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“Australia’s most acclaimed writer of the dark fantastic.”
Cemetery Dance #66, April 2012 (43)

“Australia’s Premier Writer of the Imagination.”
Cemetery Dance #66, April 2012 (28)

“Australia's most significant writer of horror fiction.”
Leigh Blackmore (Editor Terror Australis, Midnight Echo 5)

“Australia’s premier dark fantasy story writer”
Locus, March 2011 (59)

“A master craftsman…one of the best prose stylists in science fiction and fantasy.”
David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, Year’s Best Fantasy 4, 2004 (169)

“One of the best-known and most celebrated of Australian writers in any genre.”
Gardner Dozois, The Year’s Best Science Fiction 21, 2004 (571)

“Among the masters of the field.”
Locus, August 1990 (17)

“Australia’s premier fantasist.”
Peter McNamara, The Terry Dowling Interview, SF Review, 5EBI-FM, 23 June 2000

“Australia’s premier writer of dark fantasy.”
All Hallows 35: The Journal of the Ghost Story Society, February 2004 (109)

“Australia’s finest writer of horror.”
Locus, June 2003 (33)

“Australia’s foremost contemporary practitioner of the weird tale.”
ASif! Australian Specfic in focus, September 2006

“Australia’s most significant horror writer.”
Year’s Best Australian Science Fiction & Fantasy 3, 2007 (14)

“One of the best writers I know.”
Harlan Ellison, October 2006

“Here is Jack Vance, Cordwainer Smith and Tiptree/Sheldon come again, reborn in one wonderful talent…you’ll purr and growl with delight.”
Harlan Ellison, Introduction, Wormwood, 1991

“One of Australia’s finest writers of fantastic short fiction.”
The West Australian, 11 July 2000 (12)

“Who’s the writer who can produce horror as powerful and witty as the best of Peter Straub, SF as wondrously byzantine and baroque as anything by Gene Wolfe, near-mainstream subtly tinged with the fantastic like some tales by Powers or Lansdale? Why Terry Dowling, of course.”
Locus, November 1999

“A master storyteller.”
Peter Richter, SF Review, 5EBI-FM, 14 July 2000

“A master short story writer…one of the most important writers working in or out of any genre in Australia…one of the best and most important writers working in Australia today.”
Jack Dann, Introduction, Antique Futures, MP Books 1999 (xi)

“Dowling’s work in the supernatural forms the most sophisticated and extensive use of the weird mode in contemporary Australian literature.”
Supernatural Literature of the World: An Encyclopedia, Greenwood Press, 2005

“A writer of great sophistication whose work has few parallels elsewhere in the genre.”
Foundation: The Review of Science Fiction 61, Summer 1994 (127)

“It is difficult to think of other sf writers who have a comparable elusive style: the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (1993) suggests Cordwainer Smith and Jack Vance, which isn’t a bad notion. I myself thought of Ray Bradbury’s Martian stories, partly for their wistful, nostalgic atmosphere, partly for the dreamy poetry of their language, and partly for the magical way they weave elements of Bradbury’s native Midwest into the fabric of his invented planet…A writer of great sophistication whose work has few parallels elsewhere in the genre.”
Cyril Simsa, Foundation: The Review of Science Fiction 61, Summer 1994 (127)

“Australian speculative fiction is rewriting the map of our continent, and Dowling is one of its most accomplished cartographers.”
The Weekend Australian, June 20-21, 1992 (Review 7)

“[One] of the finest imaginative minds of the 1990s.”
The Canberra Times, 31 May 1992 (23)

“Dowling’s narrative control is almost perfect.”
The Age, 16 June 1990, Books (8)

“Reading a Dowling book is rather like sampling a fine wine. The scenes and images roll delicately over the mental palate, leaving a lingering aftertaste of exotica, of visions and marvels seen with eyes that have gazed long on wondrous things...His gift is to open our eyes to the marvels which hover ever-present at the edges of the world as we usually experience it.”
Leigh Blackmore, Mythopoeia, Dymocks, 1995

“Terry Dowling has become famous among those in the know – the critics and cognoscenti – for his Tom Rynosseros and Wormwood stories; and the fame is justified.”
Jack Dann, Introduction, Antique Futures, MP Books 1999 (xiv)

“Commentators have tried to explain the Dowling phenomenon by pointing to similarities with the work of Jack Vance and J.G. Ballard...and Dowling has certainly mastered important aspects of each writer’s style. But Dowling’s vision is his own; his works create a series of myths about contemporary humanity, pleasingly woven into Australian settings, and they combine what is often hi-tech subject-matter with a contrastingly ornate style.”
Twentieth-Century Science-Fiction Writers, 3rd Edition, St James Press, 1991 (217)

“That is the wonder of Terry Dowling. He uses terms so evocative that they have the same referent value as archetypes did for our forbears. They whisper in our subconscious so that we feel like natives…rather than visitors or voyeurs. Dowling treats us as cognoscenti and we must respond if there is a milligram of creative imagination in us.”
Science Fiction: A Review of Speculative Literature #33, 1992 (28)

“The only contemporary writer who comes close to that wondrous talespinner Cordwainer Smith.”
Locus, February 1993 (35)

“Easily one of this generation’s best horror, fantasy and science fiction authors.”
Just Adventure, 2004

“The Author is doing rather a nifty high-wire act over the abyss of Category. Though he works with the finest and most finely-honed tools of the genre, employed by the likes of Tiptree, Cordwainer Smith, Wolfe, Wilhelm, and Vance – the voice and the triple somersaults on that high-wire are in the grand tradition of Peter Carey, Jorge Luis Borges, Camus, Herman Melville, and T.S. Eliot. The ‘field’ is a landscape dotted with the furniture of a million literary cliches, used and finally discarded, a sprung bottom here, a cracked mirror there; but resplendent with the high-rising castles of the great Surrealists. It is no less than the great field of significant literature.”
Harlan Ellison, Introduction, Wormwood, 1991 (2-3)

“In the ongoing debate as to just who is the number one speculative fiction writer in this country, the name Terry Dowling gets more than its fair share of mentions – and with good reason. Dowling’s writing covers the full spectrum of what we think of as speculative fiction: that’s science fiction, fantasy and horror. Yes, he does them all, and he does them all with considerable style…His voice is that of the new cosmopolitan Australia, and yet it also catches the spirit of the old: the timeless nature of our land. In fact, if I had to pick a voice to best represent Australian speculative fiction as we head into the 21st century, I’d pick Terry Dowling’s.”
Peter McNamara, The Terry Dowling Interview, SF Review, 5EBI-FM, 23 June 2000

“His voice is that of the new cosmopolitan Australia, and yet it also catches the spirit of the old: the timeless nature of our land. In fact, if I had to pick a voice to best represent Australian speculative fiction as we head into the 21st century, I’d pick Terry Dowling’s.”
Peter McNamara, The Terry Dowling Interview, SF Review, 5EBI-FM, 23 June 2000

“Terry Dowling could easily lay claim to the title of Australia’s number one speculative fiction writer.”
Peter McNamara, The Terry Dowling Interview, SF Review, 5EBI-FM, 14 July 2000

“Terry is the linguistic jeweller of Australian speculative fiction…his stories are glittering, intricate mechanisms of words.”
Aurealis 5, 1991 (85)

“One of the most interesting new voices in local sf…an individual voice.”
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Eds John Clute and Peter Nicholls, 1993 (351)

“One of the finest exponents in futurist fiction.”
dB Magazine, No 86, 15-28 February 1995

“Terry Dowling has been writing SF, fantasy and horror for as long as I can remember. The complete catalogue of his work would fill several volumes, most of it of the highest quality.”
Chris Lawson, The Coode Street Review of Science Fiction, September 1999 (38)

“Dowling’s horror is not about vampires or serial killers. It is about disjunction; it is about solitude; it is about the rules of life that bind our world together, but which can only be glimpsed in darkness when conditions are right; it is above all, inchoate and visceral.”
The Coode Street Review of Science Fiction, September 1999 (39)

“The timing won’t work out – we can’t be talking about reincarnation. But, after several decades, the spirit of Cordwainer Smith is back with us, based in Australia, still gloriously inventive, and going by the name of Terry Dowling. A very special magic has returned.”
Locus, June 1991 (16)

“When Dowling invokes twilight, shadows, mysteries, there is always a wild energy in them, something beyond such merely human concepts as good and evil.”
Locus, November 1993 (54)

“One of Australia’s finest authors…one of the best writers active today.”
Steven Sawicki, The Skeptic Tank, 1993[?] (21)

“Terry Dowling is one of Australia’s finest writers of short fantastic fiction.”
The West Australian, 11 July 2000 (12)

“Terry Dowling’s gifts in the creation of otherwheres and otherwhens overwhelm me. [His] gift is to create realities just out of mind’s reach.”
The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 March 1992

