What You Make It (1999)

I came to this collection expecting strange and mindbending stuff, something similar to what Smith did in his first three novels. There’s only one story that was like that, “Hell Hath Enlarged Herself”, a brilliant story that mixes nanotech and ghosts. The rest of the stories have much fewer fantasy elements. Many of them could be classified as horror, but less in a supernatural way than in a psychological. It’s not that they are completely without it, but the supernatural things are very downplayed.

Smith seems more interested to get into the head of his characters, probing questions of reality, showing characters who are slowly losing it. Whether this is because of something that’s just in their head or external isn’t really important. The writing is accessible and absorbing throughout the whole collection, despite that most of the stories are rather uncomfortable, none of them are happy reading material. My overall problem with the collection is that I prefer fiction that has more weirdness at the surface and packs more oomph.