Weird Gets Noir
This is the second in an annual series that’s fast becoming, on the strength of this showing, a gold standard in contemporary weird fiction. No surprise, given the pedigree of Undertow Publications and series editor Michael Kelly. Each volume is collated by a different guest editor, and this time it’s Kathe Koja. “Part of the excitement comes from comparing and contrasting each year’s volume,” says Kelly in his Foreword. I don’t know what I expected from a volume curated by Kathe Koja, but what we get is notably raw and jolting. Often right from the opening line. “He didn’t even know he was dead. I had just shot this guy in the head and he’s still standing there giving me shit,” begins Nathan Ballingrud’s blistering N’awlins occult noir, “The Atlas of Hell,” which opens and pretty much sets the tone for the whole volume.
short fiction reviews by Lauren Colie
Aliens, ghosts and skypeople — all the otherworldy beings are coming out to play in this Cabinet. We’ve got reminders about how love hurts, how your past will never leave you alone and, well, how the way to anyone’s heart truly is their stomach. Digest some delightful strange in this week’s shorter fare.
A Review of Lacrimosa, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia Nightmare Magazine
by Paul St. John Mackintosh
Exquisitely disturbing tales
V.H. Leslie is an artist and printmaker, as well as a very fine writer, and a member of England’s Omega Printmakers in Portsmouth. The fourteen dark and weird stories in this first collection are as finely crafted as you’d expect from her background, and as mysteriously suggestive as any cryptic design. Her work has been compared to Shirley Jackson or M.R. James, but is completely modern in its fantastic, surreal flavor.
Let the familiar tickle your fancy. Deals with the devil, alien beings, Facebook, Twitter and even Dorian Gray make an appearance in this Cabinet. Reimagine and reinvigorate these classic tropes with a contemporary twist. Mind your feet — there’s some…things…it’d be best not to step on. The Fiddler of Bayou Teche, by Delia Sherman […]
“His shoulders sprouted stalks that bloomed azure honeycomb shapes whose openings sang like river reeds. The blond color of his hair replaced itself with a mosslike green, whose strands often swayed as though in a passing current.”
A Folk Rock Frightener in England Elizabeth Hand, a prize-winning New York-born author who lives in Maine, has produced one of the best English mystery tales for many a day. “It began as a riff on Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca,” she has said elsewhere, and the riff developed into a mesmerizing original composition with, as it […]
Open the door into a menagerie for this week’s Cabinet. Strange beings and strange people populate the shelves, each a curio for us to consider. There are questions about ethics, character and love wrapped up in bizarre, two-headed and three-footed packages. Don’t forget: there’s always more than meets the eye. A Review of “The […]
“If life seems slow and meaningless, go somewhere where you depend on Christy to get you back.”
Wide open skies, sprawling Western states and the tippy-top of the atmosphere. Here, we can spend time wondering who we are — this week, we’re taking field trips. Run across plains, climb mountains, soar skyward, abandon work and embark on a Kerouacian exploration of self and society. Let the Weird introduce you to the wonderful. […]
This week it’s all about manipulating emotions. Let these authors in when they knock; your reward will be an immersive experience that wrenches from you feelings you didn’t expect. Be ready for disgust, horror, delight, peace and disruption. All this and more awaits in these guaranteed mood-changers. A Review of Featherweight, by Robert […]