Deathly innocence.

Review of: Dave Cherniak’s There’s Nothing To Fear (On Spec #88, Vol. 24, No. 1, Spring 2012)

By Derek Newman-Stille

Dave Cherniak’s There’s Nothing to Fear shows an economy of words, but a depth of expression. His story is short, but poignant and is able to encapsulate his poetic skills and ability to draw a mental picture of the setting for his audience.

Cherniak sets up a scene of innocent youth: a child asleep on her pillow with moonlight reflected through her safe, secure house, and then he rips away the fiction of the safety of the house by expressing the fear that every child has, a dark shadow in her room. He despoils the image of innocence with the image of fear and the specter of death. His vision of the innocence of youth is one that is free of the knowledge that death poses a seduction and danger, and his story poses a caution that keeping the secrets of death from children allows for them to be easily lured into the dark.

He imparts a pedagogy that keeping children from fear can be a danger in itself because sometimes there is something to fear in the dark.

There’s Nothing to Fear was published in the most recent volume of On Spec, a magazine of the Canadian fantastic, and you can explore On Spec at

Derek Newman-Stille

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