My look at the fiction in Stableford’s Sexual Chemistry collection concludes.
Review: “The Growth of the House of Usher”, Brian Stableford, 1988.
This story stands at the head of Stableford’s Tales of the Biotech Revolution, a series of as many as 60 works (my bibliographic research has not established an exact number) of various lengths. As the title would suggest, it is an extended takeoff and inversion of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher”. After all, Stableford substitutes “growth” for “fall” in Poe’s title.
The opening echoes Poe’s syntax and tone:
It was a dull and soundless day on which I approached by motor boat the house which my friend Rowland Usher had built in the loneliest spot he could find, in the southern region of the Orinoco delta.
The home of Poe’s Usher was ancestral, but Stableford’s Usher is building his.
The edifice which Rowland was raising from the silt of that great stagnant swamp was like nothing I had seen before, and I am morally certain that it was the strangest building ever envisaged by the imagination of men.
The house is like a “black mountain” without windows (standard for new buildings in this future), no crenellations, no towers, no balconies.Continue reading