A Bird of Dereliction

Fiction - Dystopia
287 Pages
Reviewed on 08/23/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

For no particular reason or purpose Charlie Selkirk was born, in the northern town of Hull.
Apart from allegedly nearly drowning in a very shallow bath, he had an uneventful childhood. He attended the University of Durham in an attempt to extend his limited educational horizons. The results were sadly disappointing.
Surprisingly in the circumstances, he elected to move to the Midlands, with the aim of extending the educational horizons of the young people he found there.
The results were similarly disappointing.
To escape his mounting failures, he moved further and further to the West of the country. Inexplicably, he ended up in a bleak location on a hillside overlooking the sea, on the border of Cornwall and Devon, with six goats. As the goats died one by one, he started to realise the finitude of existence. In 2020 he decided to return to the North to live in Scarborough and await death.
Randomly, between the two points of extremis, he wrote the collection of short stories titled ‘A Bird of Dereliction’.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

A Bird of Dereliction is a collection of 12 surreal tales. Written by Charlie Selkirk, these short stories push the boundaries of your imagination to provide some poignant insights into the human condition. A person suffering from severe societal alienation visits a physician for a cure and ends up causing a disaster. A dignitary from a dying planet seeks a remedy for his deteriorating health from a healer on Earth who has other plans in mind. A serial killer indulges in a poison-inducing dialogue to lace a pear with toxicity. The threat of a roaming polar bear causes havoc inside a university campus, signaling the advent of a mass extinction event. After unexpectedly losing a tooth, a man calls upon an old dentist friend for help, only to watch him turn into a sack full of legumes.

Wacky, to the point of being bizarre, A Bird of Dereliction is a short story collection unlike any other. And I mean that in a good way. Author Charlie Selkirk takes readers on a wildly unpredictable journey, traversing the realms of magical realism, fantasy, and sci-fi to bring you a collection of stories that touch upon some relevant real-world social issues, all packaged within a potent brew of dark humor, absurdism, and satire. Each tale provides a different perspective on the human condition and challenges the preconceived notions of humanity and all it entails. Selkirk's dry humor and sarcastic wit hit all the right notes, and you may find yourself laughing at some of the most inopportune moments. I can't reiterate enough how much I loved A Bird of Dereliction—recommended to all short story lovers.

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

In his book, A Bird of Dereliction, Charlie Selkirk writes about the often sad and unfortunate time between birth and death. Twelve short stories relate tales of fear, the decay of the human condition, and horrific demise. A tour of a home for sale reveals occupants who are unaware of their intended eviction; two brothers learn a confused tale about the mysterious disappearance of their belly buttons; an incensed toddler devises a master scheme and laments his inaccuracies; and a son exacts revenge on his father by plotting a situation that caters to his father's depravity.

Charlie Selkirk has written dark tales that will make you think twice before you answer an advertisement for a room or attend a toddler's birthday party. The plots unfold easily, and there are twists and turns you won't expect. Each story is paced well, and their lengths will accommodate a busy reader's schedule. As the title suggests, the stories contain an element of dereliction, as it seems children have been abandoned, like the lonely boy surrounded by toys, and people have neglected their duty to protect their families, allowing the members to fall to their fates. The language is lovely, with a hint of sarcasm, and the reader will become immersed in the flow of the tales. The author illustrates the use of conflicting dialogue, a concept that will intrigue many readers. A Bird of Dereliction is a great selection for readers who enjoy indulging in strange and mysterious stories.

K.C. Finn

A Bird of Dereliction is a work of fiction in the anthology, dystopia, and absurdist fiction subgenres. It is best suited mature adult readers owing to some dark themes and strong adult content, and it was penned by author Charlie Selkirk. In this riveting collection of twelve tales, we find ourselves delving into surreal satires and dystopian scenarios, exploring the absurdity and dereliction that disrupt our lives. Through bizarre and often macabre narratives, the book examines the strange and disturbing aspects of the world we inhabit. From murderous pears to lethal lodgers, the stories encompass a range of peculiar occurrences, such as families disappearing into sudden floor holes and scheming toddler psychopaths. The collection presents a twisted perspective on life and death, challenging conventional notions and inviting readers to ponder the uncanny and the unusual.

Author Charlie Selkirk's mastery of combining the bizarre with the familiar, along with the thought-provoking themes, created an engaging and thought-provoking read that leaves the little corners of your mind unsettled for a long time after putting the work down. The stories take unexpected turns and challenge traditional narrative structures, making the collection a captivating choice for readers who enjoy literary fiction with a structural twist that is both exciting and unnerving all at once. Selkirk has a particular talent for pacing, never using more words than are absolutely needed but laying the tale out in such a way that its dark, suspenseful timing keeps you hooked. Overall, reading A Bird of Dereliction was an intriguing experience that immersed me in a world of dark humor and unconventional storytelling, and I would not hesitate to recommend this unique literary experience to all fans of the bizarre and macabre.

Alma Boucher

A Bird of Dereliction is a collection of twelve short stories by Charlie Selkirk. The Vendor is about an aspiring buyer who is shown a house. The house is full of people that the vendor knows, and his dog Fletcher is the life and soul of the home. In Anomie, automatic doors at a supermarket do not recognize a particular person and will not open. This continues for most of his life and is getting worse as this individual is gradually disappearing. Bartholomew is planning the perfect crime in The Proof of Miracles. In the interests of his natural growth, Bartholomew’s father and mother had to go, as they posed a threat to his development. McNulty is a lodger in The Brethren of the Snout. The lodger’s persistent sniffing is affecting his landlord, and the landlord is convinced that the lodger wants to kill him.

