Day 232 Aug 18, 2019
MORNING TERRORS by Peter Crowther
Borderlands 4 – 1994
Horror – 20 Pages
This one’s a bit thin everywhere aside from imagery. Its foundation is simply textural nastiness. There are a good many movies that get by on this, but for a story, it’s too thin. Great, a big, scary, weird world where bodies are changed and men are missing penises and have lactating breasts…but if the characters don’t matter, it just can’t dig right to the heart of why I love stories. Not for me anyway. Still…that was some weird shit.
Day 233 Aug 19, 2019
LIKE LIFE by Gerard Houarner
Cemetery Dance Issue #77 – 2019
Horror – 8 Pages
This one opens with a paragraph that doesn’t fit the language of the rest of the story. I don’t get doing that, like strutting some peacock feathers in case someone fancy’s looking but then deciding they’re not really looking. Anyway, the story was interesting, and eventually a little suspenseful. Good writing. Good imagery. Complex follow through. It had a well-rounded push and pull concerning whether or not you should trust the point of view. In the end, it seemed too long for the finale, like reading that much preamble entitles the reader to a grandiose finish.
Day 234 Aug 20, 2019
DOC’S STORY by Stephen Graham Jones
After the People Lights Have Gone Off – 2014 (story originally published in Letters to Lovecraft, 2014)
Fantasy – 20 Pages
This is the precursor to maybe the greatest werewolf story ever told. Having read Mongrels before, this was a delight, like slipping into a familiar place where there’s only good memories. The kid’s point of view is so engaging and the way the world reveals itself to him is so full of possibility, man, it’s fantastic. The voice, the pacing, the unravelling, all so good.
Day 235 Aug 21, 2019
VENA CAVA by Joyce Carol Oates
Give Me Your Heart – 2010 (story originally published in Portents, 2010)
Crime – 21 Pages
This one has a similar flavor to Mudwoman in that the point of view is jaded and disbelieving and confused. This kind of thing can be a turn off at first, where you’re like ugh, get to the point, but when you stick it out it really comes around and the suspense is dragging the reader along to the gun cabinet. Interesting writing as well, using the language on the page to display the mental shortcomings of the character after brain damage.
Day 236 Aug 22, 2019
THE MAW by Nathan Ballingrud
Wounds: Six Stories From the Border of Hell – 2019 (story originally published in Dark Cities, 2017)
Horror – 19 Pages
This is another built on a foundation of gory imagery. It’s imaginative and vast in scope, putting a cityscape in Hell’s grasp with lots of flesh and oddities. The story itself has lots of room for impact, but never touches on suspense and the horror was tepid. I mean, the finale could’ve been grand and nasty, fangs out, or something else altogether, instead it just was. Good writing. Great imagination. Good atmosphere.
Day 237 Aug 23, 2019
WISH by Linda Boström Knausgård
The New Yorker – 2019
General – 2 Pages
Yawn. The New Yorker is like entirely hit or miss with me, very little middle ground. This one was a miss. It’s just rambling, coherent, but rambling. Nothing happens and nothing matters. There was a rhythm to it however, so a point for that.
Day 238 Aug 24, 2019
CIRCLE OF LIAS by Lawrence C. Connelly
Borderlands 4 – 1994
Horror – 24 Pages
Ooh, that was fun. This one has that flavor Bentley Little employs often and Stephen King used back in the day (think The Lawnmower Man). Anyway, this one drags you in immediately and never lets go, also never quite goes where the expectation seems to be leading. Everything is one over, if that makes sense. Great writing. Great pacing. Great switches in plot.