A row with a boyfriend leads to unexpected and bloody consequences... A high powered CEO undertakes a highly unusual therapy to take his career to the next level… A mother frantically searches for the child as the world burns…
Featuring new fiction by Adam Millard, Matt Shaw, Bracken MacLeod, John Boden, Duncan Ralston, Rich Hawkins, Glenn Rolfe, George Daniel Lea, Tim Curran, WD Gagliani & Dave Benton and Kristopher Rufty.
Bracken MacLeod has worked as a martial arts teacher, a university philosophy instructor, for a children's non-profit, and as a trial attorney. His short fiction has appeared in several magazines and anthologies including LampLight, ThugLit, and Splatterpunk and has been collected in 13 VIEWS OF THE SUICIDE WOODS by ChiZine Publications.
He is the author of MOUNTAIN HOME, a novella titled WHITE KNIGHT, and STRANDED, from Tor Books. His newest novel, COME TO DUST, is coming from Journalstone/Trepidatio Press in June of 2017.
He lives outside of Boston with his wife and son, where he is at work on his next novel.
Splatterpunk Zine has put together this colorful anthology. The proceeds will be donated to a Cancer Support charity. $0.99 is a small price to pay for both the cause and the delectable horrors between this e-book's virtual covers. Many talented authors have donated their stories to the anthology, and each offering is a chiller. A nightclub features a deadly siren with an unearthly song. Ever heard Detachable Penis by King Missile? Well, that happens, except the owner knows exactly where the culprit is and what it's up to. An unconventional style of therapy introduces a megalomaniac to his primitive urges. A Christmas miracle proves itself to be brutally ironic. Molly the dolly could whip Chucky's ass and destroy the evidence. Legion in Love will never leave your brain. Ever. A phantom limb pursues it's previous owner. Little Darla has been playing with her parents' Wee-jee board, but she just can't un-summon the monster. Cannibal mouth-breathers stalk a young woman, and just when she ... well, you will have to read the rest for yourself. Some stories impacted me more than others, but on the whole, this collection is a bloody good time.
Edited because I missed two stories the first time around.
Splatterpunk Fighting Back is a charity anthology with proceeds going towards cancer. I have a love/hate relationship with anthologies/collections/whatever you want to call them. I love reading them because even if a story isn’t working for me it’s usually over quickly but I dread reviewing them. They are so much work but here goes. I’m not going to rate them because that’s kind of pointless.
I’m going to attempt to write a mini review of each story but if I start to fatigue near the end or miss one it’s nothing personal against any particular story.
They Swim by Night by Adam Millard
A man thinks he's getting lucky when an ethereally beautiful singer makes the moves on him. But he is terribly mistaken. This was a perfectly gory start to the collection. Why lead a reader in gently when you can grab them by the hair and drag them in kicking and screaming?
Melvin by Matt Shaw
Claudia insults Melvin at a dive bar. Big mistake. Melvin is a sick bastard and seeks revenge with a detachable dick. This story was gleefully nasty and I love, love, loved it.
Side note after the first two stories:
There is so much sex related horror in here so far. It almost feels like as if I were reading a new installment of the Hot Blood series and that’s a very good thing. I loved those books so hard back in the olden days when we didn’t have digital books and could frighten people away with a creepy cover! Just be warned if this isn't your thing.
Extinction Therapy by Bracken MacLeod
A rich man visits some expensive woo woo doctor to reach his full potential. His lust for bloodshed is awakened and he glories in it. This story is primal, brutal and ugly. There's no sex in this one which surprised me in a good way. The story did make me very sad for the state of man and that’s all I’m saying.
The Passion of the Robertsons by Duncan Ralston
Whatever you do, don't go and get yourself on the bible thumping Robertson’s naughty list. Unfortunately for the town drunk, he manages to do just that. Now that he’s on their radar, they intend to force him to accept God’s word and their methods are not gentle. I liked this one, especially the ending.
Hellscape by Rich Hawkins
The world is now a hellish landscape and a woman goes on a desperate searching to find her son, slaying monsters along the way. I can’t find my notes on this one so it was either a forgettable tale or I was too tired when I read it. I DO remember thinking it felt like an introduction to a bigger story.
