Imajin Books. p/b – £10.36, Kindle – £3.36.
Reviewed by Rebekah Lunt
I may as well just say it straight: I really enjoyed this anthology, and I think you should give it a chance.
I know for some the thought of short stories, or an anthology of short stories, poems and art, would send them screaming away in horror… especially if you told them that some of it is written by ‘new’ writers (read: amateur, previously unpublished, etc.) This is why I don’t want you to move immediately onto the next review, thinking you already know this book won’t be worth your time. This book is exactly the opposite of anything weak or negative you might be prejudiced to expect. It has a nice balance between established and otherwise writers and artists; it’s a creative mix of media which helps keep your attention; and, basically, there’s just some really good stuff in there!
Aspects that I particularly enjoyed were the diversity of directions the ideas within each discrete story, poem, or piece of art took; and the way that many of the stories sucked in my attention during reading, creeping back up my spine later to be mulled over nervously once more. The former aspect is obviously due to the wide spread of creative people involved, as well as their indubitably interesting imaginations; whereas I feel the latter is down purely to a good editor selecting some fine talent and letting it ride the night.
In terms of weaknesses, there are some, but not enough to put me off reading this cover to cover. The art and poems are obviously going to be a hurdle for some as these are often most subjectively viewed, and if something’s not to your taste, well, not much we can do about that. For myself, there were a couple of pieces of both media that didn’t sit quite right for inclusion, but not to the extent that they impaired my reading/viewing pleasure. Some of the stories were not quite to my taste either, but I felt that the quality was clearer in that format, regardless of me liking them or not, than with the others. For instance, Dogleg is not to my taste, but as a pure horror concept worked out over a few pages, is extremely good.
It’d be difficult to list all the stories I loved, because there are so many good ones in there, but amongst my favourites were Christening, The Orphans of Lethe, and The House at the End of Smith Street. I also loved two of the pieces of art, Showered with Love and Religious Backbone. However, the best thing I can say about this anthology is that if you weren’t aware of the established writers’ names, you would genuinely struggle to work out which pieces were by the ‘professionals’.
I can highly recommend this anthology, and it’s given me the motivation to go check out the Horror Zine online to look out some more chilling snippets.