Day 239 Aug 25, 2019
ADVENTURES IN THE SKIN TRADE by Don D’Ammassa
Borderlands 4 – 1994
Horror – 9 Pages
This one’s got an obviously disturbed point of view and that leaves two options from the onset: he’s either wacko or the world around him is wacko. As it gets to playing out, the plot’s revealed with zero real left turns, but a bit of an uh oh ending that you don’t want to think too hard about or the rest of the story kind of falls apart at the…seams. That’s a pun, if anybody else ever read that story. Okay.
Day 240 Aug 26, 2019
THE DEAD LEAVE SMALL BONES by Ralph Robert Moore
Cemetery Dance Issue #77 – 2019
Fantasy – 5 Pages
Broken love morphing into something physical on the strength of a sense of foreboding, I guess. This kind of thing happens in stories all the time. The most common is grief about death or maybe the regret about something big, like abortion or a breakup. While well-written, totally readable and engaging, there’s nothing thrilling or overly interesting to the story. It really does follow the recent (past decade maybe) thing where supposed horror and dark fantasy stories concern the wilting of flowers and little more—we’re all just so sad those flowers did wilt.
Day 241 Aug 27, 2019
THE DEAD ARE NOT by Stephen Graham Jones
After the People Lights Have Gone Off – 2014 (story originally published in Bourbon Penn, 2009)
Horror – 19 Pages
This one is a rare SGJ dance with the cosmic and then dipping into fantasy, but the horror remains in the afterthought and the foreboding nature of the interlopers. This one tugs at some universal strings with illness and death, it’s eventual after all; I suppose the mystery of an afterlife is pretty universal too. It’s strange and holds a bit of mystery and a fantastical edge with characters that reminded me a bit of the bald dudes of Fringe. Great writing. Original and interesting.
Day 242 Aug 28, 2019
RUNAROUND by Fredric Brown
Nightmares and Geezenstacks – 1961
General – 5 Pages
This story was about the last tyrannosaurus-rex. He was fading and too slow to catch food. It was the saddest dinosaur story I’ve ever read. Very enjoyable. Felt real sympathy for the thing, even when I thought it was going to be a joke story, with humans…so I even thought, give the poor guys some humans to eat.
Day 243 Aug 29, 2019
THE OCEAN AND ALL ITS DEVICES by William Browning Spencer
Borderlands 4 – 1994
Horror – 25 Pages
Atmosphere is the lynchpin of this one. The slightly off from normal people showing up year after year in an Oceanside resort town, standing before the ocean as if awaiting something. It really worked for me, just the skewed nature of their actions and that they’re outsiders who eventually have to interact with the locals. There’s suspense, imagination, and cool imagery. Enjoyable.
Day 244 Aug 30, 2019
MY OWN INVENTION by Delia Sherman
Mad Hatters and March Hares – 2017
Fantasy – 8 Pages
I really know nothing about Alice in Wonderland or Alice Through the Looking-Glass or whatever. I saw the cartoon in childhood, and really, I can’t totally fathom why I bought this book other than I really enjoy short stories. Maybe it’s that I knew SGJ had a story in it. Anyhow, this one was lots of fun and the whimsy kept me from worrying about the usual serious things, like does anything matters, was it suspenseful, did the characters feel real, because no, nothing felt real and that was the point. And unexpectedly freeing. If the remainder of the stories here are as much fun as the first, I think I will like this book.
Day 245 Aug 31, 2019
ONE IN THE A.M. by Rachel Drummond
Borderlands 4 – 1994
Horror – 4 Pages
Before getting to the story, this is the only title in the entire collection written by a woman and it’s only four pages, scads shorter than all the others. Jesus. Anyway, this one is told in second person, which I have no beef with, but it’s difficult not to be telling the whole time instead of showing. This one felt like a bit too much use of the you did this and you felt that, but it had a fun, wildly dark, twist ending that I hadn’t at all expected. So, big points for that.