Molly by Glenn Rolfe
Caleb is a front desk clerk at a hotel and has to deal with all kinds of crap. One night he spies a strange silhouette in the window that shouldn’t be there when leaving work. Turns out one of the hotel’s bitchiest guests has a traveling buddy staying with her that she keeps hidden. Bloodshed ensues. Molly was a bloody creepfest that was a lot of fun to read.
Only Angels Know by George Daniel Lee
An artist puts out a call for subjects willing to give themselves to art. All of themselves. This is a story of extreme body modification but somehow the difficult to decipher writing, never outright graphic, wasn’t able to draw me in. I much prefer Kathe Koja’s novel “Skin” which tackles this same subject matter in a devastatingly gorgeous and unforgettable way. This was my least liked story in the collection.
Limb Memory by Tim Curran
After losing his left arm in an accident, a man whines and complains about his new lot in life. Poor me, boo-hoo-hoo. But just when I was getting annoyed with the man-whining, the phantom arm comes back to life to haunt him. This was gross and fun and enjoyable even with such a whiny ass main character. It brought back images from my scarred childhood of Michael Caine and “The Hand”. I’m still afraid to stick my arms out of a moving car’s open window after that one . . .
Feast of Consequences by WD Gagliani & Dave Benton
This was a fun throwback to cannibalistic slashers and half naked heroines as a young woman attempts to outwit a bunch of hungry, human monsters. I adored the modern day twist and the ending.
The Going Rate –John Boden
The tax man is coming and he's hungry. This story is sinister and dark and creepy as hell. I loved it!
Darla’s Problem –Kristopher Rufty
A young girl asks a policeman for assistance and he has no idea what terror awaits. This was another super creepy tale that was gory and not at all sweet. Great stuff!
Okay now that’s all of them, I hope! If any of these stories sound remotely interesting to you then go buy yourself a copy!
An excellent splatterpunk anthology founding a real good cause (Cancer fighting) and it let me find out a lot of great authors (the only one I used to know was mr Rufty) that I'm going to follow for good.
They Swim by Night - Adam Millard: 4 stars
There is much more than meets the eye in a beautiful woman singing in a nightclub...
Fairly predictable plot, but I just loved characters and atmosphere.
Melvin - Matt Shaw: 5 stars
Beware of vengeful Melvin... and his severed animated killer dick!!! XD An hilarious and disturbing short tale that reminded me the Beyond Re-Animator end credits scene, and the ending made me laugh for good.
Extinction Therapy - Bracken MacLeod : 4 stars
An uncommon kind of therapy by a native american (with italian origins...) shaman awakes a rich man's primal bloody urges. Great story and well fleshed characters but it was like reading first chapters of a longer novel and it left me longing for much more.
The Passion of the Robertsons - Duncan Ralston: 4 stars
Mr and mrs Robinson are going to teach an unlucky atheist what Jesus suffered to save sinners... the hard way. The Passion meets Misery in a brutal season holyday tale.
Hellscape - Rich Hawkins: 4 stars
A woman's quest to save her son in a world destroyed by a lovecraftian apocalypse.
A really good one, but it was like reading the final chapter of a longer novel for me.
Molly - Glenn Rolfe: 4,5
Working in a hookers filled hotel can be very exciting... and dangerous if one of them owns a killer cannibal animated doll. A great tale and it left me wanting to read much more about Molly's story.
Only Angels Know - George Daniel Lee: 2 stars
A body modification artist and his entourage push their art just too far.
Not much my cup of tea and the first person ramblings of the main character made this tale (intentionally I guess) a real mess to follow.
Limb Memory - Tim Curran: 4 stars
After a car accident a phantom limb is haunting its previous owner.
A funny tale with a strong Twilight Zone/Tales from the Crypt vibe. I was symphathizing with that poor arm... it reminded me too much Addams Family's Thing XD
Feast of Consequences – WD Gagliani & Dave Benton (Anna’s Story) An Excerpt from the novel Killer Lake: 4,5 stars
Half naked girls hitchhiking lost in woods just have to beware of hillybilly cannibals and their mutant inbred relatives...
