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Epeolatry Book Review: The Language of Shadows by Aaron White

Disclosure:

Our reviews may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through the links in this article we may receive a small commission or referral fee. This happens without any additional cost to you.

Title: The Language of Shadows
Author: Aaron White
Genre: Horror/Short Stories
Publisher: Independent
Release Date: 31st Dec, 2020

Synopsis: A strange house and its equally strange occupant lurk in the middle of a forbidden stretch of woods near a small, superstitious village.On a cold wintery night, an unfortunate accident sends a young man to a nightmarish hospital where nothing is quite as it seems.A series of bizarre deaths leads a detective to the coast of a New England town where something sinister lurks deep in the ocean.An infamous artist creates one last frightening piece of work and unleashes it upon a prestigious gallery and its guests.A wealthy entrepreneur, having exhausted every earthly indulgence, seeks new experiences beyond the known universe using experimental and dangerous technology.These stories and more await you in THE LANGUAGE OF SHADOWS, a collection of short stories written and illustrated by award-winning artist Aaron White.

THE LANGUAGE OF SHADOWS, a collection of short stories written and illustrated by award-winning artist Aaron White, does not disappoint. 

Prime Time Terror, about a video portal to a nightmarish reality found amongst the MC’s father’s stuff, is reminiscent of the movie, Beyond the Gates. Although this story takes place in a darker place. 

Lonely Girl, in omniscient POV (which I like) left the MC reeling in confusion, and his predator unable to come to terms with her appetite.

Hell is for Children—the title calls to mind Pat Benatar, but the tale does NOT. The story takes place at haunted children’s asylum on mischief night, and it included the ever-trepidatious Ouija Board. I liked the journey, but had unresolved questions at the end. 

Happy Day Exile was my personal favorite. Aliens + clowns + space worms + cannibals = a Happy Day burger. 

I liked that most stories included a comeuppance, because I like to see perps get punished. To me, that’s a happy ending. 

Also a plus—the illustrations. My mind formed a picture of the evil-intent, but I preferred White’s renderings over my imagination. 

Hell, outer space, and other dark realms provided creepy settings. I think White gave just about every age group good space on the page. 

As writers, we all have our pet words. The only thing keeping me from giving this collection a ‘five’ is over usage of the word “some”. Horror, feelings, and eerie places need to be defined. I’m not scared of some things or some places. I’m scared of demos and dark hallways. 

Still, this is worthy of reading!  out of 5 ravens

Available from Amazon and Bookshop.

Guest Post: Tortured Willows—Bent. Bowed. Unbroken Lee Murray’s Sneak Peek

A preview of ‘Tortured Willows—Bent. Bowed. Unbroken’

Lee Murray

 

Tortured Willows—Bent. Bowed. Unbroken

Poetry by Christina Sng, Angela Yuriko Smith, Lee Murray, and Geneve Flynn

 

I’m delighted to join my Crane sisters—Christina Sng, Angela Yuriko Smith, and Geneve Flynn—to bring you Tortured Willows, a collaborative collection comprising 60 poems expanding on the themes of otherness, expectation, and tradition that were introduced in our multi-award-winning anthology Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women (Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson Awards). With a foreword by dark fiction writer, poet, and historian, K.P. Kulski, the author of Fairest Flesh, and a stunning cover design by Kyra Starr, Tortured Willows releases on Poetry Day, 7 October 2021, from Yuriko Publishing. Today, I’m excited to give readers of The Horror Tree an advance peek of one of my poems from the collection:

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Taking Submissions: Midnight in the Stagecoach

Deadline: April 30th, 2022
Payment: $ 0.06/word
Theme: Horror set in the 1800s Old West

Evil awaits you on the dusty trail…

With the success of our first three MIDNIGHT anthologies (Midnight In The Graveyard, Midnight In The Pentagram, and Midnight From Beyond The Stars), it’s time to roll out the 4th in our ever growing series – MIDNIGHT IN THE STAGECOACH!

Silver Shamrock Publishing is announcing the Open Call for the MIDNIGHT IN THE STAGECOACH anthology.

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Indie Bookshelf Releases 09/24/21

Click on the book covers for more information. Remember to scroll down to the bottom of the page – there’s all sorts lurking in the deep.

