Tonight, Again is a slender little collection from Clive Barker that slipped out of Subterranean Press last November with little fanfare - and, it pains me to say this, for good reason.
There were a few interesting stories here, and his drawings are always interesting to look at, but there are far too many half-page and single-page entries that amount to nothing more than stream of consciousness narrative snippets. Whereas the original Books of Blood spread 4 stories over 160 pages at their most slender, Barker crams a whopping 32 titles in just 106 pages here.
Feel free to do the math.
The collection opens on a positive note, with Tonight, Again, a short story that serves as a framing device, similar to The Book of Blood in his first collection. Craw: A Fable was an interesting tale with a classic Barker twist in the end, but some readers may be uncomfortable with the sexual interplay between a thirteen-year-old girl and a talking beast.
Martha was a really well-developed story with something of a Firestarter flavor to it (a coming of age tale with pyrotechnics), while Dollie was a darkly realistic favorite (even if I saw the final transformation coming). A Blessing and An Incident at the Nunnery were two of my favorites, with the deliberate juxtaposition of the sacred and the erotic that Barker has always done so well. Finally, Mr. Fred Coady Professes His Undying Love for His Little Sylvia was weirdly erotic, exploring the love between a 28 inch tall woman and a 6 foot 2 inch tall man, but oddly tender for the master of the erotic macabre.
In the end, Tonight, Again has some good stories and a few pieces of art that are worth more than a glance, but even the e-book edition isn't worth the price of admission
Kindle Edition, 106 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by Subterranean Press