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Book reviews Books Fiction

Into the London Fog: Eerie Tales from the Weird City review

Into The London Fog: Eerie Tales From The Weird City invites the reader to join editor, Elizabeth Dearnley, on an “atmospheric tour through a shadowy London, a city which has long inspired writers of the weird and uncanny.” What a tour it is for those who enjoy strange stories of hauntings, seances and dark secrets which, as in any good gothic tale, return to terrify the living. 

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Books Fiction Interviews

Stephen Graham Jones: ‘If I don’t get scared then I’m not playing with the right kind of fire’

Night of the Mannequins is a novella by Stephen Graham Jones published by Tor.com that explores the vengeful aftermath of a prank and a mannequin’s role within a group of friends. Here, I speak to Jones about the new book.

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Book reviews Books Fiction

Thin Places by Kay Chronister review – ‘a powerful first collection’

A new publication from Undertow is always a treat. With books like Laura Mauro’s wonderful Sing Your Sadness Deep and the Year’s Best Weird Fiction anthologies Michael Kelly has made the imprint into a go-to for modern weird horror fiction. Thin Places is Chronister’s debut collection, blending stories previously published in places like Black Static and Kelly’s own Shadows & Tall Trees with a handful of previously unpublished works, so she faces the double-edged sword of being amongst excellent company. Thankfully, she faces it with aplomb.

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Book reviews Books Fiction

Famished by Anna Vaught review – vivid horror and black humour

Famished is a set of seventeen short stories which take food as their connecting theme. It’s filled with vivid evocations of flavours and textures, with those in “What He Choked On” proving especially memorable: manchego cheese tasting of “saddle and the hair of beasts in heat”; the “lemony smack” of Thai food; custard “viscous, like aortic blood”. Elsewhere you might encounter fudge “as dense as wet cement”, boiled tripe “encircled by effulgent lumps of onion”, or the “lambent smoothness” of a sugared almond.

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Book reviews Books Fiction

The Skeleton Melodies by Clint Smith review – a study in the uncanny and an experiment in half-forgotten memories

Whether or not our school days turn out to be, as the saying goes, the best days of our lives, there can be little doubt that they leave formative, potent memories behind. Positive or negative, unique or mundane, even the most latent recollections can have power.

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Books Fiction Interviews

Kathe Koja: ‘Detritus, spills, 4am. Dread. All of that is in there.’

Kathe Koja’s 1991 novel The Cipher is considered a classic of contemporary horror fiction. An unusual blend of body horror and cosmic horror, the story examines how a mysterious, physics-morphing hole found in an apartment building – called the Funhole by many of the characters in the novel – alters the lives of everyone that comes into contact with it, and especially the life of the narrator, Nicholas. Filled with sometimes beautiful, sometimes grotesque physical transformations, and laced through with meditations about nothingness and the unknown, The Cipher is an intense exploration of the outer edges of human experience. A new print edition is forthcoming this September from Meerkat Press. I recently interviewed Koja through email about the novel.

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Book reviews Books Fiction

Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh review – an easier book to admire than enjoy

In 2016, Ottessa Moshfegh stirred up controversy by claiming her debut Eileen started life as a cynical experiment: using a “ridiculous” guide called The 90-Day Novel, she had deliberately attempted to craft a book that would be commercially successful. “It started out as a fuck-you joke, also I’m broke, also I want to be famous,” she said in an interview with The Guardian. Her plan worked – not only was Eileen a bestseller, it was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

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Book reviews Books Fiction

Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones review – a psychologically driven novella of rich introspection

Sawyer Grimes’s friends are dead. Or most of them, anyway. 

Stephen Graham Jones’s newest novella Night of the Mannequins follows his phenomenal novel of revenge and the horrors of American society The Only Good Indians, which released this summer to widespread acclaim. With a multitude of novels, several hundred short stories, and accolades from prestigious horror awards – including the Bram Stoker Award – under his belt, Jones is a modern master of terrifying tales. Night of the Mannequins upholds that reputation. 

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Horror Film Horror Film Reviews

Underwater review – a fun disaster movie but not a deep horror

It’s often claimed that we know more about deep space than we do about the deep oceans. The truth of this is debatable – it’s a slight exaggeration of a quote by oceanographer Paul Snelgrove,  “We know more about the surface of the Moon and about Mars than we do about [the deep sea floor]”, but we do know surprisingly little about something which covers the majority of our planet’s surface.

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Book reviews Books Fiction

Sisters by Daisy Johnson review – a confection of horror tropes rendered in poetic prose

On a summer’s day, two girls and their mother move into a house on the North Yorkshire coast. The sisters’ whimsical names – July and September – belie the darkness of the gothic tale that weaves itself around them. The house, too, is ironically named; the Settle House, full of mysterious sounds and shifting air, is anything but settled.