From the Bram Stoker Award-nominated editor of the 2018 This is Horror Anthology of the Year, ASHES AND ENTROPY, comes a new vision of weird and horrific ambiguity. NOX PAREIDOLIA will be fully color-illustrated by Luke Spooner and will include stories by S.P. Miskowski, Brian Evenson, Kristi DeMeester, Michael Wehunt, Gwendolyn Kiste, Zin E. Rocklyn, Christopher Ropes, Doungjai Gam, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Don Webb and Duane Pesice, Paul Jessup, K.H. Vaughan, and more. The trade paperback edition is available from Nightscape Press.
New artistry from great voices, perceptions old and new, interjecting the reader into new zones, taking you to the precipice of fears, perplexities, and realms colliding, a phenomenon of weirdness and horrification before you with pareidolia.
These tales that follow are the ones that worked from me and reviewed of the many in the collection.
Watch Me Burn with the Light of Ghosts
by Paul Jessup
Starts with rabbit masked killers, there be no run rabbit, instead rabbit coming to folks of a town in masks bent on mayhem and destruction end of world stuff on a mission said to have a calling from a special one.
Blood flows and scene dynamic don’t get be in their vicinity when they decide its end of the world.
Immolation by Kristi DeMeester
Darkness calling, mother whispering, abuse and the forgotten goddess, a void and terribleness awaits.
“What will you become when I am gone?”
I spoke my mother’s words back to the darkness. “What will you become?”
Venom by S.P. Miskowski
In silent moments of the night or day, that sense of invasion of the crawling kind, this tale may induce one into kaleidoscopic journeying of arachnophobia kind.
Artistry with what creeps with stupefaction and nightmarish states of self.
Patient and doctor twirling and descending, control lost, into other unfathomable domains.
A superlative tale.
Strident Caller by Laird Barron
Laird with his lyrical third eye potent tellings, transmutation of words, archaic and contemporary fused juxtapositioning the reader in realms colliding surreal and real, transfiguring the scene to a conjuring of Laird Barrons calling.
I hear your echo Laird that cosmic horror one to chill your blood that, “voice into the dark, waiting for an echo.”
The Strident caller and skull candle transcending the scene and then on ….like a scene out of Mandy ( 2018 Film).
Resistance had been present and swaying away from getting to reading Laird Barron’s work but the echoes getting through and hear his calling and will take upon the road of dissecting his ballads.
Gander at these words strung together that follow, characters evoked within this tale with craftsmanship of the author ones to interlope your fleeting precious minutes of immersive reading.
Craven is..”Unlike many of his friends and fellow travelers, he hadn’t gotten hooked on liquor or addicted to dope or caught an embarrassing, career-ending disease. Jack of a dozen trades and possessed of not half-bad looks, his mutably convivial personality proved sufficient to excel at the job of survival.”
Andy, “Andy was a late career Boris Karloff-looking sonofab***h who stalked the grounds while wearing the scowl of an ax-murderer on vacation.”
There is Deborah the temptress, “Seventy-fifth birthday coming next month, she possessed the florid sumptuousness of an aged yet ageless Italian scream queen.”
The possible star character, Artemis, one whom “Craven rescued the brindle pit bull.”
When you have time check out my Laird Barron interview on writing.
When the Nightingale Devours the Stars
by Gwendolyn Kiste
Do you see birds gathering in the trees and ground and is there a girl with “a tragic smile that could break a heart in two.”
Unfathomable things may arise.
This is a tale of Ella Jane, the one who came back home to small town, not from war, and unwillingly, a survivor of a kind of a cult in a remote oasis desert, one of death and sacrifice.
Her only friend invites us in elaborating on her life before leaving the town and the dilemma of now with the mystery of Ella, the terrible things she has seen and back from with the town folk feeling she owes gratitude in them returning her home safely.
The mystery of Ella Jane with the great expectations and disquietness, carefully crafted storytelling immersing you till the end.
The Room Above by Brian Evenson
Once again the reader is interjected into The Brian Evenson zone with a perplexing crucible, a character in a state of alienation with a first person short narrative, divulging on fears of sleep, dreams, and a room.
Memorable haunting brevity treat that may ruminate for a time.
Hello by Michael Wehunt
A few words and lines..
“Clay head. I just had to let you know”
The author of the essay will elaborate in the mystery of these words and the author of them.
Beware an Uncanny zone you are entering!
There is analysis of a few horror stories from an anthology, A Thing Behind All Things, published by P.A.R. Press.
Tales inspired by lyrics of Lionel Richie’s hit 1984 single “Hello,” amongst other things discussed in this work.
He does get you hooked into the whole puzzle.
There is mention of the known horror author John Lagan and a tale of his and appearance at a Shirley Jackson Award Ceremony.
There is praise and gratitude of John Lagan’s efforts.
All this talk of “Hello” may have you another tale to search out and read by Kirsten Mester.
I wish I didn’t sell my vinyl record collection, Lionel Richie was in there.
Unnerving peculiarities, are they coincidences or a conspiracy?
I do feel for the authors dilemma, too long in this obsession and association with “hello,” for the reader and author a hard one to undo.
Searching..so far no trace of P.A.R, The Pine Arch Collection….
Since there was plenty mention of Hello I now say…Goodbye!
“Rhythms are borrowed and bent from “Hello,” the words from the song are corrupted like some creepy remix—all devices that are not used much in the Mester story, which of course is concerned with the likeness of Richie on a surface level, however bizarre that surface is.”
“It’s not often that life is weirder than weird fiction, but here I am, poised to claim that it is.”
“-And horror lives on. Doesn’t it? In us. We pull it from all around us. We think about it all the time even when we’re smiling. We think about it when despair has its fingers twisted in our guts. When we’re a heartbeat from a restful sleep. When a noise creeps in from the hallway. We think about it when we’re shaking the hand of a stranger.”
Bag and baggage by Greg Sisco
Stepping into a train with announcer frustratingly announcing repetitively to our main character whilst a sense of things coming to an end with feelings of regret in life and then the uninvited, a surprise baggage left behind steers ones direction with some promise of hope and undoing.
Visceral strangeness with first person narration of a musician, once a saxophone player, with loss as a heavy weight and a little trouble with life.
A dilemma the main character reaches, Is he stepping up out of emptiness or trading in a far worser fate?
Short immersive reading descending into strangeness that will have you hoping you don’t find yourself in the same predicament as the protagonist and seeing and retaining certain lost baggage.