Skjam!'s Reviews > The Complete Knifepoint Horror

The Complete Knifepoint Horror by Soren Narnia
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's review
Jun 03, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: anthologies, horror, firstreads, sf, published-2011-2020, author-n
Recommended to Skjam! by: Goodreads
Recommended for: horror fans, advanced readers who enjoy experimental fiction
Read from June 08 to 16, 2012

Disclosure: I received this book as part of a Firstreads giveaway on the premise that I would read and review it.

One of the interesting aspects of writing is the self-imposed challenge. Poems in a rigid format, an exact number of words, not using gendered words--it can stretch a writer's skills, even if the product isn't always great art.

As described in the blurb, "The Complete Knifepoint Horror" is an entire volume of short horror fiction stripped down to essentials. Tight first-person narration (a couple of pieces do cheat on this), no capital letter, paragraphs, page numbers or titles. No gratuitous mood-setting, fancy typography, anything like that.

For the most part, this works pretty well. When the author is "on", the narrow format makes the story especially intense. On the other hand, it tends to flatten the contrast between narrators. Nineteenth-Century and Twentyfirst-Century people "sound" identical in word choice and grammar. Sometimes if I put the book down for a moment, it was hard to tell where I'd left off, even with the aid of a bookmark.

As you might expect, full explanations are rare in these stories. Some come across as a series of random creepy events which may or may not be connected with the final horrific moment. Others leave the "monster" half-glimpsed and barely described, though there are a couple of straight-up ghost stories and a particularly good zombie apocalypse piece.

I'd also like to point out the "moss" story and the one with the deaf protagonist as innovative and especially worthwhile.

This collection should do well in audiobook or podfic format, though I would recommend having more than one reader to offset the flattening effect I mentioned above.

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06/26/2016 marked as: read

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