‘Survivor Song’ a Prescient Tale

I had to stop multiple times while reading Paul Tremblay’s Survivor Song to check whether it had been written before or during the pandemic. And then check again, and again, because the way his fictional society reacted to his fictional outbreak felt far too close to reality circa March-April 2020. But Survivor Song was publishedContinue reading “‘Survivor Song’ a Prescient Tale”

‘Song for the Unraveling of the World’ Strange and Compelling

The first story in Brian Evenson’s collection Song for the Unraveling of the World is less than two pages long. That page and a half, though, is a good litmus test. If you don’t like it, you can confidently move onto some other short story collection. But if you find yourself intrigued and uneased, there’sContinue reading “‘Song for the Unraveling of the World’ Strange and Compelling”

‘Sundial’ Not For the Faint of Heart

In horror, fear can come from a variety of places. Ghosts, demons (real or imagined), zombies, fascists, fascist zombies—the possibilities are endless. In the case of Catriona Ward’s Sundial, the call, as it were, is coming from inside the relationship. From the outside, Rob looks like a picture of suburban perfection: nice clothes, a polishedContinue reading “‘Sundial’ Not For the Faint of Heart”

‘Violent’ Doesn’t Quite ‘Delight’

The premise of These Violent Delights is absolute catnip for me: Romeo and Juliet, retold in 1920s Shanghai as rival gangs. So, Shakespeare influence, check; decadence of the Roaring Twenties, check; political intrigue and organized crime in pre-Revolution China—just download it straight into my brain! So the charitable analysis of how I ended up feelingContinue reading “‘Violent’ Doesn’t Quite ‘Delight’”

‘This Thing’ Brings Shivers

The first time I brought home a—uh, we’ll call it a “home assistant,” my partner scoffed and said we didn’t need anything like that and we’d never use it. The next morning, he told it to play Gregorian chants, and then interrupted the Gregorian chants to ask about the weather. Now, she’s so engrained inContinue reading “‘This Thing’ Brings Shivers”

Character Goes Deep in ‘Luminous Dead’

I love the Nathan Pyle comic about reading. The simple four-panel comic really nails the immersive reader experience. Sometimes the immersion is as good as being on a sailing ship exploring new waters. Sometimes it’s tainted with magic and quarreling gods. And sometimes, it thrusts you in a dark, unpredictable cave where sight and soundContinue reading “Character Goes Deep in ‘Luminous Dead’”

‘Sensor’ Sends Chills

I’ve mentioned before how much I love a good spine-tingling tale. I have to say, though, few stories have as tight a grip on the macabre and the uncomfortable as Junji Ito, for whom the ordinary is only fodder for nightmares. I got my introduction to the manga writer through Uzumaki and have shuddered everyContinue reading “‘Sensor’ Sends Chills”

‘Blackened Teeth’ Will Devour You

I was once told the pacing for a novella should be no different than that of a novel, just scaled down to an appropriate size. While I can see some argument for that, I disagree. Novellas can pack big stories into a slender volume, but they get to the point much faster. There aren’t asContinue reading “‘Blackened Teeth’ Will Devour You”

Vermilion is just really, really disappointing

I’ve been doing a pretty good job of getting the very oldest titles off my TBR, especially since starting this project. There are a few dusty, more obscure ones I’ve had trouble tracking down and had to wait until the ol’ budget was flush enough to make an order. Vermilion is one of those. IContinue reading “Vermilion is just really, really disappointing”

‘My Heart’ Cuts Like a ‘Chainsaw’

Typically the term “unflinching” is used when talking about works of Very Serious Fiction or Nonfiction (an even more serious genre than Very Serious Fiction), of which genre fiction like horror is not typically a part. But the more I read of Stephen Graham Jones’ work, the more I can’t get past that word asContinue reading “‘My Heart’ Cuts Like a ‘Chainsaw’”