NEW NOVEL BY DAVID GARDINER ENGINEERING PARADISE was launched on Dec 12th in London and is now available from the author and from Amazon etc.Click to see details and review.

The Holocaust has shown us that the creation of hell on earth is just a matter of
engineering. The creation of an earthly paradise is an engineering problem also







Short stories  By David Gardiner

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Below you can read a review of the book and an interview with the author

 Reviewed by Jason Makansi

The Rainbow Man, a mythical story-telling gadfly, at once the court jester, town drunk, and muttering old sage, introduces each story in this artful collection, where a sense of dignity seems to permeate the space around the words, and the circus of colorful characters that speak them. We're introduced to a psychological therapist who decides you, dear reader, are his next "chat up," a strange tenant who just seems to start talking to you about how "normal" he isn't, and a man who talks to you about his comatose wife. No, wait. He's talking to his comatose wife! 

A multi-layered, sophisticated story, Sam, one of the longer ones of the collection, deals with recovery from a serious head injury, and the uncovering of two people from the same brain. Through this story, the reader embarks on a journey through the "firings of tiny brain cells and the pattern of their interconnection." 

Gardiner uses the word parable to describe his stories. Indeed, Man the Pumps! which, lo and behold, even begins with "Once upon a time," is a thinly veiled send-up of wayward faith and terrorism perpetrated in the name of religion, mostly pointing at radical Islam. But it works.  The Claddagh Brooch features a man regretting late in life not acting on a crush at work. The day he finally gets up the nerve to express his feelings is the day she leaves their place of work to get married. Moral of this parable: Time is short; don't waste it. Again, simple, almost child-like, but it works. 

Even in a rather gruesome story, New Gloves, there's a dignity to the dialogue as one character terrorizes another with the threat of an infectious disease in retaliation for being accosted. You won't believe what the gloves cover up. At the other end of the spectrum is Cambridge, one of those stories where nothing really happens, but the situation keeps you reading along. In this case, a man and a woman, both in other relationships, meet each year at a music festival with the only rule that they must tell each other the truth. Their mutual understanding and care can't be compromised even by the fact that they tell each other about their other affairs and trysts, too. Again, there's a dignity to the story, the way it makes us yearn for mutual respect, though we know this ideal relationship doesn't come close to reflecting the messiness of real life, and rampant infidelity is the norm for this "couple." New Gloves and Cambridge certainly demonstrate Gardiner's range with his material. 

My personal favorite, Light of the World, harkens back to Twain and the traveling hucksters making a buck off that "old time religion". Reverend Fishbone offers salvation and healing, for a price, but the reader gets an insidious message about the relativity of evil. 

"'Folks either help themselves or nobody helps them. Everything just depends on what you've got going on in here.' He tapped his head. 'There ain't nothing out there. Just the dark.'"

The last line is biblical in modern day proportion: "Artificial light manufactured by mankind to hold the darkness of the world at bay." In the end, Rainbow Man delivers. Dignified, simply told tales, wise beyond their words.

Read the story Light of the World from this collection on



Twenty-five of my most popular stories in a single collection

Order from:
THE BOOK DEPOSITORY (free postage worldwide)

or simply buy it now from the author's website using PayPal for £7.00 only, inclusive of inland postage. Let David know if you would like it signed or any special dedication, and don't forget to include your postal address in the 'message' section of the PayPal order form.

Reviews of The Rainbow Man (first edition, 2003)

The stories themselves are a joy. They are very much that very thing, short stories, which now tend to be disappearing in a welter of "Art". ...Gardiner has the talent to depict character successfully in few words and work that character logically in his given setting. ...He creates scenes and characters which work and which make you think.

Review by Chris Williams
Tregolwyn Book Reviews

You pick up this book with its charming exterior thinking you are going read a collection of equally charming short stories, seasoned perhaps with a little grit to raise it above the tame, but what you actually get are jawdropping vignettes of the sort of lives only a writer of David's calibre could relate with such vivid and at times disturbing realism and all this whilst at the same time managing to avoiding the usual, the jaded and the hackneyed to ensnare your attention. Nothing is as it seems and the more mundane the surface, the more layers there appear to be; we are talking about a true literary onion here, multi-layered and quite able to bring tears to your eyes.

Binnacle Press Book of the Month Review

...without exception all twenty-three of the stories, exploring life both familiar and unfamiliar, leave the reader with something to think about, and linger in the mind long after the final page is turned.

The Irish Emigrant
BookView Ireland :: November, 2003 :: Issue No.100

James Joyce meets Ray Bradbury in David Gardiner’s collection of tales wrapped in the imaginings of children who hear a Cassandra/Wandering Jew-type sage mutter such things as “Ye know the trouble with youse northerners, your memories is too bloody long!”

From the secretly vengeful ex-nun propitiating a religious fraud on a smugly progressive church in “Immaculata” to the lovelorn man and woman in “Blind Date,” each thinking the other is too good for them, Gardiner’s characters face the loneliness of illusion and the loneliness of truth. As the war criminal of “Letting Go” asks, “That’s all you want of me? The truth? A small thing like that?”


Solid Gold is an anthology of the very best short fiction from Gold Dust magazine, as well as some specially commissioned stories and stories from members of the Gold Dust team. Contains one new story of mine not published anywhere else.

THE BOOK DEPOSITORY (free postage worldwide)

New review for Solid Gold




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