“The pleasure of reading Dowling lies in his evocation of a mood or a moment. He tests emotional responses in the delicate way a musician might tune an instrument.”
Foundation: The Review of Science Fiction 56, Autumn 1992 (112)

“Terry Dowling is Australia’s finest fantasist. His internationally acclaimed work explores the lush landscapes of distant, alien-invaded futures, the vast, beautiful interiors of an imagined Australia and the darkest reaches of the human psyche, constantly redefining the genre.”
The Editors (Jeremy G. Byrne, Bill Congreve, Russell B. Farr, Peter McNamara, Jonathan Strahan), Antique Futures, MP Books 1999

“At its best, Dowling’s prose is close to sublime.”
Aurealis 13, April 1994

“The central appeal of Dowling’s stories lies in their mythic vision or, to express this differently, in their intricate intellectual texturing…Dowling’s central concern is with wonder and pluralities; his fiction offers carefully crafted scenes of spectacle, but this is always underpinned by a tolerant awareness of cultural difference and a healthy distaste for familiar or approved answers. In this respect his work bears comparison with Jack Vance and J.G. Ballard…Nevertheless, Dowling’s approach and vision are his own. His work creates a series of myths about contemporary humanity woven into Australian settings and combining what is often high-tech subject matter with a contrastingly ornate style.”
Strange Constellations: A History of Australian Science Fiction, Greenwood Press 1999 (166-168)


Ditmar Award for Best Australian Long SF, 1991
Prix Wolkenstein, 1991 (Germany)
1990 Locus Recommended Reading List, Locus, February 1991 (41)

“Think of an imagination steeped in the stories of Cordwainer Smith, J.G. Ballard, and Jack Vance, then grant that Terry Dowling has his own formidable intelligence, and you’ll get a notion of the riches this book offers...a marvellous book...Rynosseros places Dowling among the masters of the field.”
Locus, August 1990 (17)

“For richness of social and textual detail, Dowling’s work rivals that of Jack Vance and Gene Wolfe...Rynosseros is an intricate and fascinating work of Australian SF.”
Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Review Annual, Greenwood Press, 1991

“Exquisitely detailed, lushly baroque. Compare Herbert’s Dune and Wolfe’s Fifth Head of Cerberus.”
Neal Barron, Anatomy of Wonder, Fourth Edition, R.R. Bowker, 1995

“Rynosseros accomplishes what the very best speculative fiction works achieve: it creates a world so alluring that you ache to go there yourself, not to escape the rigours of life, but in order to participate more thoroughly.”
The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 June 1990 (73)

“Rynosseros is an important book, a work of great originality, and one which indicates a certain maturity in approaching our own future. It encourages us to break the traditional moulds in which we tend to cast our future, and see new visions, and dream new dreams.”
Science Fiction: A Review of Speculative Literature #31, 1991 (17)

“I have walked with Tom Rynosseros through his world, as I have walked with Paul Atreides through his, with C’Mell and Jestocost through theirs, and with many others through theirs. Sometimes the journey has been mere exercise, but in some cases the path has been into something new, unexpected and rewarding, a garden of delights at the end of a formerly unknown lane. I found Rynosseros to be one of these rare gardens.”
Science Fiction: A Review of Speculative Literature #31, 1991 (21)

“If this book suffers from anything it is an overabundance of wonders…The secret is realising that the book reads as if it were written to and from the time of its setting. With no allowances made for we mere 20th century readers, momentary confusion ends up being another part of the book’s charms.”
Brian Forté, Editions, 1990 (13)

“Here is Jack Vance, Cordwainer Smith, and Tiptree/Sheldon come again, reborn in one wonderful’ll purr and growl with delight.”
Harlan Ellison

“Reminiscent of Jack Vance’s and Cordwainer Smith’s colourful work, with a dash of J.G. Ballard’s Vermilion Sands – and an atmosphere of its own.” (3 out of 4 stars)
The Ultimate Guide to Science Fiction (Second Edition), Scolar Press, 1995

“Not only intricate and engaging, but important as well.”
Brian Attebery, Fantastic Fictions Symposium Keynote Speech, 27 September 2002

“Dowling’s complex future is best read, not as an appropriation of Aboriginal themes, but as an invitation to other writers, especially Aboriginal writers, to take part in a dialogue about possible futures and new ways of being human. One of the most important functions of sf like Dowling’s…is to show us our own preconceptions and offer ways to bypass them.”
Brian Attebery, “Aboriginality in Science Fiction”, Science Fiction Studies 32, November 2005 (402)

“Highly imaginative, enjoyable and, to my surprise, morally concerned…Indeed, in all the varied stories…Dowling is really questioning our modern civilisation or problems such as free will or artificial intelligence. As in Spenser’s Faerie Queen, which baptised erotic Italian romance and changed them into Christian allegory, Rynosseros clothes contemporary human activities in the fantasy imagery of science fiction. It is also great fun.”
The Weekend Australian, 14-15 July 1990 (Books 5)

“For richness of social and textual detail, Dowling’s work rivals that of Jack Vance and Gene Wolfe...Rynosseros is an intricate and fascinating work of Australian SF.”
Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Review Annual, Greenwood Press, 1991

“Most assured in its appropriation of sf’s favourite devices and tones is Terry Dowling’s debut collection ‘Rynosseros’…Dowling’s narrative control is almost perfect.”
The Age, 16 June 1990, Books (8)

“Terry Dowling’s [Rynosseros] offers a fascinating vision of a future Australia, combining memories of Cordwainer Smith and Jack Vance with Dowling’s own unique talent in eight linked short stories.”
Locus, April 1991 (32)

“The tales in Rynosseros are all possessed of Terry Dowling’s rich, golden prose – the perfect instrument for presenting these stories…Dowling’s prose is fluid, his themes powerful and his images intensely romantic…Rynosseros as a whole makes richly rewarding reading. Terry Dowling has gifted me with images which I will cherish always, and there is nothing better a reviewer can say of any tale.”
Eidolon 2, Winter 1990 (80-81)

“Very enjoyable. The book is dedicated to ‘Jack, who in 1962 made such wonderful dragons.’ If this is a reference to Jack Vance’s Dragon Masters, it places the work exactly.”
Interzone, February 1991 (66)

“Terry Dowling combines space opera elements with New Wave artistry in Rynosseros, a group of linked stories that invokes both Vance and Ballard, while retaining a uniquely Australian flavour.”
Locus, February 1991 (35)


Ditmar Award for Best Australian Long SF, 1992
Readercon Award for Best Collection, 1991 (USA)
1991 Locus Recommended Reading List, Locus, February 1992 (38)

“Simply put, a great book…a wild, virtuosic celebration of both the Romantic Spirit and the science fictional Sense of Wonder which is its twentieth century heir. If you have given up reading sf because the power to meaning and wonder seemed lost, pick up Wormwood and find it again.”
Australian Book Review #134, September 1991 (46)

“The timing won’t work out – we can’t be talking about reincarnation. But, after several decades, the spirit of Cordwainer Smith is back with us, based in Australia, still gloriously inventive, and going by the name of Terry Dowling. A very special magic has returned.”
Locus, June 1991 (16)

“A very special magic has returned...There is humour, grandeur, tragedy. It’s all superb. A flat-out rave review is the hardest kind to write, for all you want to do is grab everyone and shove a book into their hands…I’ve invoked the spirit of Cordwainer Smith, but now it’s time to celebrate Wormwood’s rightful author. Bravo and bravissimo, Mr Dowling!”
Locus, June 1991 (16)

“Highly recommended.”
Locus, June 1991 (48)

“Why has Dowling’s work struck such a chord? He draws unashamedly on the traditional strengths of SF – awe, wonder and mystery – and works them into myths that have resonance for our times.”
The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 January 1992 (39)

“Not only are the stories so drenched in arcane references and elegant prose that one feels like an illiterate chimney-sweep, but he does so much so well, that lesser writers feel compelled to grumble at his skill and one finds oneself in filthy alleys, sleeves rolled up, dukeing it out with sour grapes scriveners.”
Harlan Ellison, Introduction, Wormwood, 1991

“Here is Jack Vance, Cordwainer Smith, and Tiptree/Sheldon come again, reborn in one wonderful talent. If you lament the chicanery and boredom of so much of today’s shopworn sf, then like those who’ve been reading his award-winning stories for a few years now, you’ll purr and growl with delight at your great discovery of the remarkable, brilliant Terry Dowling. He comes from Downunder, and he knows how to stand you on your head with story.”
Harlan Ellison, Introduction, Wormwood, 1991

“I have been reading science fiction for forty years. There may be two or three books I consider the equal of Wormwood. There is none I consider its superior.”
Science Fiction: A Review of Speculative Literature #33, 1992 (30)

“The Wormwood universe is one of the strangest in all of science fiction, and I believe one of the most brilliant bodies of work in the entire genre…It’s mine, in that wonderful way that only the best fiction can come to belong to the reader.”
Jack Dann, Introduction, Antique Futures, MP Books 1999 (xiv)

“Yes, this is the Right Stuff. This is what I, at least, am here for…a writer of Terry Dowling’s talent can make a silk purse out of any part of a sow’s anatomy, and this one is a treasure to behold.

