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Love Songs For The Shy And Cynical by Rob Shearman

1/07/2011. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Love Songs For The Shy And Cynical in the USA - or Buy Love Songs For The Shy And Cynical in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. 3 CDs 210 minute story with extras. Price: CD: GBP 16.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-557-0). cast: India Fisher, Jane Goddard and Toby Hadoke.

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You may remember writer Rob Shearman from such ‘Doctor Who’ episodes as ‘Dalek’ and the Big Finish audio, ‘Jubilee’, on which ‘Dalek’ was based. Another version of Mr Shearman is as the author of some pretty spooky stories. His first collection in 2008 was called ‘Tiny Deaths’ and the latest one is available in both book and audio format. There are additional stories in the book. This collection is narrated by different actors and each one is a shade of darkness some more than others.

‘Love Among The Lobelias’ read by Toby Hadoke is the devil’s own job or, in this case, his best-seller. Well, the devil finds work and all that. This examines what happens when Old Nick puts a health warning on his novel.

On a lighter note, ‘Luxembourg’, read by Jane Goddard, expands on what would happen if a small European country happened to disappear one day. Juliet is dismayed to find Luxemburg has disappeared whilst her husband was on business there. As she learns to cope without him, we find out a little bit more about their marriage and the nature of love and loss.

‘Pang’, read by Toby Hadoke, might be sub-titled ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ as we look at what happened when a marriage collapses and the wife wants her heart back. You may never feel the same about Tupperware boxes again after this.

The darkest for me is the curious tale of ‘George Clooney’s Moustache’ where the prisoner, voiced by India Fisher, recounts her growing ‘Stockholm’ obsession with her captor. As the story progresses it becomes increasingly obvious that this is no simple tale of kidnap.

‘Sweet Nothings’, read by Jane Goddard, is set in paradise itself as a young pig loves from afar and sings the greatest love song ever directly to the woman. If only there was a chance of cross-species love but the woman has already been tempted.

‘One Last Love Song’, read by India Fisher, is also about the great love songs. All songs are about love but there are only so many allowed. So what happens to those that fall off the bottom of the charts?

This is a fantastic series of stories which are ably presented by the three narrators. Shearman’s voice is also present as after every story he offers in an interview with Nick Briggs his deep thoughts on life and all its foibles. There is some insight into the process of writing and what he was thinking. At the end of the extras, there is also a hidden short story read by Jane Goddard.

These are very quirky and individual stories and memorable some in a nightmarish way. I’m really looking forward to his next collection.

Sue Davies

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