A Feast of Frights from The Horror Zine, edited by Jeani Rector . Book Review(1)
Reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Jeani Rector, the editor of The Horror Zine, must be congratulated for assembling a hefty volume which represents a veritable feast for horror lovers.
The book, foreworded by Ramsey Campbell, includes thirty-seven horror stories both by renowned authors and by comparatively newcomers, the average quality of which is uncommonly good. To mention and to comment upon all of them would be impossible, thus I will take advantage of my privilege as a reviewer to focus only on what I consider the very best.
To me the highlights of the anthology are two. The first one is Joe R Lansdale’s “Incident On And Off A Mountain Road” (also adapted on the screen for the Masters of Horror television series) ,a superlative horror story, suspenseful and terrifying as it could be, featuring a fearless woman fighting madly to save her life. The other one is “Scream Queen” by veteran, terrific storyteller Ed Gorman, a memorable tale where some videogeeks meet their utterly changed idol, a B-movie sexy actress.
Other outstanding pieces are “The Soldier” by Shaun Meeks , a strong example of graphic horror where a amortally wounded German soldier has to face terrors more appalling than war, and Graham Masterton’s “What The Dark Does” a superb, scary tale revealing the truth about the dangerous, murderous creatures getting alive in the dark.
Phillip Roberts contributes the excellent “Proper Payments” a well crafted story where alien horrors and standard human crime merge perfectly, while Cheryl Kaye Tardif provides “Skeletons in the Closet”, an accomplished mystery with a horrific taste and various twists in the tail.
Scott Nicholson’s “Homecoming” is a gentle, melancholy ghost story in which regrets and parental love sadden an old couple and Susie Moloney’s “The Audit” is a splendid, extremely original tale where true horror is represented by being audited by the Revenue Tax Office.
Other very good stories worth mentioning are Stewart Horn’s “Filmland”, an entertaining piece of urban horror, Christopher Nadeau’s “Always Say Treat” , a terrifying but dismal tale of Halloween terror, KA Opperman’s “Corn” an offbeat story of agricultural horror and, last but not least, “The Lost Sheep” by Jason Reynolds, an atmospheric yarn where a man looking for his sheep flock during a blizzard discovers the truth about himself.
The book also includes a bunch of dark poetry (that I’m not qualified to judge), various interesting interviews with famous genre writers such as Tim Lebbon, Graham Masterton and Joe R Lansdale( just to mention a few) and some effective and disquieting artwork.
A must for any horror fan.
A Feast of Frights. Book Review(1)
Edited by Jeani Rector
Horror Zine, p/b – £10.91. Kindle – £3.24
Reviewed by Rebekah Lunt
I reviewed the previous anthology from the Horror Zine (here) and thought it was a pretty impressive mix. This collection impressed me more, and for different reasons. There is still the same solid mix of horror-based writing from both up-and-coming and established writers; the same eclectic mix of prose, poetry and art; and the same coherence as a collection, but this time round there are a few extras worthy of comment.
The extras this time are:
1, in the form of a better structure – with hindsight, I prefer this collection’s structure of more discrete sections, as it allows a ‘rhythm’ or flow to build which was otherwise liable to become interrupted in the previous book due to the more (seemingly) random intermixing of the formats;
2, I think the art in this anthology is generally stronger;
3, there is an inclusion of a substantial section of author interviews and articles.
All the things I said last time are true of this collection too – particularly that this too would make a great set of reads for the commuting horror-fan. Hopefully Jeani and the folks at Horror Zine will continue to release these anthologies, especially because they help us keep our fingers on the quickening pulse of horror fiction.
What Fears Become; An Anthology from the Horror Zine. Book Review(1)
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.
Horror Zine anthology – What Fears BecomeComments Off
“From horror masterminds Ramsey Campbell, Graham Masterton, Joe R. Lansdale, Elizabeth Massie, Piers Anthony, Melanie Tem, Cheryl Kaye Tardif, Tim Jeffreys, Scott Nicholson, Conrad Williams, Simon Clark and a host of other respected authors, poets and artists comes What Fears Become, a terrifying collection of bone-chilling, nail-biting horror that is sure to keep you awake until all hours of the night.
This anthology brings together some of the best works from The Horror Zine, an online magazine dedicated to giving you chills and thrills. Edited by Jeani Rector, each story, poem and art work within showcases an international talent that will give you shivers.”