A great tale if you love movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre/Wrong Turn sagas. Just loved it.
The Going Rate – John Boden: 3 stars
A neighborhood is paying an uncommon kind of tribute to an uncommon kind of exactor.
Intriguing, sick and twisted storyline, but it was just too much short for me.
Darla’s Problem – Kristopher Rufty: 4 stars
8 years old kids playing with their parents' ouija table can be a deadly combo sometimes...
Maybe the ending was too much abrupt, but I just loved the mood and the atmosphere of it... and I was imagining Sgt. Bruce with the face and the voice of Bruce "Chin" Campbell since he says "My name is Bruce" to little Darla in the beginning XD
4.5/5 stars! For me, this anthology was nearly perfect. Almost every single story hit home with me, and the fact that the purchase of this anthology benefits the fight against cancer makes it that much sweeter.
Without further ado-these are the stories that affected me most, in the order in which they knocked off my socks:
MOLLY by Glenn Rolfe. I have read a number of Glenn's works now and it's my opinion that he's an author to watch. With this story, he has arrived! A killer doll, a hotel, sexy women and weak men-add them all together and what have you got? Molly. 5*
LIMB MEMORY by Tim Curran. It sucks to lose an arm. Turns out that it also sucks when the arm comes back! 5*
THE GOING RATE by John Boden. A super short, shocking story! LOVED. IT. 5*
EXTINCTION THERAPY by Bracken MacLeod. Beautifully written with one of those punch-in-the-gut endings that I adore. 5*
THEY SWIM BY NIGHT by Adam Millard. Who doesn't love a good story about sirens? (Not like on police cars, but like in ancient mythology.) You have to ignore those singing ladies, or they'll get you every time. 4*
THE PASSION OF THE ROBERTSONS by Duncan Ralston. This was gross, funny and messed up all at once. 4*
FEAST OF CONSEQUENCES by W.D. Gagliani and Dave Benton. This story was a constant stream of Oh No! Followed by YES! I 'll let you guess upon which of those the story ended. 4*
DARLA'S PROBLEM by Kristofer Rufty. This being my first Rufty story, I wonder why I've waited so long to check him out. When Darla comes to you with a problem-take her seriously.
SPLATTERPUNK FIGHTING BACK was an anthology that totally worked for me, and I'm guessing even though it's only January, this will be included in my best anthologies of the year.
This was a pretty cool book! I have found some new authors to discover too. Favorite stories are: Melvin by Matt Shaw, The Passion of the Robertsons by Duncan Ralston, Molly by Glenn Rolfe, Limb Memory by Tim Curran, Feast of Consequences by WD Gagaliani and Dave Benton, and Darla's Problem by Kristopher Ruffy. Also I was happy to buy this book in support of fighting cancer as I too know people that have it and this was a great idea for all these authors to put this book together to help fight the cause. Giving the book four stars.
SPLATTERPUNK FIGHTING BACK, edited by Jack Bantry and Kit Power, is an anthology put together to benefit Cancer Support Charity. All proceeds from this collection go to this charity, and all of the authors generously contributed their stories for free.
The selections here push the boundaries of "splatter punk"--each incorporating varying elements to get their story across most effectively. While not every story was a favorite of mine, I give credit to all of these authors, not just for their tales, but for their generosity in being a part of such a worthy endeavor.
My personal favorites included:
1.) "Molly", by Glenn Rolfe: This has got to be one of the creepiest stories--dealing with this particular, disquieting subject--that I have come across. I could read an entire novel based on this idea!
2.) "Limb Memory", by Tim Curran: A nice change from what I was expecting. This one had some incredible "visuals" painted into my mind, and a simply brilliant ending!
3.) "The Passion of the Robertsons", by Duncan Ralston: Another five-star read, in my opinion. Each story I read from this author keeps getting better and better. This one you simply need to read for yourselves.
4.) "They Swim By Night", by Adam Millard: While I thought I knew where this story was going, the scenes and descriptions here made all the difference.
5.) "The Going Rate", by John Broden: Absolutely loved this nice "twist" on a theme I've read before!
As with any anthology, different stories "speak" to different readers. When you consider that the proceeds of this purchase go to such a worthy cause, the book is well worth the price of admission. You may even discover a new, or favorite, author among the line-up!
