Six stories and one diary.
In the diary, "English Weather", we follow a young Ontario soldier's basic training in Saskatchewan, a train ride across the country just as he turns 21, and life on a very crowded troop ship in dangerous waters between Halifax and Liverpool in 1943.
The title story, "A Fear of the Dark", describes the meeting between two young people on a summer's night in cottage country, "a fear of the dark", a fear of life, in 1979.
"Tide Out" describes a hitchhiker's washed-out vision of a tidal bore in 1974, the end of the spirit of the 60s.
"The Midnight Shift" charts the antics of shift workers on the factory floor and the frantic flight of birds trapped in the ceiling above the machinery.
"Oak Trees" brings us to the early 90s and a teacher's essay assignment: the War of 1812.
In "A Nightmare in the Orchard", two unionists, (president and union secretary) pick cherries at a local farm to supplement their strike pay.
"A London Birthday", May 2001: the author visits the Tower of London for his fiftieth birthday, the same month author Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe) dies of heart failure in Los Angeles, age 49.
History and personal life: how does one find the appropriate response to the anxiety of living in your own time and living in a time that is not your own?
The author, John G. Paterson, was born in St. Catharines, Ontario, where he has lived until recently. He has published two other books of fiction with North Door Books: Jon Hart, six tales of the supernatural (2007) and The Vice Principal and other stories (2008).