Firstly there is simply the quality of the writing. It is right up there with Banks, Wolfe, McDonald, Hand, and all my other favourites. It is inspiring stuff. And then there are the stories, the characters; the love and pathos and heroism and tragedy that pervade the narrative. They are stories about the best, and occasionally the worst, of humanity. For that, as in so much quality SF, is the purpose of the tales.

Perhaps the best bit of all in the book is the portrayal of the aliens. We often make jokes about how, in Star Trek, they boldly go all over the galaxy and find it populated largely by English speaking humanoids; and yet we forget that in many novels the aliens are not that alien at all. Larry Niven made a brave stab at it with his Kzin and Puppeteers, but they were really only extensions of earth-type herbivore and carnivore behaviour onto the standard alien. Terry Dowling’s aliens are truly different.”
Emerald City, Issue #12, August 1996

“A wonderfully original story…Dowling explodes the myth that our home market is incapable of producing world-class sci-fi.”
The West Australian, 7 September 1991 (Books 11)

“Wormwood is Dowling at his finest in terms of character creation, setting, language and plot.”
Steven Sawicki, The Skeptic Tank 1993[?] (21)

“A brief ‘Exchange of Letters’ at the end of the book suggests that the purpose of this collection of extraordinary stories is to fragment human nature into various alien forms and then place particular ones together in superimposition on the human, so that what is ‘human’ might be more fully explained…Terry Dowling is rapidly becoming one of our more important speculative writers.”
Michael J. Tolley, The Body Dabbler #19, 27 September 1991

“One of the best collections ever produced in Australia…Terry is a fine writer and Wormwood contains some of his best work – bone-hard images of a transformed Outback blend into claustrophobic, medieval interiors with startling ease. The collection also features one of sf’s more memorable characters in Aspen Dirk.”
Aurealis 5, 1991 (4)

“Like [his] earlier Rynosseros series of stories…Dowling has now created another fantastic vision of a future Australia.”
The Canberra Times, Saturday 20 July1991 (C8)


Blue Tyson
1992 Locus Recommended Reading List, Locus, February 1993 (39)

“Terry Dowling’s future Australia, land of the Blue Captain Tom Tyson and his sandship Rynosseros, is a place of glimpses, nuances, secret battles, and rare epiphanies. Exposed to the steady light of a traditional narrative novel, this world might lose its haunting air of possibility, its subtle twilit colourings. Wisely, Dowling continues to explore it in an alternative literary form, through collections of linked stories centring around the Captain...Tom’s world is full of wonders...experiencing it with him, through him, it feels as real, tactile, fully sensual as our own. Long may Blue Tyson and Rynosseros continue to explore, and allow us to glimpse more of its offhand marvels.”
Locus, June 1992 (17)

“Blue Tyson is a sequel to Rynosseros...and surpasses it in power.”
Eidolon 8, Autumn 1992 (83)

“With this collection we see the coming into full flower of a splendid new sub-creation, half-inchoate at first budding…which is authentically and uniquely Australian.”
Eidolon 8, Autumn 1992 (85)

“Part of Dowling’s genius is not simply to work mosaically, slotting pieces into a jigsaw, but to engage the characters within each story in the learning process. Even though they have spent their lives in the new Australia, all of them have still much to discover about it. Australia thus properly remains what is now, a frontier land about which much remains to be known.”
Eidolon 8, Autumn 1992 (84)

“A unique, sophisticated Australian science fiction cosmology. The dimension and thoughtfulness of its development shows a great author at work. Terry Dowling has achieved something very special.”
Lloyd Jones, Sunday Times, Perth [12 May?] 1992 (Books 8)

“The pleasure of reading Dowling lies in his evocation of a mood or a moment. He tests emotional responses in the delicate way a musician might tune an instrument. His setting might recall Bradbury’s Martian stories or Ballard’s tales of Vermilion Sands, but his style is very different, rich and poetic when compared to Bradbury’s or Ballard’s more sparing writing.”
Foundation: The Review of Science Fiction 56, Autumn 1992 (112)

“The details are haunting; each story projects a special mood. Terry writes with verve and flair; his imagination never stops.”
Jack Vance, Introduction, Blue Tyson, 1992

“Terry Dowling has been hailed as the next coming of Cordwainer Smith. He has also been compared to J.G. Ballard and to Jack Vance. The comparisons are not lacking for all that they try to describe a multi-talented writer with a single sentence. Dowling writes with an eye toward imagery, with one foot firmly planted in plot and the other making the step into philosophy and profound meditations.
Blue Tyson collects some of Dowling’s short stories concerning Tom Tyson, one of the coloured Captains…a special man in more ways than one and a man eminently worth knowing better. Thank the great Gods that Terry Dowling has set these tales down for us. Buy these books. In the process you’ll support Aphelion, support Dowling and become a fan for life.”
Steven Sawicki, The Skeptic Tank , 1993[?] (21)

“Capturing these imagined landscapes and populations calls for a richly inventive language. Dowling has it…he builds up with cumulative intensity an Australis Incognita…Australian speculative fiction is rewriting the map of our continent, and Dowling is one of its most accomplished cartographers.”
The Weekend Australian, June 20-21, 1992 (Review 7)

“The short story collection is still the glory of the field. Some exemplary collections I liked...Terry Dowling’s Blue Tyson.”
Edward Bryant, Locus, February 1993 (36)

“As for collections, intelligent exoticism marked two of my favourites, Speaking in Tongues by the multi-talented Ian McDonald, and Blue Tyson by Terry Dowling (the only contemporary writer who comes close to that wondrous talespinner Cordwainer Smith).”
Faren Miller, Locus, February 1993 (35)


Twilight Beach

“The profound myths of Twilight Beach break the old chains of identity, portraying Australia as a realm where conditions allow an exalted existentialism...A myth of sheer being emerges.”
The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 November 1994 (Spectrum 11A)

“It’s not compulsory to read Rynosseros and Blue Tyson before Twilight Beach, but if you haven’t, I’ll bet you’ll want to read them after it.”
The Weekend Australian, 15-16 January 1994 (Books 5)

“Dowling’s uniquely Australian far future…has caught American and European imaginations and honours, and even been honoured in his own country…Across our future Australia, this vast, windswept theatre of the soul, the ship Rynosseros is towed by its kites along the wind routes of cross-continental trade and intrigue…It’s not compulsory to read Rynosseros and Blue Tyson before Twilight Beach, but if you haven’t, I’ll bet you’ll want to read them after it.”
The Weekend Australian, 15-16 January 1994 (Books 5)

“A singularly impressive mixture of poetical imagery, creativity and sheer storytelling power…Twilight Beach…sets the scene for more of Dowling’s intoxicating stories concerning the nomadic Tom Rynosseros and his journeys across a futuristic Australia searching for his own identity...Dowling weaves strange and beautiful tales of almost mythical and fairy-like quality. Highly recommended.”
Interzone 82, April 1994 (64)

“He builds up with cumulative intensity an Australis Incognita...the books resemble a Thousand and One Nights of the future, a medieval display of epiphanies locked into a certain timelessness.”
Damien Broderick, Reading by Starlight, 1995 (16)

“Luscious, sensuous and vivid, the line between artifice and outre has been cleverly blurred by Dowling so that the created and the real are synthesized into a prose which smells of the world he is shaping.”
Aurealis #13, April 1994

“A travelogue ‘to the exotic realms of the mind and spirit’...well-written and well-crafted.”
Australian Book Review 157, December 1993/ January 1994 (68)

“This stuff gives me goose bumps. Best enjoyed late at night over a good glass of port.”
Peter Crank, The Analytical Engine, Australian Realms 16, 1993 (44)

“I’ve already made the comparisons to other literary spell-weavers: Ballard, Vance, Cordwainer Smith (and I could add Bradbury at his most darkly atmospheric). So in dealing with the new book, Twilight Beach, I’ll forgo both further comparisons and blow-by-blow story description, and try instead to express the qualities that make Dowling uniquely himself…some of that special intensity of vision in Dowling’s work, closer to Blake’s ‘eternity in a grain of sand’ than to anything else in sf/fantasy.”
Locus , November 1993 (54)


The Man Who Lost Red

“Australian small press MirrorDanse has issued a 500-copy limited edition of a new two-work ‘collection’ by Terry Dowling, titled after the longer work...Those are the basic facts – but they can’t convey the excellence of the writing presented here.”
Locus , March 1995 (65-66)

“A small and unassuming volume which packs a powerful punch…from Australian author Terry Dowling, who is one of the finest exponents in futurist fiction.”
DB Magazine, No 86, 15-28 February 1995