There were a couple good reasons for me to read this book: it benefits a good cause (Cancer Support Charity), it was featured as a group read at my favorite discussion group (which already is a recommendation in itself), and it sounded like a great anthology of horror stories to have fun with. I was not disappointed!
They Swim by Night The first story was a good starter, but from the beginning (when Alex learns that 'just a girl' will be on stage) I had a clue as to what kind of girl that would be and where this would surely lead. However, the execution (haha) was well done. ***
Melvin Not much to say: the second story was just great from start to finish and I especially enjoyed the humor at the end. ****
Extinction Therapy The third story took its time to convince me. First, I was confused about what was going on, afraid the author chose the session as an easy means to spill his gore fantasy. And what was the parallel story about Doug and Cary doing here? But at the end everything was wrapped up nicely. ***
The Passion of the Robertsons My favorite so far. Loved the ending! I wonder whom (or if anyone at all yet) the couple had in mind while purchasing their stuff... Was it coincidence they chose Harry? *****
Hellscape This story left too many questions open for me. Somehow, the story seemed like a part or unfinished chapter of a longer story. ***
Molly Well done, but I'm curious about Molly's background - where did she come from? Dolls can be so creepy... ****
Only Angels Know Bummer! This was so not for me - and I admit I did not understand a single thing this story (may have) wanted to tell me... *
Limb Memory This was a rather fun story which reminded me of old movies starring severed hands (though I can't remember any title). Nice! ****
Feast of Consequences Loved it! Where is the novel? *****
The Going Rate This was - totally unexpected - the most creepy story in the book, and I'm not spooked easily. Loved the idea. Another one I wish would become a novel! ***** can I give an extra star?: *
Darla's Problem Another fun story that thankfully lifted the mood again...probably couldn't have slept had I stopped after the previous one... ***
There were so many great stories in this anthology, and a lot of them I would love to see extended into a full-length novel. I also discovered a couple new authors, so this book was an absolute winner in multiple ways for me. Highly recommended!
Closer to 3.5 stars (actual average is about 3.3).
Overall notes: some gems in this collection for sure, but it really suffered by only having male contributors. Several stories had themes of rape/sexual assault (whether purposeful or not) and I just got really tired of reading it after awhile. There was only one story, "Melvin," in which I think it was handled decently well, even though the beginning could be REALLY triggering to some people. Female perspectives would not only have been welcome in this anthology, but would have been necessary to make it a good collection in my book. However, it was only $1 and was for a good cause, so it was definitely worth the cost, and I have a couple new authors to check out thanks to this!
Now, on to the individual reviews for the stories (mild spoilers throughout, heavy spoilers are cut):
They Swim By Night - Adam Millard I...have a lot to say about this one, so bear with me. There was a heavy vein of misogyny throughout. I could have liked this a lot better, but I had a bad taste in my mouth from the start of it with how and the men were portrayed. Needless to say, not my thing. The concept itself wasn't totally terrible, it was just severely mishandled in my opinion. 2 stars.
Melvin - Matt Shaw Started off very rapey and disturbing (serious trigger warning on this one), but I'd say redeems it. 4 stars.
Extinction Therapy - Bracken MacLeod A Black Mirror episode in short story form and a tale of toxic masculinity and bloodlust. Would love a novel version or a sequel where 4.5 stars.
The Passion of the Robertsons - Duncan Ralston Great story about religious zealots who take their worship to obsessive and sinful heights. The very end was awfully ham-fisted on the author's part though. I agree with the narrator/author's point at the end, but some things are better off inferred rather than explicitly stated. I didn't feel that the framing device for the story with the narrator in first person was necessary, as it didn't add any depth to the story. 4 stars.
Hellscape - Rich Hawkins Not bad, but pretty underdeveloped. Felt like I was coming in at the middle of a story, and nothing was really explained at all. 3 stars.
Molly - Glenn Rolfe Pretty fun story about a woman and her murderous doll. Would be interested to see more of this one. Could have done w/out the male author writing lesbian sex scenes though, especially since one of them was a "predatory lesbian" who got the other woman drunk to sleep with her (and it's not vital to the story either, which is why I didn't spoiler cut this). 3.5 stars.