Got a book to launch, an event to promote or seeking extra work/support as a result of being hit economically by Covid or life in general?

Get in touch and we’ll promote you here. The post is prepared each Thursday for publication on Friday. Contact us via Horror Tree’s contact address or connect via Twitter or Facebook.

Services

Editing: Michael David Wilson, This Is Horror Founder and Editor In Chief, podcaster, and writer (The Girl in the Video) is currently offering his freelance editing services. “Michael David Wilson invented the fine-toothed comb. His attention to detail is second to none, and he has a wonderful understanding of structure. This is a guy who knows how good writing works.”—Ray Cluley, author of WATER FOR DROWNING Michael has over ten years of editing experience and has edited books by Josh Malerman, Pat Cadigan, Stephen Graham Jones, David Moody, and many others. He’s worked with various publishing houses and small presses including Rebellion Publishing and Broken River Books. Prices start from £0.01/word. For further information go here: michaeldavidwilson.co.uk/editing/. Contact Michael: [email protected]

Editing, critiquing, artworkEugene Johnson is a man of many talents, an award-winning editor, filmmaker and artist. He will be will be selling his art, book covers, book art, logo designs, making prints, offering short story critiques/edits, special book projects like a coloring book he’s creating with another author and more for a small fee. Initially to fund desperately needed repairs on his car, once that is complete he hopes to turn his focus towards helping others that need support. Join him in his endeavours in getting this help to those who need it. Contact him via https://plaiddragonpublishing.com/ and he can also be found on https://www.facebook.com/eugene.johnson.14855. If you’d like to help him get his car fixed that bit quicker, please drop in on his Fundraiser set up by friends. (I think another link will be set up in the near future regarding his services and I’ll update it here when that happens.)

EditingElle Turpitt, elleturpittediting.com, is facing redundancy. Help her by considering her as an editor. She is available for all editing work – short story, novella, novel, or chapter extracts. She also has a Ko-Fi (ko-fi.com/elleturpitt), or if you’d rather send a little gift to help her smile at a stressful time, she has a wishlist set up for this month (amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls). All support is appreciated. 

 

Writing and Editing Services from Ben Long. Go to Ben for ‘Killer Copy, Creative Content, and Eye-opening Edits’! Ben is ‘a passionate and engaging freelancer with 2+ years of experience in a variety of writing and editing endeavors. He is also a regular contributor to several online brands in the horror niche.’ You can find out more about him here https://readingvicariously.net/services/.

 

Events

Please send us details of any online panels, conventions, festivals and workshops and we’ll list them here.

 

 

 

Charity Anthologies

 Tales Of The Lost Volume Two- A charity anthology for Covid- 19 Relief: Tales To Get Lost In A CHARITY ANTHOLOGY FOR COVID-19 RELIEF by [Gaiman, Neil,, Hill, Joe,, Johnson, Eugene M,]  Flashes of Hope by [Anna Taborska, Dave Jeffery, Amy Grech, Matthew Davis, John Cady, Emma Lee, Gwen Weir, Ken Goldman, Alyson Faye, Theresa Derwin]    

 

Latest Book Launches

Horror Tree Sponsor* and Patreon Releases!

Trembling With Fear: Year 4 by [Stuart Conover, Stephanie Ellis] Trembling With Fear: More Tales From The Tree: Volume 3 by [Stuart Conover, Stephanie Ellis, Catherine Kenwell] Trembling With Fear: Serial Killers: Volume 2 by [Stuart Conover, Stephanie Ellis, Catherine Kenwell]

*All Horror Tree sponsors are able to claim a spot at the top of our listing during the donation of their sponsorship. Please use our contact form for more advertising pricing.
 