“The great talent of Dowling is that he can portray a ‘big’ event or theme simply by looking at a lot of ‘small’ incidents. The title story involves an alien invasion…As far as themes go they don’t come a lot bigger…This is a very good story…‘Scaring the Train’ is another strong story.”
Aurealis #15, 1995 (82)


An Intimate Knowledge of the Night
1996 Aurealis Award for Best Horror Novel, 1995

“Terry Dowling is Australia's most significant writer of horror fiction. Having performed marvellous feats of the imagination in science fiction and fantasy in his other books, Dowling has also always recognised the power of the frisson, the importance of the weird and the uncanny in reconnecting us to primal emotions. This book contains some of his most powerful uneasy tales, linked by a running narrative of postmodern bent – an author, sitting down to write each night, is disturbed in his work by the interruption of phonecalls from Ray, denizen of a local madhouse. These linking episodes, together with some Ellison-like autobiographical vignettes and philosophical reflections which intersperse the narrative, give the stories a synergy, a cumulative power over and above their individual plots. But one could, if one preferred, read just the stories themselves; the rewards they offer are great. Dowling is a master of the form, and his technical accomplishment and imagination combine to make a memorable collection for those who appreciate 'things that go bump in the night'.”
Leigh Blackmore, Editor Terror Australis, Midnight Echo 5 / July 23, 2003

“It’s excellent. As an examination of the schizoid condition, it’s disturbingly brilliant (or should that be brilliantly disturbing?).”
Eidolon 17/18, 1995

“The best of these tales are untrammelled delight...Dowling’s most ambitiously literary collection.”
The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 October 1995 (Spectrum 11A)

“An extraordinary collection of linked tales about rapture, fear, the secret darkest mysteries of the world and the human spirit.”
Leigh Blackmore, Mythopoeia, Dymocks, 1995

“This beautiful collection of tales by one of Australia’s best writers crosses between fantasy, horror, and SF.”
The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, Ninth Annual Collection, 1996 (xxi)

“If your taste in horror runs towards the subtly chilling, you will probably love this collection. And even if you think you have no taste for horror at all, if you remember the old Twilight Zone with fondness, this book is for you.”
The New York Review of Science Fiction, March 1996 (16)

“Aphelion is a highly regarded Australian small press and Dowling a likewise esteemed Australian writer. Both are primarily known for their work in the SF field, but this handsome trade paperback collection of the author’s darker tales proves that neither’s excellence is restricted to a single genre...Dowling is firmly in control, displaying an exacting attention to detail that is somewhat reminiscent of Dennis Etchinson, and an ability to introduce the bizarre or supernatural into any situation in a manner that sometimes recalls the work of Peter Straub.”
The Scream Factory #16, Winter 1995

“If this book were simply a collection of Terry Dowling’s best short fiction, it would deserve to be reviewed with respect, even with relish...However [it’s] more than just a bundle of stories, no matter how intriguing. They have been set into an eerie and eloquent story of their selection and ordering...Dowling’s lissom reality testings – plucking at the fabric of story and the story-stopper called mystery – are a delight in themselves. But they are given a special intensity by their frame-tale of Terry’s wrestling with his dark twin, admirer, inspirer and misleader.”
The Weekend Australian, 25-26 November 1995 (Books 8)

“In both title and framing narrative, Dowling’s An Intimate Knowledge of the Night is a nocturnal meditation on storytelling, fear, perception, illusion, and (thanks to the telephonic presence of the friend/co-conspirator known as Ray) a strange mixture of obscure erudition and mental instability. It’s also a collection of good to excellent stories on which one could place all of what a section of Dowling commentary calls those ‘misunderstood, misleading and inadequate [labels] like ‘science fiction,’ ‘fantasy’ and ‘horror’, handy grab-bag terms like ‘magic realism’ and ‘allegory’. Works like the remarkable ‘The Last Elephant’ or the mainstream-into-otherworldly-fear of ‘Scaring the Train’ actually do achieve the wished-for inquiétude and ‘new way of seeing’. And when those night winds come at last, you feel them on your skin.”
Locus, July 1995 (23)

“Terry Dowling’s linked collection, Intimate Knowledge of the Night, was one of the major horror publications of the year, and from its pages, ‘Scaring the Train’ is a major work that deserves to be numbered among ‘The Best’.”
Bonescribes, Year’s Best Australian Horror, MirrorDanse Books, 1995

“Terry Dowling’s latest book…brings together all his previously published but uncollected SF and horror stories with a powerful linking narrative that draws the reader on into the night…a nightmare journey towards a crisis and dawn.”
Aurealis 15, 1995 (76-77)


Antique Future: The Best of Terry Dowling
2000 Aurealis Convenors’ Award for Excellence, 1999
1999 Locus Recommended Reading List, Locus, February 2000 (40)

“Antique Futures: The Best of Terry Dowling offers short fiction by one of my favourite writers at any length.”
Faren Miller, Recommended Reading, Locus, February 2000 (32)

“The influence of Ballard, Vance and Cordwainer Smith on Australian writer Terry Dowling has been highlighted a number of times. New collection Antique Futures: The Best of Terry Dowling gives a clear picture of Dowling’s career to date, and shows how successfully he had blended those influences into his own unique voice.”
Recommended Reading, Locus, February 2000 (35)

“Who's the writer who can produce horror as powerful and witty as the best of Peter Straub, SF as wondrously byzantine and baroque as anything by Gene Wolfe, near-mainstream subtly tinged with the fantastic like some tales by Powers or Lansdale? Why Terry Dowling, of course. Any collection that includes the masterfully subtle transformation of seemingly everyday recollections into gripping horror in Scaring the Train, the revelations about human awareness (or its bleak absence) through the actions of aliens in The Man Who Lost Red, and the haunting far future of Tom Rynosseros and a lost love in ‘Shatterwrack at Breaklight’, is already a treasure trove and Antique Futures offers much, much more.”
Locus, November 1999

“Wondrous, often baroque, images fill this cross-section collection of works by the most noted prose stylist in Australian speculative fiction.”
Locus, November 1999 (64)

“This is a major collection covering nearly fifteen years’ work by one of Australia’s finest genre writers, and an essential addition to any SF lover’s bookshelf.”
The Coode Street Review of Science Fiction, September 1999 (40)

“Reading these stories, one is struck by Dowling’s ability to write stories that blur genre lines without losing their edge. Most fantasy-SF hybrids turn out just plain silly, but not in Dowling’s hands.”
The Coode Street Review of Science Fiction, September 1999 (40)

“It is a retrospective collection of the best of Dowling’s stories, and it is easily the most fulfilling book I’ve read this year.”
Chris Lawson, The Coode Street Review of Science Fiction, Sept 1999 (38)

“Obviously, the main reason for recommending a short story collection is good short stories. Other criteria for selecting books include looking back – retrospectives of famous authors...Antique Futures: The Best of Terry Dowling gives a good picture of his first 15 years.”
Locus, February 2000 (29)

“It’s a whopping great book…powerful and challenging…As a collection, I’m not sure that Antique Futures has a theme, other than excellence. The stories are diverse, and range from quite hard science fiction to at least one story that wouldn’t look out of place in a crime anthology…All include strong and interesting characters; and every one was worth reading…They’re all of remarkably consistent quality…Overall, this is quite simply an outstanding collection of excellent stories from a prolific and talented Australian writer.”
Lorraine Cormack, Asif!, Australian Specfic in focus, March 2007

“Terry Dowling is Australia’s finest fantasist. His internationally acclaimed work explores the lush landscapes of distant, alien-invaded futures, the vast, beautiful interiors of an imagined Australia and the darkest reaches of the human psyche, constantly redefining the genre.