Only Angels Know - George Daniels ...no idea. Hated the writing style, it was far too ~artistic and abused semi-colons and ellipses like there was a punctuation quota. Tried reading this twice, and still have no idea what happens, aside from some vague ideas. 1 star.
Limb Memory - Tim Curran Delightfully gross yet ridiculous and a bit humorous, one of the best stories in the collection. 4.5 stars.
Feast of Consequences - WD Gagliani & Dave Benton Reminded me of part of a Criminal Minds episode (which was actually referenced in the story) but took a hard left turn at the end to make it truly bizarre and unexpected. 4 stars.
The Going Rate - John Boden Hmmm. Very interesting concept but far too short to have much of an impact. 3.5 stars.
Darla's Problem - Kristopher Rufty Started strong, but not much payoff. 3 stars.
Through the years, horror has had it's ups and downs in the eye of public perception. At it's best, it was the red-headed, step-child. At it's worst, it was easier to tell someone that you were a child molester than it was to admit that you read horror. I remember discovering my first horror author, yes that famous one from Maine, and wanting to read that instead of some highbrow crap in my high school English class. When I mentioned King's name to my teacher, you should've seen the look of disgust on his face. "That is nothing but trash. It has no redeeming qualities whatsoever," was his reply. Instead, I was forced to read Less Than Zero and I thought he was confused which one exactly had no redeeming qualities. It didn't get any better during the 90swhen horror went underground and tried to disguise itself by relabeling itself as thrillers. Ugh. You're horror. Plain and simple. Wear it with pride! Horror will always be the underdog and I'm okay with that. I know what I like and what has value to not only me, but to tens of thousands of others. Still, the stigma of horror and it's authors and readers as being the lowest form of society will always persist. That's why I love seeing things come to light like Splatterpunk Fighting Back, a group of extreme horror authors writing tales that drip with blood with all proceeds going for a good cause - cancer research. Also, I was thrilled to see that many of the authors involved were ones that I read on fairly consistent basis tucked neatly within others that I had heard of, but hadn't had the pleasure to experience. So, here we go -
They Swim By Night - Adam Millard
A beautiful siren with razor sharp teeth wants more than love.
4 out of 5 stars
Melvin - Matt Shaw
A creeping, crawling dildo that is on a mission to push aside those tonsils. For me, this story was too rediculous to take seriously and not campy enough to take as silly fun. Caught somewhere in between and it caused it to not really work for me.
2 out of 5 stars
Extinction Therapy - Bracken MacLeod
A rich playboy thirsts for something more than money and power. This one took two readings to fill in some of the blanks, but a solid read.
3 1/2 out of 5 stars
The Passion of the Robertsons - Duncan Ralston
Religious whack jobs attempt to commit a whack job on a non-believer. Living in a rural community, I see people every day that I think fit the descriptions of the Robertsons to a tee.
4 1/2 out of 5 stars
Hellscape - Rich Hawkins
A Michonne like character walking through a Lovecraftian dystopia with a machete looking for her son. A gloomy tale.
3 out of 5 stars
Molly - Glenn Rolfe
A dimented woman and her murderous doll making a stop at a hotel in Maine while on their world tour. A fun romp that's one of Rolfe's best.
5 out of 5 stars
Only Angels Know - George Daniel Lea
The intense ramblings of an insane cult leader that tries to find art, god and purpose, first through self-mutilation and then through his lemmings following his lead as the world watches in horror. The first-person narrative works well to show how demented this guy really was. You never get a clear picture of what exactly happened, but I think that was the intention and I'm good with it.
3 1/2 out of 5 stars
Limb Memory - Tim Curran
This was a fun story. Will has lost his arm in an auto accident with his now ex-girlfriend, who came out unscathed. She dumps him. He's probably going to lose his job and the only person to give him the time of day is his physical therapist...and she has a fiancé! To top it all off, his dead, chopped off arm is knocking on the window of his hospital bedroom. Is he losing his mind or what? With shades of Dr. Terror's House of Horrors and Evil Dead, this campy tale hits all the right notes.
