Shock Totem #10 (Jan 2016)
- Closing for Submissions
- Shock Totem Returns!
- Apex Publications Acquires Shock Totem Book Line
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 8
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 7
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 6
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 5
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 4
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 3
- The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Thing: Musings on Jaws, Part 2
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Tag Archives: Jeffrey Ford
There are currently about nine-hundred and thirty-two Lovecraft-themed anthologies out in the wild, with maybe another seventy in the works. It’s a popular concept. I like Lovecraftian fiction but quite similar to the way over-saturation made me cringe at the word “Zombie,” I’m starting to wince when I hear the “L” word.
When I was asked to review this book, I hesitated until I saw the authors involved. It includes some of my current darlings: Cameron Pierce, Stephen Graham Jones, Jeffrey Ford, and others. The idea of this anthology is refreshing, instead of asking authors to channel their inner Lovecraft they were told to read his famous essay, “Supernatural Horror in Literature,” and then turn in a tale inspired by quotes from it.
So it ain’t all tentacles and fishy mutants. But don’t be all that sad, those things are in here too.
The volume opens with “Past Reno,” by Brian Evenson, in which a man runs both from and toward his past, wanting to claim and also deny his inheritance. Paul Tremblay delivered a short strange tale called “_______” in which a family grows closer in a subtle and unsettling way. Stephen Graham Jones’s hands in “Doc’s Story,” a fantastic story of a family and their curse. Like everything else that the man has written, it’s brilliant.
Cameron Pierce’s “Help Me” is a bizarre and heady tale about a man and his otherworldly catch. Tim Lebbon‘s “The Lonley Wood” is a dark voice in an echoey chamber. Closing out the collection is “The Semi-finished Basement,” by Nick Mamatas, a darkly wry tale of a local group who meet and discuss world demise over cookies and drink…this one has teeth and a great winning smile.
There numerous other tales as well, featuring rituals and sacrifice, evil fairies and demonic beings, monsters and misdeeds. All are pretty good.
Overall this is a satisfying anthology. Editor Jesse Bullington has done a good job of putting together a sharp product, unique in its premise and put together well. The stories are strong and while some are a bit, I’ll say, dry, most go down easy and quick. The number of new writers (defined as names I was not familiar with) is pretty high and I wasn’t disappointed by any of them. If you’re a fan of all things Lovecratian, then make a spot on the shelf for this one.
Available through Stone Skin Press.
One of the great things about reviewing is the opportunity to read new authors. You can tell if you’ve just discovered someone special to keep an eye on.
Will Ludwigsen is someone to watch. This collection of short stories is nothing short of riveting. Called In Search Of and Others because of the author’s fascination with the TV series of the same name that ran from 1976 to 1982, the stories themselves also feature people searching for answers to the questions in their mundane lives.
From the foreword to the story notes, this collection will keep you turning the pages. And don’t skip the introduction by Jeffrey Ford; it’s a great read in itself.
The first story, “In Search Of,” questions are answered—maybe some of your own—in a very satisfying way. I found it fascinating, and hoping some of the answers were true.
“The Speed of Dreams” has a little girl questioning if you can gain more time in your life through dreams. It was a really interesting premise with a breathtaking ending.
“We Were Wonder Scouts” reminded me a bit of Picnic at Hanging Rock. Surreal and creepy, the story will leave you wondering just what went on. But you are left to draw your own conclusions.
One of my favorite stories, “Remembrance is Something Like a House,” creeped me out in a great way. A house desperately needs to tell its story to a former owner, and searches for years until it finds him. It sounds out there, but after reading this, you will believe that this house did what it needed to do.
All of the stories in this collection are well-written and I enjoyed them all very much. If you like short stories, you will absolutely love In Search Of and Others. Definitely not your typical horror stories, there is a depth to these tales you don’t usually find in the genre.
If you’re looking for something that will grab your emotions, then this is what you are looking for.