logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Weird-Tales
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-03-06 15:36
The Secret of Ventriloquism by Jon Padgett
The Secret of Ventriloquism - Jon Padgett

 

The genre of fiction that I identify as weird tales has always appealed to me, though it's hard to describe. There are also...flavors of weird tales, they're not always the same, even though they may belong to the same genre. For instance, Thomas Ligotti may be described as an author of weird fiction. While I love his style, I often find his work too nihilistic for me. Laird Barron could be described as an author of weird fiction as well, though his style generally leans toward cosmic horror. Lastly, Robert Aickman is admired as an author of weird fiction, but I often find his stories to be rather...unsatisfying. Jon Padgett, however, satisfied ALL of my wants and needs as a reader of dark and weird fiction. These stories have a clear beginning and end, (though some continue on, in other stories), and are as utterly satisfying as short fiction can be. In fact, I'd call them brilliant. That's right. BRILLIANT!

 

Starting with the appealing cover, (what horror fan could resist it?), and ending with Little Evie singing, in the story "Escape to the Mountain," (which makes me shudder just thinking about it.) These amazing stories are beyond impressive, each and every one of them.

 

After "Origami Dreams" I will never look at folded paper in the same way again. I will never see the word "appendage" again and not think of Solomon Kroth and his endless research in the University Library. I will not pass the abandoned paper mills in nearby towns without thinking of those ugly "paper mill days" and the filth they spewed upon the town of Dunnstown. I will never again pass a swamp without thinking of the room in "Indoor Swamp":

 

"Perhaps there is a room that contains a worn vintage tea party set with frilly dressed dolls, but one of those doll's heads gradually rotates completely around, going from an expression of knowing, smiling perversion to an open-mouthed, silent O of horror and back again."

 

I cannot possibly give this book a higher recommendation. As you read it, you may feel dizzy at times, or maybe even a little sick.

 

"You may begin to imagine you hear something that sounds like static or even the roar of an airliner. you may feel lightheaded like you are going to pass out. Ignore these feelings. They are normal."

 

They are a trifle. YOU are a trifle.

 

If you want to fully understand the meanings of these things, you MUST read this book. For me it started with the cover. It was the cover that made me BUY this book, rather than accept the free copy submitted for review to Horror After Dark. That's right, I bought it. You should too. Seriously. Right. Now.

 

Go here: The Secret of Ventriloquism

(You can add the audio for only $1.99 more!)

 

Usually this is where I say I was provided a free copy in exchange for honest feedback. However, (see above), I bought this book, and this is my honest opinion.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-11-14 14:19
Eat the Night by Tim Waggoner
Eat the Night - Tim Waggoner

 Eat the Night really worked for me!

 

At first, this story features 3 plot-lines which, (of course), eventually end up coming together. Joan and Jon discover a hidden door which leads to a basement, something they thought they didn't have in their new home. Kevin works for Maintenance, an extremely important job, the details of which become clear as the story moves on. Debbie's story is the third-a woman subjecting herself to the whims of cult leader/heavy metal star, Maegarr.

 

The world-building regarding Maintenance and the Gyre is definitely something I'm interested in reading more about. This relates to cosmic horror but without any Lovecraftian Old Ones or anything of that sort. For this reason my curiosity about this world is piqued. I want MORE!

 

These three lines came together in a more than satisfactory way. I loved the ending and I believe if the story were any longer, it would have been difficult to maintain the level of tension that hummed throughout. I do have one question though: will there be more stories set in this world? I am hoping the answer is YES.

 

Highly recommended, especially for fans of cosmic horror, (with or without Old Ones)!

 

You can get your copy here: Eat the Night

 

*Thank you to Net Galley and Darkfuse for providing an e-ARC of this story in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-11-07 19:25
Shadow Moths by Cate Gardner
Shadow Moths: Frightful Horrors Quick Reads - Cate Gardner,Simon Bestwick

 

Shadow Moths collects two short stories into one very slim book.

 

We Make Our Own Monsters Here is a very short story about a puppeteer of sorts going on an audition. It's strange, but I liked it! Check Harding checks in to the Palmerston Hotel, a place he's planning on staying for the night before he goes on an audition in the morning. The hotel is strange, his room is strange and Check himself is VERY strange. He passes the night practicing his shadow puppets on the wall and the next morning, takes the bus to his audition. I can't say much more without spoiling this weird tale, but I can say that I loved it and I wish it were longer. I have a thing for puppeteers, (shadow or otherwise), and if you do too, I think you will enjoy this eerie little tale.

 

Blood Moth Kiss was another short, but strange story. It was rather surreal and well...shadowy. I'm not quite sure I understand what happened, but in my opinion, I think this was a vignette about war and our fears; be they real or imagined, like the blood moths exploding throughout this tale. In either case, war is sad for everyone involved, on all sides, and that's what I'm taking away from Blood Moth Kiss.

 

Both of these stories are beautifully written and evocative.

 

I've not heard of Cate Gardner until earlier today, but now that I've read a few tasty treats from her library, I think I'd like to read a few more. Highly recommended!