5 out of 5 stars
Feast of Consequences - W.D. Gagliani & Dave Benton
When I think of splatterpunk, I think of a story like Feast of Consequences. Brutal, slasher, cannibal rednecks, terrorized female protagonist, lots of blood and severed limbs, all the ingredients are here. Feast isn't anything new. It has Texas Chainsaw Massacre written all over it, but I'm perfectly okay with that. The storytelling was tight, the atmosphere bleak and desperate, and memorable characters. Where's my popcorn?
5 out of 5 stars
The Going Rate - John Boden
This one gives you shivers down your spine as Boden breaks the typical forbidden territory of committing pain and suffering to small children. Just eerie as the Taxman comes to collect the neighborhood's debts.
4 1/2 out of 5 stars
With all anthologies, I've come to expect a few stories that don't work for me as I look for the gems in the group. If I can get one or two, I'm happy. Luckily for me, Splatterpunk was gem-laden with goodness. The heavy weights came through and I discovered a couple of new authors to me that brought the goods. A very solid read that I can easily recommend. It's looking like Splatterpunk will easily take the award for best anthology of the year. And it was all for a good cause. Win/Win.
I loved this anthology of short stories. Many of the authors were new to me and this was a great way to try them all out. The stories were crazy, twisted, over the top disturbing! A must read for people who like splatterpunk. What is even better is that the proceeds of this book are being donated to fight cancer! How generous is that!?
4/5 Such a fun and gross collection of tales, I really enjoyed each and every one.
This collection was put together to raise money for charity so EVERYONE should buy it, whether you've going to read it or not (you should totally read it).
I loved MELVIN by MATT SHAW. Sub genres mean very little to me, but if you were to ask my what I thought Splatterpunk was then this would be exactly that. There was a few times when I thought "gross" and at one point I uttered "That's just grim", but then I actually burst out laughing at another point. Excellent story.
EXTINCTION THERAPY by BRACKEN MACLEOD was a great story. Spencer was a really interesting character and to witness his progression was quite scary. And Doug and Cary were such a nice couple, so down to Earth and likeable.
I'm so glad I'm not part of THE PASSION OF THE ROBERTSONS by DUNCAN RALSTON. I don't really celebrate Christmas, I don't decorate my house and I scowl at people when they wish me "Merry Christmas " so I'd have no chance with them.
I seriously enjoyed every single story in the anthology and have purchased a book from each other them since to show my support for them all.
The stories were all really well written, the stories interesting and the characters well fleshed out (most of the time, haha).
I thoroughly recommend this to anyone who enjoys horror.
I read this as part of a HA group read, and would never have done so otherwise. It seems as if labels make a difference to me - something about the term "Splatterpunk" puts me off, but if this collection is anything to go by, it turns out I've read a fair few Splatterpunk stories in my time without realising it.
The standout story for me was Limb Memory by Tim Curran. It brought a new level of dread and suspense to old horror cliche of the disembodied limb. Genuinely scary and thought provoking, and I don't usually get to say that.
I also particularly enjoyed The Passion of the Robertsons by Duncan Ralston. Of course, that may be a function of having just got through another holiday/Christmas season without meeting such unsavory characters in real life.
Feast of Consequences by WD Gagliani and Dave Benton was also worthy of note. What could have been the old familiar story of the lost girl in the woods and the twisted hillbillies was elevated by the quality of the writing into a story I wanted to keep going. The ending could have been silly, but in the context of what had gone before, it made a kind of perfect sense.
The anthology is for a good cause, and there's enough in it to justify a read on that basis alone.
A group of authors got together and put together this anthology with the proceeds going to cancer support. Great idea and an excellent mix of stories. Well worth the purchase price if you like splatterpunk horror.