 

 

They Slipped Through the Net

Rhitta Gawr (Short Sharp Shocks! Book 73) by [David Watkins]

 

August 

The Undertaker and Other Macabre Tales by [Derek Hutchins] The Final Gate by [Wesley Southard, Lucas Mangum] 

Devil's Night by [Curtis M. Lawson, Joe Morey] DEVIL TAKE THE HINDMOST: A TRUE STORY OF TERROR by [Michael Anthony Gagliardi] Oblivion in Flux: A Collection of Cyber Prose by [Maxwell Ian Gold, Crystal Lake Publishing] Traces Accumulated in Snow and other Weird Tales of Japan (Hauntologies) by [David Rees-Thomas]

Pandemic Unleashed by [Skywatcher Press, Matthew Hollis Damon, Marie Lanza, Rich Restucci, Claire Davon, Victoria Hancox, Hillary Lyon, Kara Race-Moore, Rachel W. Roth, Richard Clive]  Below by [Kev Harrison]

Broken Moons by [Caitlin Mazur, Stephanie Scissom, Jennifer Hatfield, Tim Mendees, Chris Hewitt, Chris Bannor, Janine Pipe, G. Allen Wilbanks, Lyndsey Ellis-Holloway, Callum Pearce] Adding To A Map With No Territory by [Devin Sams] Gorefest: Extreme Horror Anthology by [Wrath James White, Stephen Kozeniewski, Armand Rosamilia, Wesley Southard, Jay Wilburn, Jonathan Butcher, Jack Bantry, Robert Essig, Patrick C. Harrison, K. Trap Jones] The Rules of the Road by [C.B. Jones]

Haunt: A Supernatural Anthology (Five Hundred Fiction Book 6) by [Black Hare Press, B.F. Vega, Chris Bannor, Chris Hewitt, Darlene Holt, David Green, Eric Butler, Helen M. Merrick, J.M. Faulkner, J.W. Garrett, Jay Alexander, Jodi Jensen, Kate Campbell, Kimberly Rei, L.J. McLeod, Leanbh Pearson, Lynne Lumsden Green, Lynne Phillips, Maxine Churchman, Patrick Winters, Peter J. Foote, R.A. Goli, S.O. Green, Sarah Jane Justice, Scott McGregor, Stephanie Scissom, Warren Benedetto] The Girl in the Attic by [Jon Athan]  There Is No Death, There Are No Dead: Tales of Spiritualism Horror by [Kathe Koja, Gemma Files, Lee Murray, Laird Barron, S.P. Miskowski, Gwendolyn Kiste, Helen Marshall, Chesya Burke, Lisa Morton, Crystal Lake Publishing]

