The Lagan Fishers
by Terry Dowling
How much of an influence has Terry Dowling been on me over the last 12 years of my career? Here's a hint: he's the reason I decided to limit this anthology of the mind to one entry per author-- otherwise, we'd be reading the table of contents for It Could be You Too: The Best of Terry Dowling. When it comes to Australian short story writers, he's the master, with a string of brilliant tales stretching back decades, through a series of collections that mark the absolute high point of Australian SF: Rynosseros; Wormwood; An Intimate Knowledge of the Night; Blackwater Days... the titles are an honour roll, and if you haven't read them, you've let yourself down, and more importantly, you've let me down.
Dowling's stock in trade is the ordinary man overcome, and in many cases outdone, by the imposition of the unknowably weird upon his daily life. His narratives are littered with recognisable communities adapting to a new world, with the glitteringly alien overlaying the familiar landscapes. For me, every Dowling story is a treat to be savoured. The Lagan Fishers is a favourite-- one of the first Dowling stories I came across and one of the most quintessentially Dowlinesque.
Thanks to the wonder of the internet, you can read it here.