 

You can buy your copy here: Shadow Moths: Frightful Horrors Quick Reads

 

*I received a free e-copy of this short book in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-11-03 15:44
Paupers' Graves by James Everington
Paupers' Graves - James Everington

 

Katherine is tasked with putting together an exhibit based on the lives of the forgotten souls buried in the paupers' graves at the Anglican cemetery. Being the uptight woman that she is, she wants to ignore all the horrible things these people went through while they lived. (Poverty, disease and mental illnesses, to name just a few.) Unfortunately, the dead want the truth to be told. They will do whatever they need to do to Katherine and her research team to make that happen.

 

The cemetery on which this story is based is real. Here's a picture of a small part of it. What a place to set a story! I could easily picture what Katherine's team, (Katya and Alex), were going through after getting a look at the location. Imagine a place where all the bodies/bones were just tossed in together, with only small markers to give a general idea of where a person was located.

 

width=

 

The characters in this story were where the action lived. What happened to each of them had a lot to do with who they were and their outlook on the world. This tale also drew some parallels between the past and present. Maybe we no longer toss the bones of the poor into pits or clapboard boxes, but has the world really changed that much since those days? Have we eliminated the problems of homelessness, drug addiction and/or mental illness? With all of our science and knowledge, have we brought about the changes that such wisdom should bring?

 

Pauper's Graves makes the reader think about that and I'm usually a fan of books that me think. I did have a few issues, though-at one point Katherine's name was used instead of Katya's, and there was one point where Alex drew in her breath, even though he's a guy. For these couple of items, I did deduct one star.

 

To wrap up, this is a beauty of an atmospheric, dark fiction story that puts the reader right into the thick of things. In the dark and the fog, the dead insist that their stories be told. Are you brave enough to hear them? Highly recommended!

 

Get your copy here: Paupers' Graves

 

*I was provided a free e-copy of this novella in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-10-30 16:48
The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume One
The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories - Professor of Strategic Management Bernard Taylor,Michael P. Kube-McDowell,Christopher Priest

 

The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume One is one of my favorite collections of this year, and that's saying a lot because I've read some STELLAR collections in 2016. This is one of the rare times that every. single. story. worked.

 

The stand-outs to me were: Miss Mack by Michael McDowell. It's McDowell. How could it not be good? This starts out as such a nice story about a friendship between two women and then it takes a sharp turn into darkness. Permanent darkness.

 

Furnished Apartments by Forest Reid (I would be remiss if I did not mention the excellent intro to this little known author's story. This, and the story itself made me want to immediately read more of Reid's work.) This is a creepy little story about (surprise!) a furnished apartment for rent.

 

A Psychological Experiment by Richard Marsh Most known these days for his novel, "The Beetle", Richard Marsh wrote over 80 books and 300 short stories. This particular tale is a delicious story of revenge featuring some creepy crawlies. I absolutely loved it.

 

The Progress of Arthur Crabbe by Stephen Gregory Stephen Gregory is another favorite author of mine. He's not as prolific as I wish he would be. Valancourt somehow dug up this nasty tale, (which, once again, features a bird), originally published in the Illustrated London News back in 1982. I am so glad they did! I have read everything I could get my hands on from Mr. Gregory. Without Valancourt, I would never have had the opportunity to read this gem.

 

California Burning by Michael Blumlein Michael Blumlein is another author introduced to me via Valancourt Books. They published his collection: The Brains of Rats which contains one of the most disturbing short stories I've ever read. Once again, Blumlein knocked my socks off with this story of a man whose bones would not burn.

 

The Terror on Tobit by Charles Birkin A beautifully written tale and one I found to send chills up my spine. Not only because of the spookiness of the story, but because of the amazing prose. I've never even heard of this guy before, but now I want to read everything he's written.

 

The Head and the Hand by Christopher Priest Probably most well known for his novel The Prestige , Christopher Priest's contribution to this collection was superb. It reminded me a bit of Katherine Dunn's Geek Love and makes me wonder if she ever read The Head and the Hand. It's a rather weird tale, but I loved it. Plus it made me REALLY want to read The Prestige which has been sitting on my Kindle for well over a year.

 

I could go on and on, because as I said every story in this collection worked for me. I can't write a review that's a long as the book though, so just a few more things. The intros to these stories were excellent. Many of them talk about how these authors were prolific back in their day and now have been forgotten. I love that Valancourt is dedicated to bringing these authors back into the public eye. I'm going to do my best to read more of the authors that appealed most to me, like Priest and Birkin.

 

This collection receives my highest recommendation! Every single story is thought provoking and even the introductions to the tales are well written and informative. Plus, these aren't a bunch of stories that you've already read in countless other collections and anthologies. Valancourt worked hard to bring you enticing pieces that will likely be unfamiliar to most contemporary horror readers. All I can say to that is BRAVO! (And MORE, PLEASE!!)

 

Get your own copy here: The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories

 

*A free copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review. This is it!*

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?