Jedi Summer by [John Boden] 666 (Dark Drabbles Book 11) by [Black Hare Press, G. Allen Wilbanks, Micah Castle, Megan Feehley, Colin Leonard, Sheri White, Armand Gloriosa, Radar DeBoard, Reuben Paul, S.A. O’Driscoll, Jodie Angell, Scott G. Gibson, Matthew Wallace, Delena Brothaigh, Dusty Burford, Arlo Gorevin, Buck Charger, Ali House, Emma Phillips, Kara Jones, David Green, R. Wayne Gray, Marcelo Medone, Chris Hewitt, Adrian David, Jay Faulkner, River South, Brian Rosenberger, Dana Branch, Beth W. Patterson, K. Wren Reeds, Ann Wycoff, Doug Jacquier, Bex Pinckney, Jenniefer Andersson, B.A. Nielsen, Collin Yeoh, Dustin Pinney, L.T. Emery, Brian Maycock, T.A. Arnold, Louise Zedda-Sampson, Grace R. Reynolds, Delfina Bonuchi, Kurt Adam, P.R. Tough, Daytona Bulove, Jaimie McGivery, Mike Murphy, Matt Scott, Dorann Brooke, Brooke Percy, James S. Austin, John Kujawski, L.T. Ward, Frances Lu-Pai Ippolito, D.J. Tyrer, Henry Myllylä, Peter Caffrey, Blaise Langlois, Mason Santiago, Catherine Kenwell, Robyn Fraser, Blakewood Grey, Kateri Tough, L.N. Hunter, J.D. Frain, Jay Alexander, Jaden Apollo, Zedonk, Gus Wood, S.J. Crowe, Jade Cinders, Denver Grenell, Kimberly Rei, M. Korps, Oliver C. Seneca, Suann Amero, Renee Schnebelin, Christopher T. Dabrowski, Julia Mraczny, Benjamin Goldstein, Garrison McKnight, Christine Bottas, Simon J. Plant, Robin Braid, S. Jade Path, Aaron Lebold, Jonathan MacDonald, August Quinn, Destiny Eve Pifer, Meera Dandekar, Michelle Brett, K. Wreeds, J.C. Haggerty, John Lane, Wondra Vanian, August van Stralen, Rowan Bell, Benjamin Kurt Unsworth, Nick Petrou, Renee Cronley, N.S. Reiss, Steven Holding, John West, B.J. Thrower, Charlotte Langtree, Sean M. Palfrey, Dasie Barkus, Gloria Martin, Sabeen Sadiq, Lauren Winter, Tom Trussel, A.H. Syme, Constantine E. Kiousis, Gregg Cunningham, Billie Griffin, Eddie D. Moore, Annya Alexander, Maxwell Marais, Keith R. Burdon, Olivia Ava, Kelly Matsuura, Jameson Grey, Bridget Haug, Michael D. Evans, Quinn Shepherd, C. Danny Castro, Russell Hemmell, Stephen Herczeg, D. Marie Brougher, Shawn M. Klimek, Den Ghostliven, Dorian J. Sinnott, Bill Hughes, John Ward, Michael Anthony Dioguardi, C. Daniela Castro, C.D. Castro, C. Dan Castro, S.O. Green, K.W. Reeds, Amanda Evans, Dani West, Tuesday Fang, Angel Spencer, Guy Riessen, Justin Allec, Gordon Dunleavy, Ainsley Davidson, Amanda Cecelia Lang, Jason Hardy, Bernardo Villela, Mason H. Hilden, Joshua E. Borgmann, R.J. Meldrum, Soren Ringh, Peter Kerby, Gary Clifton, Hari Navarro, Gene Lee, Tracy Davidson, D.B. Morvid, Yvette Appleby, Danielle Bonnin, Finnian Burnett, Kate Lowe, Jay Baird, Mendel Mire, Danyel Bardo, Dire Bonnington, D. Day Bryan, Matt Krizan, Roxanne Klimek, Susan Vita, A.S. Charly, Jaycee Durand, Danelley Beat, K.B. Elijah, R.M. Hannigan, Sherry Osborne, Andrew Davis, Angie Wallace, Lance Dale, Jean Martin, John C. Mannone, Conrad Gardner, Gary McDonough, Kevin David Anderson, Samson Stormcrow Hayes, Emery Blake, Nikki R. Leigh, Alexandra Haverská, Jacek Wilkos, Jennifer Lai, Keely O’Shaughnessy, Lindsey Harrington, Ronnie Smart, Jen Mierisch, Evan Baughfman, Lindsay Mansfield, Mari Ness, Nerisha Kemraj, Friday Roberts, Jennifer Canaveral, Darke Blud, Michelle Brooks, Drew Man, Alyson Hasson, Mason Davidson, S.J. Townend, Andra Dill, L.J. McLeod, Michael Gregory, Clint White, Paula R.C. Readman, J.M. Faulkner, Catrin Lawrence, Beckett Van Stralen, Darkbird Bat, J.F. Garrard, Cassandra O’Sullivan Sachar, Raven Isobel Plum, Mariya West, Fred White, James Flanagan, Cassandra Angler, Carla Eliot, Darlene Holt, Gabriella Balcom, Rachel Reeves, Amber M. Simpson, K.J. Watson, Rowan Skylar, Helen M. Merrick, B.T. Petro, Kevin Singer, Teresita E. Dziadura, Sam Lesek, Furr Kewmal, Diane Arrelle, Tyler York, Lane Jordan, Robert Balentine Jr., Joshua D. Taylor, Connor Sassmannshausen, Woodrow Fleer, Marion Lougheed, Kat Friday, Warren Benedetto, Blen Mesfin, Isaac Menuza, Munday Locke, Douglas Gwilym, Maxine Churchman, Alison Waddy, Kennedi Waters, Caitlyn Palmer, Patrick Winters, Rich Rurshell, Ronnie Scissom, Seona Shaw, Miriam H. Harrison, Jade Wildy, Scott McGregor, Karen Bayly, Dean Shawker, Margarida Brei, Joshua Greally, Fiona M. Jones]  Alamo Gold: A Bones Bonebrake Adventure (Bones Bonebrake Adventures Book 5) by [David Wood]