They Swim by Night - sirens in a nightclub. The atmosphere was the best part of this story. Melvin - detachable penis. The ending, oh my god, the ending. Extinction Theory - could have been the start of a longer story, maybe even I novel. I'd read it. The Passion of the Robertsons - well, that's one way to save an atheist. Not my favorite. Hellscape - postapocalyptic tale of one woman's quest to save her son. Molly - wouldn't be horror without a creepy doll, now would it? Only Angels Know - body modification and the rambling musing of the doomed artist. Hard to follow. My least favorite. Limb Memory - an amputee's missing limb misses it's owner just a little too much. Feast of Consequences - My all over favorite. It's Texas Chainsaw Massacre with a twist. The Going Rate - Beware the tax collector, he doesn't want your money. Too short. Darla's Problem - shouldn't let the kids get ahold of the Ouija board bad shit happens. A little abrupt at the end but my second favorite overall.
The definition of "splatterpunk" should give an idea of what this volume entails: characterised by the explicit description of horrific, violent, or pornographic scenes. With an abundance of monsters, gore, and sexual tones, it stays true to the nature of the sub-genre. My advice? Just be prepared.
(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)
I never would've known about this anthology had I not joined the one and only Horror Aficionados here on Goodreads, and took part in their January group read with author invite. Being new to the horror sub-genre of splatterpunk, I expected that it would probably involve some disgusting and gruesome "what the hell did I just read?" moments, and I quickly discovered that I was correct. I enjoyed some stories more than others, however as a whole I consider it a great piece of horrifically violent and graphic literature.
Listed below are each individual tale, starting with my most favourite. I also thank the authors for being so pleasant to talk with, and for donating all proceeds of sale to charity.
* * *Hellscape by Rich Hawkins* * * Even this quick glimpse into this forsaken world left me completely engrossed. A twisted, bloody apocalypse? My cup of tea any day of the week. The Cthulhu-theme fascinated me, as I've actually never read any such thing before (I know, shame on me). Even though it was short, and seemed to drop the reader right in the middle, I was immediately pulled into the maternal desperation of the protagonist, as well as that drive of trying to keep the madness at bay. I loved every gruesome detail and the sheer brutality.
* *Feast of Consequences by WD Gagliani & Dave Benton* * Victims fighting back - it's a particular favourite of mine. This one actually began as rather typical, reminding me of the whole Texas Chain Saw Massacre trope, yet it turns into something else entirely. The inclusion of the "Sasquatch" type monsters made my skin crawl, as I suspected the family had a rather... intimate relationship with them. Definitely images I didn't need in my head.
-Q&A with Dave Benton-
*Extinction Therapy by Bracken MacLeod* This one made me think a lot, admittedly a bit more in comparison to the others. There's a belief that we all have it inside ourselves - an animal, primitive, left over from our ancestors. What if that gets tapped into? Even good people can do bad things, and we all have unwanted thoughts that seep to the forefront sometimes. I found Spencer's journey to be fascinating, and I couldn't help but want a full-length novel.
-Q&A with Bracken MacLeod-
Darla's Problem by Kristopher Rufty A classic, isn't it? The monster in the closet, or beneath the bed. I really liked this one and, sure enough, the monster creeped me out! It made me think about how we so readily dismiss children when they speak of monsters or other such creatures that don't fit into our notion of reality - no wonder it's been the plot of so many books and movies. Also, poor Darla.
They Swim by Night by Adam Millard If it's one thing I love, it's mythical creatures, especially when an author involves their own personal twist. Ana was portrayed with such raw sexuality, and I loved the hold she had over the men in her midst. This one in particular sparked my imagination; I couldn't help but ponder over Ana's origins. She struck me as an apex predator, but also something more. Ancient. Malevolent. Like at one point in time her kind were respected and feared, yet they faded away into nothing but stories and superstition.
The Passion of the Robertsons by Duncan Ralston Well, this one certainly took religion to the extreme, and delved into the sheer insanity of two individuals. Being an atheist myself, I wouldn't want to get on the Robertson's bad side. Really, I think the couple would've been better suited to the good ol' days of when atrocities in the name of religion were the norm. Whilst I enjoyed it for what it was, it lacked in something to really make an impact. The ending was good, though!
-Q&A with Duncan Ralston-
Limb Memory by Tim Curran To think if we lose a part of ourselves, a piece of our soul goes with it. Despite the added humour to the otherwise eerie tone of this one, I didn't favour it as much as the majority of other readers. Disembodied limbs generally don't interest me all that much.
