock, Ray Bradbury, Raymond Chandler, Angela Carter, Tom Reamy and Edgar Allan Poe, as well as much that is uniquely Terry Dowling."

- The West Australian (11 July 2000)

"it's distinctly Terry Dowling, and his best book yet."

- Nova Express

"I felt very pleased to have once again been in the company of a master storyteller."

- Peter Richter, SF Review, 5EBI-FM, 14 July 2000

"Fantastic literature takes many forms, from the spooky Stephen King to the surreal Jorge Luis Borges. Australia's own Terry Dowling moves through both these worlds.it's consistently strong.the outcome: chills before bedtime."

- The Weekend Australian, 28-29 October 2000 / Review 15

"Dr Dan is not the central character of each story, but the book as a whole is very much a chronicle of his journey. And what an intriguing journey it is.Like most of Dowling's writing it is what you expect from him and yet every page is a surprise."

- Frontier, Nov-Dec 2000 / p.29

"Australian author Terry Dowling has produced an intriguing collection of seven related dark stories set largely in a small Hunter Valley town and Sydney .`Blackwater' is a sign of strangers, and the mystery is the search for `antique truths'. Dowling takes the reader into the black recesses of inner psyches which have an outer physical focal point at a local psychiatric hospital. The main characters find themselves drawn into uncovering the mysterious happenings which link the clinic's patients. Dowling is excellent in his evocation of scenarios which are just slightly off key and thus more disturbing than outright horror."

- Canberra Times, December 2000

"The seven linked stories in Terry Dowling's Blackwater Days are loosely based around a small, rural psychiatric hospital, and look at the real and imagined horrors that face us in our day-to-day lives. Dowling subtly evokes wonder and terror together, setting aside the theatrics of modern horror in a collection that deserves to become something of a minor classic."

- Locus 481, February 2001, p.40

As Editor:

The Essential Ellison

(Co-edited with Richard Delap & Gil Lamont)

"Australian critic Terry Dowling has here put together a book of Ellison fictions and utterances from his beginnings to the present day which to my mind come as close to describing an artist as anyone human could do...this is to my mind the most significant book of the year in the SF field."

- The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction

Mortal Fire: Best Australian SF

(Co-edited with Van Ikin)

"It has many delights...This, to me, is what an sf anthology should be."

- The New York Review of Science Fiction

"A very worthwhile sampler." (3 out of 4 stars)

- The Ultimate Guide to Science Fiction (Second Edition)

"There is much to intrigue and delight in this anthology of recent Australian sf...a worthy collection."

- Australian Bookseller & Publisher

"rich with good writing.Try it."

- The Sun Herald (23 January 1994)

"Welcome to the future; one more reason to seize the day."

- The Weekend Australian (18-19 December 1993 / Books 7)

"an excellent representative showcase of the best writers in SF in Australia in the last three decades"

- Sirius (February 1994 / p.40)

"For whatever reasons, Australia has managed to develop a home-grown New Wave that won't quit, and `Australian sf' now seems more like a movement than a sub-branch of a national literature. So we'd better pay attention when something like Terry Dowling and Van Ikin's Mortal Fire: Best Australian SF comes along, even if it means going out of our way to look for it, because there's no telling what to expect.it does suggest that there's something about being large and underpopulated that leads to a disproportionate amount of first-rate sf."

- Locus, March 1994, pp27-29

Eidolon Publications 1995-2005

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