“Antique Futures presents the very best of Terry Dowling in a single volume for the first time. From the Aurealis Award-winning horror of ‘Jenny Come to Play’ and the psychological drama of ‘The Quiet Redemption of Andy the House’ to the wide-screen adventure of ‘Nobody’s Fool’ and the sweeping, heroic saga of ‘Time of the Star’, these marvellous tales represent the best speculative fiction has to offer.”
The Editors (Jeremy G. Byrne, Bill Congreve, Russell B. Farr, Peter McNamara, Jonathan Strahan), Antique Futures, MP Books 1999


Blackwater Days
Ditmar Award for Best Collection, 2001
(World Fantasy Award nomination for Best Collection 2001)
2000 Locus Recommended Reading List, Locus, February 2001 (44)

“Terry Dowling writes so damned well that his Blackwater Days sucks the reader down with terrifying ease into a chilling world of insanity and depravity.”
Ellen Datlow, Blackwater Days, Eidolon Books, 2000

“While Terry Dowling is best known for the science fiction of his ‘Rynosseros’ and ‘Wormwood’ story cycles, An Intimate Knowledge of the Night (1995) and last year’s Antique Futures retrospective showed that his earliest stories were subtle, delicately written fictions that build upon the sense of inquietude which arises when the world proves to not quite be what it seems. And now his latest book, linked novel Blackwater Days, returns to that territory with some of the most impressive work of his career.”
Locus, July 2000 (35)

“Horror fiction has gone through something of [a] malaise in late ’90s, and a book like Blackwater Days is a cogent argument that the reason for that malaise is that the genre has surrendered its greatest strength – the ability to subtly disturb perception in a way that evokes terror and wonder simultaneously. It’s a strength of Dowling’s work and one that will reward lovers of fine horror. And all wrapped in a wonderful painting by award-winning artist Shaun Tan that inspired the book. Don’t miss this one.”
Locus, July 2000 (35)

“Blackwater Days is a singularly chilling book…a solid narrative with a wonderful twist in the tale. There are echoes of Alfred Hitchcock, Ray Bradbury, Raymond Chandler, Angela Carter, Tom Reamy and Edgar Allan Poe, as well as much that is uniquely Terry Dowling.”
The West Australian, 11 July 2000 (12)

“It’s distinctly Terry Dowling, and his best book yet.”
Nova Express, Vol 5, No 4, Fall/Winter 2000

“I felt very pleased to have once again been in the company of a master storyteller.”
Peter Richter, SF Review, 5EBI-FM, 14 July 2000

“Fantastic literature takes many forms, from the spooky Stephen King to the surreal Jorge Luis Borges. Australia’s own Terry Dowling moves through both these worlds. It’s consistently strong. The outcome: chills before bedtime.”
The Weekend Australian, 28-29 October 2000 (Review 15)

“Dr Dan is not the central character of each story, but the book as a whole is very much a chronicle of his journey. And what an intriguing journey it is. Like most of Dowling’s writing it is what you expect from him and yet every page is a surprise.”
Frontier, November-December 2000 (29)

“Australian author Terry Dowling has produced an intriguing collection of seven related dark stories set largely in a small Hunter Valley town and Sydney. ‘Blackwater’ is a sign of strangers, and the mystery is the search for ‘antique truths’. Dowling takes the reader into the black recesses of inner psyches which have an outer physical focal point at a local psychiatric hospital. The main characters find themselves drawn into uncovering the mysterious happenings which link the clinic’s patients. Dowling is excellent in his evocation of scenarios which are just slightly off key and thus more disturbing than outright horror.”
Canberra Times, December 2000

“The seven linked stories in Terry Dowling’s Blackwater Days are loosely based around a small, rural psychiatric hospital, and look at the real and imagined horrors that face us in our day-to-day lives. Dowling subtly evokes wonder and terror together, setting aside the theatrics of modern horror in a collection that deserves to become something of a minor classic.”
Locus, February 2001 (40)

“Terry Dowling’s long story ‘Jenny Come to Play’ is a genuinely masterful tale, full of psychological twists, about a mental patient named Jenny Haniver who seems inordinately terrified of her sister Jackie but strangely attached to her other missing sister Jenny…Dowling’s story is a section of his forthcoming episodic novel Blackwater Days, and if this is any indication the novel will be a stunner.”
Gary K. Wolfe, Locus, June 1998 (58)

“The book can be read as a novel – all of the stories fit together into a chronology…as well as being linked thematically – but I feel this does a disservice to the individual short stories, and to the short story form. To paraphrase Harlan Ellison’s caveat in Deathbird Stories, these stories are better read not in one sitting, but individually – say, one before bedtime each night – for maximum impact. Then, when you reread the book, read it as a novel.”
The West Australian, 11 July 2000 (12)


Basic Black: Tales of Appropriate Fear
International Horror Guild Award, Best Collection, 2007
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review), May 2006
2006 Locus Recommended Reading List, Locus, February 2007 (42)
(Bram Stoker Award Nomination, Best Collection, 2007)

“The everyday and ordinary show an unexpected malignant side in this collection of 18 uniquely disturbing tales of the fantastic. Dowling grounds his tales in mundane situations, then pulls back slowly to reveal (as the narrator of ‘Scaring the Train’ calls them) “those moments of incidental framing reality where every commonplace surprises you.” In ‘Cheat Light,’ a roll of film left in a pawnshop camera reveals images of an otherworldly origin. ‘Clownette’ tells of a peculiar blotch on a hotel wall that proves to be something much worse than the harmless mildew stain it’s mistaken for. ‘Maze Man,’ whose protagonist is trapped in an invisible maze that only he cannot penetrate, is one of several stories in which architecture motifs suggest alternate realities encroaching on our own. This is Dowling’s first U.S. collection after several in his native Australia, and the selection of stories new and old makes for one of the year’s more satisfying dark fantasy reads.”
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review), May 2006

“A formidable horror writer in the ‘quiet’ tradition of Charles Grant and Ramsey Campbell…Basic Black gives us heavy-duty exposure to a writer who knows a thing or two about the art of the can do much worse than spending time letting him unfold his brand of darkness in your head.”
Fangoria #254, June 2006

“Hailed as one of Australia’s finest sf writers, Dowling has recently shifted his attention to dark fantasy. As this collection’s subtitle suggests, the 18 stories in it revolve around ‘appropriate’ or common fears, those unsettling whispers at the edges of perception that suggest something is disturbingly amiss. All pleasantly chilling…Dowling’s tales are masterfully pitched to bring ‘appropriate’ chills at any hour of the day, and they amount to one of the best recent collections of contemporary horror.”
Carl Hays, American Library Association, May 2006

“One of the best recent collections of contemporary horror.”
Carl Hays, American Library Association, May 2006

“Basic Black contains eighteen stories by a writer whose career has spanned science fiction, horror, award-winning computer games and wondrous tales of all kinds…it’s thrilling to see them collected in hardcover for the first time…First-time readers of Dowling’s creepy dark fantasy will find here a treasure trove of chilly delights…a landmark volume which cements Dowling’s reputation as Australia’s foremost contemporary practitioner of the weird tale.”
Leigh Blackmore, ASif! Australian Specfic in focus, September 2006

“Fear, wonder, disquiet – call it what you will – these things are the hallmark of the tale which disturbs us, and which while undermining our sense of safety in the world, also helps us test our place in it. Dowling is a master of the gradual accumulation of telling, disquieting detail so important to the horror story.”
Leigh Blackmore, ASif! Australian Specfic in focus, September 2006

“Basic Black shows Dowling at the height of his storytelling powers; it’s a volume which will not simply make the flesh creep and the blood run cold, but poke spidery fingers into the inside of your psyche long after the book has been closed.”
Leigh Blackmore, ASif! Australian Specfic in focus, September 2006

“Terry Dowling’s Basic Black brings together this author’s horror stories and serves as notice that, while Dowling has been labouring productively in SF for years, he’s also been masterfully colonizing another genre as well.”
Locus, February 2007 (39)

“Dowling has been writing dark tales that twist and distort reality for more than 20 years and this fine book assembles the very best from his long and distinguished career.”
Locus, February 2007 (40)

“In terms of imagination, craft and sheer wonder, Terry Dowling has a five-star volume that spans twenty years of his sure-handed storytelling, Basic Black: Tales of Appropriate Fear. In it, inner worlds are transformed by transgression, sudden disclosure, and the fantastic…If I had to pick three favourite tales from the superb offerings, I’d choose “The Bone Ship,” “Clownette,” and “The Saltimbanques,” a story beyond surprising that rivals Bradbury’s best… Thereafter when you read any of his work, you will always hear his inimitable voice that charms and warms as it conjures and unsettles. Some rare voices carry where an artist’s been and what he’s dreamed, as Terry Dowling’s does. All those moments of earliest discovery, from his days of exploring Aussie bushland, to roaming past a madhouse at Bedlam Point, to gazing at a cemetery called the Field of Mars, are not lost, but lived again with each word… You can hear this modern master read a new stunning tale (“Jarkman at the Othergates”) from another anthology, Exotic Gothic: Forbidden Tales from Our Gothic World, by Googling "Stories Exotic Gothic".”
Professor Danel Olson
Editor, Exotic Gothic: Forbidden Tales from Our Gothic World

“Terry Dowling is perhaps the most acclaimed of Australia’s dark fiction authors. He is a specialist at mid-length fiction…and his retrospective (and most significant) collection Basic Black: Tales of Appropriate Fear (Cemetery Dance Publications) demonstrates Dowling’s absolute best at this length. Basic Black is rich in complex psychological layers and has the ability to simultaneously enthral and disturb.”
Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror 2007

“To say that this is one of the best collections of dark fiction I ever read may seem obvious, considering that the book, first published by Cemetery Dance in 2006, won the 2007 International Horror Guild Award for Best Collection…Therefore, I started reading this volume with a positive but careful attitude, not really expecting to have necessarily in my hands a little masterpiece. Actually, it is…The collection doesn't include any misfires, the quality of the stories is consistently top notch, but some material is absolutely superlative…Basic Black: Tales of Appropriate Fear is not to be missed by any (dark) fiction lover.”
Michael Guslandi / The SF Site


