Short Story Review: RED LIGHTS, AND RAIN, by Gareth L. Powell


(click on the link to read the story online)


This turned out to be a very strange story – and I mean ‘strange’ in a very positive way, of course – one that started as something with a somber mood: the opening brings us to a small pub in the Red Lights district of Amsterdam, where a woman is waiting for someone.  The description of the rainy night and the people moving past the pub’s windows on their various errands puts the background into sharp focus and  it quickly drew me in, thanks to what I like to call “cinematic quality” in writing.

Quite soon, though, the story’s atmosphere changes, and that happens when the waiting woman fingers the gun in her pocket – a gun that’s fifty years more advanced than anything else in this time zone” – and the man she’s waiting for appears.  She’s there to kill him, and he’s aware of the fact.

I’m not going to tell you more about Red Lights, and Rain, because it’s the kind of story that begs to be read with no foreknowledge: the only thing I feel comfortable sharing is the consideration underlying the narrative – what is a monster?  Is it the creature whose only motivation is to kill, the one that is driven to spill innocent blood, or is it the one that acted as creator and sent it on the path of destruction?   In the end I found myself echoing the words of the young man managing the pub, “you are a monster”. Indeed…


My Rating: 

12 thoughts on “Short Story Review: RED LIGHTS, AND RAIN, by Gareth L. Powell

  1. Wow, another short story that I’m going to have to bookmark (since I’m at work I probably shouldn’t read it now!). This sounds really good, although I’m not familiar with this author. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. After hosting the author’s guest post on my site and learning about his new book about a sentient ship, his works have landed on my radar again. I just realized I’ve had his book Ack Ack Macaque on my TBR for the longest time, but this is the first I’ve heard of this cool short story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness! I had not made the connection yet! (old age does that to you, sadly… 😀 )
      He’s the author of Embers of War, and that story sounds more than promising!
      Which means I’m not going to wait too long to read it…. 🙂


  3. This sounds really cool. I’ve not read this author yet but I like the sound of this and the setting really appeals to me – I’ve been to Amsterdam and reading a short story based there has me intrigued.
    Lynn 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’ve got me intrigued without saying much, which is a real feat! I love the idea of a woman waiting in a pub to kill a man…and him arriving, knowing her intentions. What could have gone down between them? 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

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