A Bird of Dereliction by Charlie Selkirk is a combination of imagination and dark humor. This collection of short stories was carefully planned and assembled. Each one was unique with a cast and plot that fitted perfectly. I loved the diversity of characters and the different life issues. I had my interpretation of each story and was intrigued from the start. I could not put it down and just kept turning the pages. The excellent illustrations helped with the humor in the stories. The accounts were engaging and excellently written. I thoroughly enjoyed reading them, and at times I could not help laughing out loud. It is a great collection of tales that show us that we live in a strange and disturbing world.

Rabia Tanveer

A Bird of Dereliction by Charlie Selkirk is a collection of 12 short stories filled with dark humor. They cover different aspects of the bizarre world we live in and the strange people we encounter every day. It has a psychopathic killer toddler, characters exacting revenge, and others with shady fantasies. This collection has it all. The Vendor is the story of a man selling his house as absurd things happen in it. The Pillar of Sodom shares the story of a son who seems to have odd desires regarding his father, and then we have A Bird of Dereliction in which the protagonist seems to be fascinated by his body. Each of these stories shares the deepest, darkest, and weirdest corners of our minds and society.

The moment I read the phrase “Crème De La Crème of Bizarro” in the blurb, I knew I would love this collection. Seeing the names of each of the short stories gave me so much pleasure that I spent a good few minutes reading them. Charlie Selkirk reminded me of Kafka. The accounts are the perfect example of modern absurd literature, and fans of strange, gritty, humorous tales will keep this book on hand to re-read. I enjoyed the twisted narrative style that could have been too much at times, but the author knew when to hold back and when to let go. He struck the perfect balance between horror and the absurd, ensuring that readers will be entertained until the end. Of all of the stories in A Bird of Dereliction, my favorites were The Vendor, The Nettle Eaters, The Proof of Miracles, and Dialogue with A Pear. I enjoyed these four stories the most and went back to them several times. If you enjoy stories that are a little twisted, you will love this collection.

Joshua Kidd

This collection of stories is excellent. The writing is seriously clever, witty, entertaining, and an absolute joy to read. The way Mr. Selkirk builds his worlds in each story is enviable and each one feels like it could be made into a movie. You will meet characters like Bartholomew, Dick the Clever, Professor Rowtley, and others as these very unique and intriguing people come to life. I would recommend this book to anyone. It will make you laugh and if you enjoy absurdity, these stories will be a fun reading romp. Buy it already!!! I know I look forward to more from Mr. Selkirk.

Joseph Ferguson

If Rod Serling, Mark Twain, Franz Kafka, Harry Crews, Dean Koontz, and Honoré de Balzac got together to write a collection of short stories, they would likely come up with something akin to Selkirk’s, A Bird of Dereliction. In addition to his own inventive and twisted style, Selkirk exhibits the dialogue of Serling, the wit of Twain, Kafka, Crews, and Koontz’s knack of turning insanity into matter-of-fact prose, while, like Balzac, he seems to possess an intimate knowledge of whatever subject, however arcane, he is dealing with. A master of unique and striking imagery, the book is peppered with delightfully original metaphors and similes. “I always noticed that his arse failed to fill his trousers properly. The material sagged as if he was composed of brittle spindles and pullies.” (p54) Dereliction is a delight from its absurd dedication to a long-dead crustacean, to its sinisterly amusing illustrations, on through its enigmatic back cover blurb (whose mystery will dissolve upon reading the book). Highly recommended. If only there were more stars to give.


This brilliant book contains 12 intriguing stories and has some beautiful illustration round the subject of dereliction. Thanks! A+++

Rachael A

This book was the perfect combination of dark humour and amazing creativity. It is well written and each story is equally as engaging as the next. Charlie has such a quirky imagination which really brings out the comedic sides of his stories. I actually finished the book so quickly as I just couldn’t put it down! I would highly recommend this for anyone looking for some escapism and a good laugh.


This book is quite hard to describe. But I loved it! The author has a great writing style that makes you just want to keep reading, no matter how strange the story. This is a great collection of stories and the author does his job perfectly showing us the reader that we do indeed live in a strange and disturbing world surrounded by some strange and disturbing people. If you have a dark sense of humour you will love this book! I found myself reading in quite a serious voice in my head while literally laughing out loud at parts! There are also some great illustrations in the book to accompany the stories.

Amanda Schroyer

This was an amazing work of fiction. It had a poe vibe mixed with a little king in it. It's poetic and very literary. If you have a dark sense of humor you will love this book. It has a splash of horror in it but more in a thought provoking way. I absolutely loved the unusual illustrations too. Great book! I hope I get to see more works done by this author in the near future. Or even make an adult coloring book with poetry! I would love that

M. Hamnett

That first story started this collection off so well. It was so disquieting and unsettling I couldn’t wait for the next one. The writing style brought to mind Edgar Allan Poe but also the surrealism of movies by Tim burton and Terry Gilliam.
The dark humour was perfectly mixed in with the surreal atmosphere and at times made me laugh out loud like a crazy person.
The absolutely funniest part was the “Apologia” at the end from the author.
There wasn’t one story I didn’t like and flew through all of them.


Interested in reading a bunch of funny, weird, murdery stories with quite a few mentions of man parts? This book is for you! I was amused at certain times, disturbed at others, but at every point I wanted to keep turning the page to see what kind of absurdity was going to happen next. All of the stories were unique but they had the same darkly humorous tone and fit very well together in this collection. The illustrations were an added bonus and complemented the stories nicely.