2007 Peter McNamara Convenors’ Award for Excellence, January 2008

“At once epic and intimate, sweepingly romantic and stirringly adventurous, the Tom Tyson stories stand amongst the very best work that science fiction has to offer. A book to be treasured.”
Jonathan Strahan (Editor: Eclipse One, The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, The Locus Awards etc)

“Dowling is so good at evoking the deep, strange interior of the land through which his roving captain passes, it seems to serve as far more than a metaphor for the interior of Tom’s mind and his buried history, and I’ll miss seeing even more of those great landscapes…Now that the tale is finished, this should be your perfect opportunity to find out what the fuss is about. (We can’t let the Aussies keep a treasure like Terry Dowling all to themselves!)”
Locus, January 2008 (55)

“This is the conclusion to the best and most ambitious Australian science fiction series ever written, and one of the best, ever, period.”
Australian SF Reader, Tuesday, October 9, 2007

“The culmination of the exceptional Tom Rynosseros stories that Dowling has published over more than a decade. His work fits comfortably next to genre fiction writers such as Ray Bradbury or Ursula K. LeGuin. His literary skill and richness of storytelling equally bring to mind comparisons with writers such as Isak Dinesen and Thornton Wilder…his magnum opus.”


Amberjack: Tales of Fear & Wonder

Amberjack: Tales of Fear and Wonder by Terry Dowling is an eclectic collection of old friends and new surprises, each story driven onwards by a mighty engine of transparent prose crackling with the electricity of ideas. Terry Dowling belongs to an elite group of short story writers that combine an unerring sense of how to tell a gripping story with the ability to blend in very sophisticated concepts without anyone noticing…the result is genuinely worth every last cent. Buy your copy immediately.”
David Marshall, 6 February, 2011

“Dowling's newest collection…highlights his rich and complex sideways storytelling with 12 stories that run the speculative fiction gamut. ‘The Magikkers’ gently explores the lives of the fortunate few who possess a small spark of magic in a mundane world. In ‘Flashmen,’ competing rescue teams risk annihilation in a savage landscape. ‘Toother’ and ‘The Suits at Auderlene’ are creepy and cruel, but ‘Truth Window,’ set in the universe of the Wormwood story cycle, finds humanity shining even in slavery. Dowling's terse and enigmatic style is subtle and brain stretching, enticing readers with fully realized worlds that clearly extend far beyond each story's boundaries. Insightful afterwords complete the sensation of being transported someplace truly alien by Dowling's intelligent and thoughtful work.” (Starred Review)
Publishers Weekly, July 2010

“Terry Dowling is inimitable…The stories of Amberjack are infused with fear and wonder, and they make for a potent storytelling combination.”
San Francisco Book Review, June 22, 2010

“Dowling is a name I'll be looking for in the future. The back cover blurb notes: ‘Fear and wonder, a powerful combination’ -- an excellent summary of the contents of Amberjack. Relying on subtleties and nuance, rather than guts and gore, to convey intense creepiness, and with a fine understanding of psychology, description, and balance, this is a book -- and an author -- with a solid place on my bookshelf.”
The Green Man Review, 7 March 2010


Clowns at Midnight

Clowns sets itself up as a conventional horror story, perhaps even a quiet, old-fashioned one in the style of Dennis Wheatley. Do not be fooled. Not only does it deliver the shocks, this is one of the few books I have encountered that attempts to deal with paganism as a serious contemporary force…Terry scares me. He scares me repeatedly, almost reliably, in such beautiful prose as deserves comparison to Vance or Chesterton…he shows an understanding of what I call ritual – that is, a carefully orchestrated sequence of events whose event surpasses the sum of the parts. This comes to the fore in Clowns. If I were to call it a magical book, it would not in any way mean delightful, distracting or, the Gods help us, sparkly. We're dealing with mamuthone here! Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle: chink, chink, chink – the perfect antidote to jingle bells in an Australian midsummer. Who could resist the idea that these antique clowns, that all clowns, were once something else?”
Kyla Ward

“With its acute observations of a parched landscape, its blending of the everyday and the forces of myth, Clowns at Midnight is an exceptional work that bears comparison to John Fowles’s The Magus.”
The Guardian, 8 October 2010

“Make no mistake about it: this is smart person’s horror, an unerringly rich and intelligent account that encompasses clown-phobia and the true origins of western religion.”
Fright Site Reviews and Commentary, 18 October 2010

“If you wish to fall into another world for a time—of shifting masks, beautiful bodies and terrible fears, of mystic philosophy and living labyrinths (with the human heart at their centre)—you have found your book. Mr. Dowling’s is a strange, thrilling, incantatory novel, ecstatic in the oldest sense. Under resplendent Australian skies, readers encounter a heartbroken and utterly phobic narrator, unidentified intruders, a vampish twin, Sardinian neighbours of Dionysian desire, and enigmatic women as alluring and soul-troubling as John Fowles’. A carefully-observed transformation story blending tragedy, ritual, myth, farce, horror and hopeless yearning, Mr. Dowling’s Clowns at Midnight is the stuff of magic.”
Danel Olson, editor of Exotic Gothic I, II, III, and 21st Century Gothic: Great Gothic Novels Since 2000

“If you wish to fall into another world for a time—of shifting masks, beautiful bodies and terrible fears, of mystic philosophy and living labyrinths (with the human heart at their center)—you have found your book…Mr. Dowling’s Clowns at Midnight is the stuff of magic.”
Danel Olson, editor of Exotic Gothic I, II, III, and 21st Century Gothic: Great Gothic Novels Since 2000

“Clowns at Midnight is a masterpiece of suspense – a suspense that is multiplied, rendered all the more terrifying, by the brilliantly constructed ambiguity of the plot. This is the territory of John Fowles’s great novels, The Magus and A Maggot: a psychological landscape in which the reliability of perception, of memory, and of narration is interrogated to its uttermost limits. And Terry Dowling’s fine prose is quite the equal of Fowles’s in the bargain.”
Nick Gevers, editor of Postscripts, Extraordinary Engines, Other Earths, Infinity Plus

“Clowns at Midnight plays with a grand spectrum of emotions…At novel length, Dowling can work his peculiar magics in an almost symphonic form. The result is a memorable addition to the Tales of Appropriate Fear.”
Faren Miller, Locus, August 2010 (20)

“Suffice to say, readers familiar with other dark fantasies concerned with the survival of ancient traditions and beliefs into the present – John Fowles’ The Magus, Thomas Tryson’s Harvest Home, Donna Tarrt’s The Secret History, Graham Joyce’s The House of Lost Dreams – will have an inkling of where Dowling is leading them. Clowns at Midnight deserves to be mentioned in the company of these superb tales not because it echoes them but because it takes the premise underlying them all in a refreshingly original direction.”
Stefan Dziemianowicz, Locus, October 2010 (27)

“[A] particularly interesting writer…Dowling manages to pull off a clever technical trick in putting this book together.…That he manages to create a real and mounting sense of menace is a tribute to an excellent storyteller on top form.”
David Marshall / November 22, 2010


The Night Shop

“One of the things I love most about Terry Dowling’s short horror fiction is that it always surprises me. He’s brilliant at blending the psychological with the supernatural and his stories are varied, engaging, and above all – damned creepy. So I urge you all to rush out and buy The Night Shop, Terry’s first collection since 2010. I admit to being biased, as I either first published or reprinted several of the stories included here. But I’m even more excited that there are three new stories for me –and you all – to enjoy.”
Ellen Datlow, Editor of The Best Horror of the Year series

“Gently, unobtrusively, Terry Dowling undoes the straps of the strange, and that is the wicked fineness of his art. He has a language and a style apart, which these stories will show, presenting and interpreting the arcane, the sacred, the mysterious, and the deathless in the way a Death’s-head moth moves through the night air towards the moon – soft, natural, hypnotic, and inevitable.”
Danel Olson, Editor of Exotic Gothic series.

