I believe that Voices of the Damned might be the best story collection I've ever read! Every. Single. Story. Rocked. There wasn't even one dud hiding within these gems. What there was was perversity, erotically charged horror, body horror, bizarro horror, aliens and unbelievably awesome artwork. The artwork was a feast for the eyes, as much as the stories were a feast for my twisted brain and soul. Artists like Daniele Serra and Clive Barker shine within and each tale is prefaced by works (paintings, drawings) representing some facet of the story. Speaking of which, these were my favorites:
Sister Cilice - starts us off. She appears in three stories in this collection and I loved all three. The Sister is a nun, albeit an unsatisfied one. Since masturbation is a sin last I knew, there's no way the Sister is making it into heaven. But she is making it.
Zulu Zombies-This was an unusual zombie tale. Words of caution to you: If you ever find yourself in possession of a bottle which contains the spirits of Zulu warriors, be careful with it! This tale made me chuckle in horrified delight.
American Mutant - In which Reverend Billy Bob discovers he has a son. But his son isn't normal, and the good Reverend immediately begins to scheme as to how he can exploit his son's aberrations.
Botophobia - is a fear of basements. Lorraine is afraid of her parents' basement and for damn good reason. She is scared of face sucking spiders, but there are things much, much worse than that waiting for her in the cellar.
Polyp - Definition: Colon polyps are growths on the lining of your colon or rectum. I loved this messed up, NASTY little short and the artwork for this tale was disturbing-but not nearly as disturbing as what happens when Vincent heads to the doctor for his yearly colonoscopy. (I strongly advise you not read this story while you're eating.)
Writer's Block -Started off reminding me of Misery, but then veered off somewhere into hot sex with a 500+year old witch and you know it can only go downhill from there.
There's no other way to say it-this collection KICKED ASS! It had everything-hot sex and erotic horror, bizarre bloody situations, messed up fairy tales, humor and excellent writing. I can't help but admire the imagination from which a collection like this could emanate. Seriously, Barbie Wilde's imagination is a place only the brave and twisted should enter. I warn you though, once you enter, you might not want to leave. I was sad when this collection was over.
My highest possible recommendation to those horror readers that love bizarro, erotic horror, body horror and just plain messed up fun!
*I received a free e-ARC of this book from Barbie Wilde, in exchange for an honest review. This is it.*
How to get your copy:
SST Publications has decided to do two editions of Voices of the Damned:
1. A full color, standard print, Trade Hardback
2. A full color, premium print, Deluxe Edition Hardback. When ordered directly from SST’s website, the Deluxe Edition will come with a free collector’s edition full color paperback of just the artwork. Both these editions will be available on Amazon on the 31st of October (but not the free paperback art book, as mentioned before.)
The pre-order page is: https://www.sstpublications.co.uk/Voices-of-the-Damned.php