Saturday, 21 April 2012

Review of ABERRATIONS edited by Jeremy C. Shipp (Attic Clown Press, 2011)

From a group of horror writers with an impressive set of combined credentials, this is an inexpensive—and if you’re an Amazon Prime member, free—ebook-only collection of ten original tales, each about monsters, including vengeful children, the ghosts of influenza victims, zombie hordes, a demon coughed up by a cat, a not-so-mythical mothman, and some very black and very hairy things. They’re everywhere, both in places you would expect (mountain caves, dark woods, post-apocalyptic landscapes where the limbs of fallen trees are adorned with dogs and deer) and ones you almost certainly would not (an aging aunt’s frail body, public transport). Guilt, fear, insecurity and violence call them into being. One of my favorite monsters was the one in Scott Nicholson’s “The Hounds of Love,” the story of a sociopathic boy, Dexter, and his dead dog, Turd Factory. For fun, Dexter kills and buries animals of every kind—with unexpected but not entirely unwelcome consequences. Other favorites were the baby finger-eating, blood-belching passengers in Simon Woods’ “Bus People”—whose disgusting descriptions of transmogrifying flesh brought to mind Brian Yunza’s classic movie Society—and the sinister seducer, Peter, in Lisa Tuttle’s “Bug House.” All in all a great read, but let’s hope and pray these aberrations remain in our Kindles and out of [reviewer pulled apart by baby chimps]