The Night Shop: Tales for the Lonely Hours by Terry Dowling (Cemetery Dance) was the Australian, multi-award-winning author’s fourth horror collection and it’s a terrific sampling of his work, with eighteen disturbing stories, three of them new. It showcases Dowling at the top of his game.”
Ellen Datlow The Best of the Best Horror of the Year: 10 Years of Essential Short Horror Fiction, Night Shade Books, October 2018

“While all of the…stories provide further testament to Dowling’s considerable gifts as a writer of dark fantasy, “Mariners’ Round,” “Nightside Eye,” and “Two Steps Along the Road” distinguish The Night Shop as a cornerstone collection of supernatural fiction, a book that belongs on the shelf alongside Vernon Lee’s Hauntings (1890), Robert W. Chambers’ The King in Yellow (1895) , Arthur Machen’s The House of Souls (1906), and Edith Wharton’s Ghosts (1937).”
Boyd White, "Terry Dowling: Poet of Shadows," Firsts, September/October 2019

The Night Shop is perhaps Dowling’s strongest book. His most recent stories find the author in excellent form and are distinguished by his refusal to merely revisit familiar territory as he pushes himself to engage and surprise his readers with still more innovative approaches to classic horror tropes.”
Boyd White, "Terry Dowling: Poet of Shadows," Firsts, September/October 2019



As Editor

The Essential Ellison
(with Richard Delap & Gil Lamont)

“Australian critic Terry Dowling has here put together a book of Ellison fictions and utterances from his beginnings to the present day...which to my mind come as close to describing an artist as anyone human could do...this is to my mind the most significant book of the year in the SF field.”
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, 1987

“Simply put, every library needs a copy of this book on its shelves.”
Books to Look For, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, 2002


Mortal Fire: Best Australian SF
(with Van Ikin)

“It has many delights...This, to me, is what an sf anthology should be.”
The New York Review of Science Fiction, May 1994 (7)

“This is a very fine anthology, with excellent biographical and bibliographical notes, and I recommend it warmly to anyone who is even remotely interested in Australian sf…You’ll be pleasantly surprised.”
Foundation: The Review of Science Fiction 61, Summer 1994 (128)

“A very worthwhile sampler.” (3 out of 4 stars)
The Ultimate Guide to Science Fiction (Second Edition), Scolar Press 1995

“There is much to intrigue and delight in this anthology of recent Australian sf...a worthy collection.”
Australian Bookseller & Publisher, 1993

“Rich with good writing. Try it.”
The Sun Herald, 23 January 1994

“Welcome to the future; one more reason to seize the day.”
The Weekend Australian, 18-19 December 1993 (Books 7)

“An excellent representative showcase of the best writers in SF in Australia in the last three decades.”
Sirius, February 1994 (40)

“For whatever reasons, Australia has managed to develop a home-grown New Wave that won't quit, and ‘Australian sf’ now seems more like a movement than a sub-branch of a national literature. So we’d better pay attention when something like Terry Dowling and Van Ikin’s Mortal Fire: Best Australian SF comes along, even if it means going out of our way to look for it, because there's no telling what to expect. It does suggest that there’s something about being large and underpopulated that leads to a disproportionate amount of first-rate sf.”
Locus, March 1994 (27-29)


The Jack Vance Treasury
(with Jonathan Strahan)

“Here, editors Dowling and Strahan offer the commendable results of poring through Vance’s prodigious oeuvre and selecting stories to showcase his best work and feature some of his most cherished recurring protagonists...With an introduction by George Martin and insightful afterwords to each piece by Vance himself, this is a celebration for his fans, an ideal introduction for new readers of his work.”
Carl Hays, American Library Association, February 2007

“One could not ask for a more savoury Vancean buffet…a first-rate selection of a grandmaster in all the disparate moods and periods of his sixty-year career…The word ‘treasury’ in the title is well chosen. Here be treasures.”
Matthew Hughes, The SFSite, Reviews, January 2007

“A Grand Master whose career spanned more than 60 years of dragons, aliens and wizards receives the perfect tribute.” (A+)
Paul Di Filippo,, January 2007

“Jack Vance’s artistry is undeniable, never more so than when arrayed in such massiveness as here. A master stylist, he combines a flair for dialogue (witty), description (painterly) and detail (ornate but never egregious) with an ingenuity of plotting and a fecundity of conceit that is unmatched within the field. Thanks to the intelligent choices made by Dowling and Strahan, this volume admirably displays his unparalleled way with language and narrative, serving as the perfect tome for old-time fans and newcomers alike.”
Paul Di Filippo,, January 2007

“Encompassing multiple permutations of the planetary romance genre, this best-of collection gathers 18 seminal if sometimes redundant stories and novellas, dating from the 1950s to the 1970s, from SF Grand Master Vance. A brief, illuminating snippet by Vance follows each piece. Novellas include ‘The Dragon Masters,’ in which two rivals can’t bring themselves to work together when strangers descend from the sky to kill them all, and ‘The Last Castle,’ in which slaves revolt and lay siege to the castles of their former masters. Standout stories include ‘The Moon Moth,’ the tale of a clueless diplomat who must learn the intricacies of a highly patterned society, and ‘The Gift of Gab,’ in which men discover a strange intelligence while mining the bounty of off-world seas. Though the dearth of significant female characters makes the collection feel dated, Vance’s stylistic bravado and lush, baroque prose create compelling worlds that blur the line between fantasy and far-flung future-world SF. Vance has won Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy and Edgar awards.”
Publishers Weekly, January 2007


As Game Designer

Schizm: Mysterious Journey (aka Mysterious Journey: Schizm)
Grand Prix, Utopiales 2001
Seal of Excellence 2001, The Adrenaline Vault

“One of the finest adventures of 2001. On a number of levels, the game is simply brilliant and belongs on the ‘must play’ list for any serious adventurer.”
Cindy Kyser, Just Adventure, November 2001

“Schizm is an utterly absorbing and mesmerizing offering…Action is not what keeps you riveted, but rather curiosity about how the story will unravel…Schizm has impressed me so much that it has shot to the top of my adventure-puzzle list…The superb graphics and sound, combined with a truly intriguing story and absolutely absorbing gameplay, make Schizm a real winner…Science fiction and fantasy elements are magnificently blended to create a refreshingly new and satisfying play experience that earns the Adrenaline Vault’s Seal of Excellence.” (Rating: 4.5/5)
Bob Mandel, The Adrenaline Vault, 26 November 2001

“These days, the dedicated adventurer has to spend a lot of time separating the wheat from the chaff. Although we are often enticed by artists who design incredible visuals, it is rare that we are rewarded by developers who create great games with eye candy, intelligent puzzles, and a good story…Schizm: The Mysterious Journey is the culmination of three years of effort by Detalion and L.K. Avalon…What a delight to see that this team has evolved to produce Schizm…Perhaps the addition of Australian science fiction writer Terry Dowling made the difference. Or, perhaps the developers have honed their skills and are now more skilled at all facets of game design.”
Cindy Kyser, Just Adventure, November 2001

“Schizm: Mysterious Journey is unquestionably an excellent and challenging holistic adventure, and will be well up my list of favourites…this game impressed me enormously…it remained wondrous till the end…the mystery was satisfactorily resolved, and it made particular sense given the trials I had gone through to get there…For fans of the big canvas multiple-path challenge (think Riven); or for anyone else looking for a distinctive immersive week, this is an exceptional game.”
Steve Ramsey, Quandary, November 2001

“It is a class act in almost every respect…We were very impressed. It should absolutely delight anyone who enjoyed Riven or Obsidian. Highly recommended! Our choice for Game Of The Year 2001.”
Mr Bill’s Adventureland Review, 2001

“A minor classic that will be revered by adventure gamers and Myst lovers worldwide.”
(Grade: A)
Randy Sluganski, Just Adventure, October 2001

“Schizm: Mysterious Journey is graphical, first person perspective, 3D pre-rendered adventure game with a compelling nonviolent SF story combined with highly non-linear game play, where the player chooses the order in which most of the puzzles are solved…seamlessly integrated with the fascinating story created in collaboration with the well known award-winning Australian science fiction writer Terry Dowling, appealing to everyone from newcomers to the field to die-hard adventure gamers. The story itself unfolds as an intriguing puzzle waiting to be solved…Schizm is a Must Have for every gamer.”
Bert Jamin, Games Over, 1 September 2001

“How about the story? In one word: great! But what can you expect? The story is written in collaboration with no one else but Terry Dowling…an award-winning Australian science fiction writer. And with Schizm, he did an outstanding job once again. While playing Schizm the story of the game is thrilling from the very beginning until the very end. Schizm is also one of those games where you hate to have finished the game. Believe me, you'll never get enough of this one.”
Bert Jamin, Games Over, 1 September 2001

“Schizm certainly delivers an adventure experience on a grand scale that will challenge the most deductive intellect. If you can look beyond its difficulty level at the living, breathing world around you and pursue this journey to its mysterious end, I guarantee you will feel it was worth it.”
Tom King, Adventure Gamers, 19 October 2003,299

“The premise of Schizm: Mysterious Journey, the new game from Polish designers LW Avalon [sic], is that in the year 2083, humans discover the planet Argilus. A survey ship lands and its team of scientists find incredible cities, quaint towns and fantastic industrial centers, but no inhabitants. Doors are unlocked, meals are unfinished and machines are still running, but there is no sign of the beings that lived, ate and worked on this world. As the game opens, it is 10 months later, and a supply ship manned by Hanna Grant and Sam Mainey arrives at Argilus. They are unable to make contact with the survey team, their ship's systems start to fail, and they have to ride two different crash pods to the surface… From this premise, Schizm unfolds as an adventure game in the Myst tradition…To play Schizm, you have to be the sort of person who likes having their brain teased, and who doesn't have to be killing things to have fun. If you are that sort of person, you'll have a great time working through the ten gigabytes of game world to solve the final challenge.” (Grade: A)
Eric T. Baker, Games,