Foxhunt by [Rem Wigmore] The Record Store at the Edge of the Time Stream

September

1 The Strange Thing We Become and Other Dark Tales by [Eric LaRocca] 1 Writers Workshop of Horror 2 by [Michael Knost] 1 Empty Graves: Tales of the Living Dead by [Jonathan Maberry] 1 The Museum For Forgetting by [Pete W Sutton]

1 3 Shattered Circle: A Jackson Cole Novel Book 1 by [John Stamp, Valhalla Books Publisher] 3 Acquisitor: A Jackson Cole Novel Book 2 by [John Stamp, Valhalla Books Publisher]4 Ravel by [Cassidy Ward]

6 Picture6 Man-Beast by [Deborah Sheldon]7 Grimoire of the Four Impostors by [Coy Hall]  7

10Floaters by [Garrett Boatman, Crystal Lake Publishing] 14 Priory (Oliver Hardacre Book 1) by [Becky Wright] 20 Unbreakable Ink by [Shebat Legion]20

21 The House of Little Bones by [Beverley Lee] 21 Were Tales: A Shapeshifter Anthology by [Jonathan Maberry, Eric J. Guignard, Stephanie Ellis, Catherine McCarthy, Gabino Iglesias, Cindy O'Quinn, Cynthia Pelayo, Christina Sng, Laurel Hightower, H.R. Boldwood, Ben Monroe, Elle Turpitt, Michelle Garza, Melissa Lason, Beverley Lee, S.H. Cooper, Villimey Mist, Kev Harrison, Theresa Derwin, Ruschelle Dillon, Linda Addison, Stephanie Wytovich, Tabatha Wood, Shane Douglas Keene, Sara Tantlinger, Alyson Faye, Baba Jide Low, S.D. Vassallo]21 22

26 Whitesands: A John Dark Case by [Johann Thorsson] 28 Midnight From Beyond the Stars by [Gabino Iglesias, James Newman, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Tim Curran, Lee Murray, Ronald Kelly, Samantha Kolesnik, William Meikle, Kenneth W. Cain] 30 Kill Kit Killers: Premeditated murder, proved with their kits 30

October

1 Gorefest: Extreme Horror Anthology by [Wrath James White, Stephen Kozeniewski, Armand Rosamilia, Wesley Southard, Jay Wilburn, Jonathan Butcher, Jack Bantry, Robert Essig, Patrick C. Harrison, K. Trap Jones] 1 A House At War: House Arrath Book 11  1

1 5 What One Wouldn't Do: An Anthology on the Lengths One Might Go To by [Scott J. Moses, J.A.W. McCarthy, Joanna Koch, Eric LaRocca, Hailey Piper, Christi Nogle, Cheri Kamei, Daniel Barnett, Eric Raglin, Laurel Hightower] 12 Dead in the Water by [Jennifer Soucy]14

15 Image of The Voice of the Burning House: Poems - PREORDER15 Image of The Ettinfell of Beacon Hill: Gothic Tales of Boston - PREORDER 16 Seeds by [Tabatha Wood] 19 Image

21 Postcards from the Body Farm: Horror Unlimited Book 2 by [Charlotte O'Farrell] 26 The Sound of Breaking Glass: (and other weird tales) by [Christine Makepeace, Gabino Iglesias]

November

12 With Benefits: What's a bit of fun between friends?

Kickstarters and Gofundme!

Kickstarter from The Dread Machine

Mixtape: 1986 features dread-filled stories about latchkey kids, monsters, housewives, gamers, murderers, truckers, spies, and more. Our table of contents has already been finalized, so this Kickstarter campaign will fund printing and production of paperback and digital copies of Mixtape: 1986, including compensating our contributors. If we hit our funding goal with time to spare, we’ll activate stretch goals! Prices for all editions (e-book, paperback, hardback) of Mixtape: 1986 are specially discounted for this campaign; after this campaign ends, they will only be available at a higher retail price. 

For more info, click the image.