Molly by Glenn Rolfe My partner has pediophobia and while I often tease and laugh, I admit that there's something unsettling about dolls. It's the uncanny valley, right? I was left with a lot of questions regarding Molly, and I would've liked a bit more information for the events that transpired to make sense. She was able to clean up after her own murders? I felt like there was perhaps too much telling and not enough showing.
-Q&A with Glenn Rolfe-
Melvin by Matt Shaw I admit, this one made me laugh, but there was a tinge of discomfort below the absurdity. The detail was disturbing - such as Claudia's skin darkening from her insides being torn apart. It makes me shift in my seat when I think about it even now. The ending? Well, it was a great ending. However, despite my brief flare of enjoyment, I can't say I favoured it highly.
Only Angels Know by George Daniel Lea I get the impression this was supposed to be intentionally hard to follow - as it was a piece written by the character himself, of whom was a very intense and unstable individual. I had to read it twice, and still I'm not sure exactly what happened. I know he had a procedure done to himself, but it doesn't give details, and I'm left wondering if that's the whole point. Whatever we come up with in our minds might be bad enough, if not worse than what George Daniel Lea intended. Was he getting parts of himself surgically removed? Getting parts of other people stitched onto him? Maybe I just missed it completely, and it's lost within his jumbled rambling!
The Going Rate by John Boden Honestly, this one was just too short for me to get a real feel of anything. I liked the idea, of a neighbourhood having to give their pound of flesh to appease the demon, but I was left with too many questions. Like a flash, it was just over, offering what I felt like very little. I would've loved this had it been longer.
In conclusion - There's something here for everyone, but be aware of the pushing of limits. It's not pretty!
Allora, non è un libro che consiglio a chi ha uno stomaco debole. La maggior parte dei racconti è talmente cruda e con descrizioni così dettagliate che ho dovuto interrompere la lettura per non stare male. Se siete amanti del genere, però, del tutto consigliata. Tra bambole assassine, sirene, macellai e arti fantasma, potete trovare ogni sfaccettatura del genere splatter. La scrittura di quasi tutti i racconti è scorrevole e piacevole, per quanto piacevole possa essere leggere di squartamenti vari. "Molly" e "Il problema di Darla" sono due storie più sul paranormale, quindi a mio parete più interessanti. Hanno dei demoni, suspance e una trama migliore degli altri racconti, infatti sono stati questi a "salvare" questa antologia. . Mi sento di segnalare "Schegge d'inferno" di Rich Hawkins, perché tra tutti è stato il racconto migliore secondo me. Una donna cerca di trovare suo figlio in una giornata in cui il mondo sta letteralmente impazzendo, dove le persone da un secondo all'altro si rivoltano una contro l'altra dimenticando chi sono, rimanendo solo col desiderio di spargere sangue. Freya, questa donna, dovrà lottare sia contro i suoi ex vicini e amici, sia contro quell'amnesia che sembra colpirla sempre più forte. Sarà quel leggero accenno a Lovecraft, con questi "nuovi Dei" che pretendono sacrifici dopo aver fatto impazzire le persone, ma mi è piaciuto da morire. . Tutto sommato è stato un libro di compagnia, non credo sia l'antologia migliore che abbiano fatto, ma alcune storie mi sono piaciute molto.
I was happy to buy this book in support of fighting cancer. I must confess I am not really into splatterpunk and thought I would never read the anthology (I am still recovering from Poppy Z. Brite's 'The exquisite corpse'). But never say never ;-)
I particularly appreciated the following stories:
They swim by night - Adam Millard This siren is no little mermaid.
Extinction therapy - Bracken MacLeod More therapy please! Would love a sequel.
The passion of the Robertsons - Duncan Ralston 'Tis the season to be merry with Duncan's story.
Only angels know - George Daniel Lea Imagine Pinhead riding on a storm with American Mary.
Splatterpunk Fighting Back is an excellent charity anthology. Usually when I read a short story collection I read a few stories but get distracted by other books and never end up finishing. However the quality of the stories in this anthology kept me hooked and I finished this book quickly. All of the stories are different from each other but I enjoyed most of them very much. The stories move along at a quick pace and in most cases made me think. Overall I love this collection and I highly recommend it!