“Schizm is a game that lets you explore a truly alien world. The sense of immersion is good, helped by the first person view. It has an interesting story, and the puzzles make a lot of sense given the story and the setting…The production values of Schizm are top-notch…a well-built, solid adventure game.”
John Bowlin, Game Chronicles, 1 November 2002

“Thinking of Schizm I remember the great storyline, the amazing graphics, sounds and not in the least the difficult logic-based puzzles.”
Jerome, Just Adventure, 5 January 2004


Schizm II: Chameleon (aka Mysterious Journey II: Chameleon)

“The story, written by Australian Science fiction writer, Terry Dowling, is an interesting one and immediately grabs you into discovering the rest of it. The characters and world involved are unique and very alien like in their appearance. Though you and your race are human, the rest of the world around you is very different and exotic…A short and simple interface that doesn’t get in the way of your game, great storytelling, and a myriad of puzzles to keep you occupied for some time.”
Alexander “Darke” Dinkel, Game Club Central, 21 August 2004

“The game’s story is by far the best part about the entire package…Mysterious Journey II will have you immediately being brought in and captivated by the whole thing. You’ll want to finish the game just for that reason alone. The story unfolds before you as you complete puzzles, gather clues, and throughout the cut scenes in the game…For the puzzle lover, this is heaven. Probably the hardest puzzles I’ve ever played. But beware you don’t bite off more than you can chew. This game is tough and you may be searching for walkthroughs before the game has even begun.”
Frederico Garcia, Game Raiders, 29 December 2003

“For anyone looking for a challenging and difficult adventure game, look no farther than Mysterious Journey II. The unique story line, tried and true gameplay, and good graphics will please…Mysterious Journey II is a good adventure game that should appeal to all adventure fans.”
Game Zone, 15 December 2003

“The story is pretty darn good, almost reason enough to play the game, and the urge to see what happens next may just propel you through the puzzles when your patience starts to flag.”, 22 December 2003


Sentinel: Descendants in Time (aka Realms of Illusion)

“If you take [Sentinel] purely by the merits of its gameplay, it feels and plays a great deal like the next generation of Myst style games should: full 3D worlds rich in puzzles to explore. The ability to walk around freely is very nice, and Sentinel's art design is sharp enough to carry the immersion. That’s just looking at the gameplay, though. If we look at the plot instead, Sentinel feels like one of the best episodes of The Outer Limits ever made… It’s one of the best written adventure games I've played in years as far as story goes.”
Gordy Wheeler,, 7 February 2005

“The influence of Myst on Sentinel is obvious and the comparison unavoidable, but Sentinel is much more than a clone. The folks at Detalion have taken those things which made Myst a success, refined them and done the job even better. They have out Mysted Myst…Sentinel is a Triple Treat – it has a great story, enjoyable puzzles and gorgeous graphics. And it balances all three so that you are left wanting more of everything.”
Robert Washburne, Just Adventure, 21 December 2004

“The story was gripping and held me captive for the entire game. The concepts were intriguing and had me thinking for days later. And while the immediate conflicts are resolved, there is much more of the story to be told. I want the sequel, NOW! This was truly a class ‘A’ effort.”
Robert Washburne, Just Adventure, 21 December 2004

“What is it that makes you play videogames?…Whatever your answer is, it’s unlikely to run along the lines of wanting to get absorbed into a gripping plot and thoroughly believable alternate world, albeit with absolutely no action at all, because even if this was an activity you’d enjoy, you just wouldn’t expect it from a computer game. We get these thrills from films and books and there they usually stay. Well, what if you were to take the above conditions and apply them to a videogame? The answer is you’d get a game which is even harder to stop playing than it is to put your favourite book down and one which also leaves you with a tremendously satisfying feeling at the end. Only two games have ever done this for me, the first being the legendary Myst, over ten years ago and the second being Sentinel – Descendants in Time…although there are plenty of Myst clones out there, few capture the magic of the original as dramatically as Sentinel – Descendants in Time.”
Rob Edmondson, RealGamer,  Tuesday 22 March 2005

“It remains to be seen whether Sentinel – Descendants in Time will be seen as a leap forward…for the adventure genre but it’s certainly a game which stands out as one of the better adventure games produced in recent years, and thoroughly deserves to rub shoulders with the likes of Myst.” (Rating: 8.8/10)
Rob Edmondson, RealGamer, Tuesday 22 March 2005

“Sentinel: Descendants in Time is a most enjoyable and mostly satisfying game. Despite being a bit too generous with the sound puzzles, it’s a lot of fun sorting out the problems and following the story. I would recommend it for anyone with a good ear, a sharp eye, and a love of exploring.” (Rating: 4/5)
Rosemary Young, Quandary, January 2005

“Fortunately, Sentinel does have more than just sensory candy working for it. Even in barren landscaped games with not a person in sight, the story can give a point of depth and sparkle to what would otherwise be a sterile field of play…While the plot synopsis could probably be laid out on a short page, it has ample twists and turns to keep you engaged along the way…Even better, the tale weaves its way to a satisfying conclusion. The end story is one of the more unique resolutions in gaming and creates some unexpected surprises.”
Laura Macdonald, Adventure Gamers, 31 January 2005,485/

“Sentinel is a beautiful game, loaded with sensory delights and a player-friendly interface. The story is engaging due its unique central character, and ends in a nicely-crafted twist.”
Laura Macdonald, Adventure Gamers, 31 January 2005,485/

“Sentinel: Descendants in Time… is beautifully designed, and hosts a sophisticated plotline and puzzle group. It is slightly more complex than other adventure games and demands a high level of observation and planning to solve the puzzles. I was very impressed with the scope of the game, and also intrigued with the story… It is beautiful, fun, and extensive enough to be worth the money. You will not be disappointed.”
Angie Kibiloski, Computer Times, Computer Times Editor’s Choice, April 2005

“Adventure games need a decent story to ensure that the player will want to see a resolution to the story. Weak stories generally lead to weak games, and not just in this genre. Sentinel’s story is written by Terry Dowling, author of dozens of science-fiction books and short stories. The game has a polished and interesting story blended with puzzles that fit the plot fairly well.”
Stephen Macek, Loaded Inc, Our Top Games for February 2005, 17 February 2005

“Sentinel is a game worth playing even if you are not a fan of the adventure genre. The pick-up-and-play nature and the level of attention paid to graphics, sound and story truly make this worth every penny…If you are easily frustrated, you may not see this one through to the end, but if you are patient, you will experience a fine game.” (Rating: 8.2/10)
Stephen Macek, Loaded Inc, Our Top Games for February 2005, 17 February 2005

“I played [Myst], loved it, and have been hooked on adventure games ever since. Now that Myst V has been announced and that franchise will soon be at an end, I've wondered what game might take its place. After playing Sentinel: Descendants in Time, I think I've discovered the game that can do the job. This game is everything that an adventure game is supposed to be.”
Mark Hasley, Mr Bill’s Adventureland Review, January 2005

“Sentinel: Descendants in Time is a game that brings a fresh new feel to the adventure puzzle genre…attractive enough to keep you coming back for more… The compelling unfolding plot made the game worthwhile to play and kept you engaged to finish more puzzles…Sentinel was a gem to play. I really enjoyed it and it took up a fair amount of time. Overall it beats most of the other games in the puzzle genre.” (Rating 8.2/10)
Game Plasma, 6 January 2005

“Sentinel looks and sounds great, the storyline keeps you wanting more and the puzzles really get the grey matter working.”
The Sunday Post, Power Up, January 2005

“A riveting narrative…The intentions behind Dormeuse’s actions makes for a captivating ride that will most likely keep you wondering, and most importantly, keep you interested…Sentinel’s gameplay isn’t its strongest point, but that isn’t a putdown. Instead, the stunning graphics and excellent storyline take the spotlight.” (Rating: 8/10)
Anthony Karge, PC Review, 31 December 2004

“Sentinel: Descendants in Time is another in a series of offerings from Detalion, and follows closely on the heels of – and in the style of – its predecessors, Reah, Schizm: Mysterious Journey and Mysterious Journey II. Having thoroughly enjoyed the previous games, I approached Sentinel with eager anticipation – nor was I to be disappointed.” (Rating: 4.5/5)
Frank D. Nicodem, Jr, Universal Hint System, 20 January 2005




001 Schizm Mysterious Journey 2001 004 Schizm Mysterious Journey 2001
006 Mysterious Journey II Chameleon 2004 009 Sentinel Descendants in Time 2004