50935000_1630932056844662_r.jpegFrom their page: ‘Don’t Go Into The Cellar! have been touring the U.K. since 2010 performing their own unique brand of Victorian Gothic theatre. However, since the lock-down was enforced all theatres have been forced to close their doors to live performances.
This campaign is to prevent our business folding.
It costs us £1000 per month to stay afloat (insurance, basic wages, website hosting, storage costs).
We broadcast fortnightly live broadcasts via our Facebook page, as part of our Sunday Down The Cellar season. These performances are free to view, but all donations are gratefully received.

https://www.facebook.com/CellarTheatre/

Please spare whatever you can to help us to continue what we do, and to keep the arts alive in our own macabre way! Thank you.’ Click the image to go to the fund page.

Happy reading.

Steph

 on behalf of Stuart and the Horror Tree Team

 

‘Traitors of the Black Crown’ Blog Tour – Finding Your Voice

Finding Your Voice by Cate Pearce

 

In my second year of undergrad (2006), I took a unique creative writing course. It was a night class so about half of the students were “adult learners” at midpoints in their careers. The other half were college kids like me; we fell short of the criteria for the “real” creative writing programs due to missed deadlines or less-than-impressive portfolios. It was a hodge-podge of experiences, ages, and interests. It was also the best writing course I have ever taken.

 

The premise of the class was simple. We had to write the entire ninety minutes. Once class started, we could not talk. If we had something to say to someone, we had to write it, and then read it aloud. The only socializing was done before, or after class.

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Taking Submissions: Death of a Bad Neighbour: Revenge is Criminal (Early)

Submission Window: October 1st – 31st, 2021
Payment: 10 cents per word and royalties
Theme: Short crime or mystery stories to fit the Death of a Bad Neighbour theme

Anthology to be edited by Jack Calverley host of the CrimeCityCentral Crime City Central podcast

From the rock star in his fairytale Gothic mansion in Central London whose neighbour plans a double basement excavation, to the retiree in a fisherman’s cottage in the northeast of England whose neighbour tells lies to a court to acquire the back garden that is not theirs: we are plagued by bad neighbours.

One recent article in the Daily Telegraph Online which reported the trauma caused by at best inconsiderate, but at worst criminal, neighbours accumulated five hundred registered comments within half an hour of being published.

It does not take a crime writer to know that a plague of bottom-feeders calls for an exterminator. But it does take the creatively criminal-minded to come up with the bestest plan ever…

Such is the inspiration for “Death of a Bad Neighbour: Revenge is Criminal” – an anthology of all-new crime and mystery stories.

Submission window is October 2021.

Incidentally, the rock star is Jimmy Page, he of Led Zeppelin fame. His expansive neighbour is Robbie Williams, some crooner or other. And the original suggestion for an anthology came from Carter Blakelaw who was mid-discussion of his story “Tinnitus” at the time (please don’t use “Tinnitus” as a story title. Now it will sound second-hand).

10 cents a word plus a share of royalties

So, I’m after around 20 short crime or mystery stories to fit the Death of a Bad Neighbour theme, 2,000 to 5,000 words (you’re the best judge of the sweet spot length of the story you tell), paying U.S. 10 cents a word for first English language text (eBook and print) and audio publication rights (exclusivity of these rights reverts to the author 12 months after publication or 18 months after the submission deadline, whichever is sooner, and waived for Best Of collections). The submission deadline is October 31st 2021. Accept/reject decisions during December, if not before. Payment on acceptance.
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Taking Submissions: khōréō October 2021 (Early Listing)

Submission Window: October 1st – October 31st, 2021
Payment: 8 cents per word
Theme: Fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and any genre in between or around it, as long as there’s a speculative element.
Note: You must identify as an immigrant or member of a diaspora in the broadest definitions of the terms. This includes, but is not limited to, first- and second-generation immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, undocumented migrants, persons who identify with one or more diaspora communities, persons who have been displaced or whose heritage has been erased due to colonialism/imperialism, and anyone whose heritage and history includes ‘here and elsewhere’.

khōréō is a quarterly publication of stories, essays, and art: fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and any genre in between or around it, as long as there’s a speculative element. We’re especially interested in writing and art that explore some aspect of migration, whether explicitly (themes of immigration, colonialism, etc.), metaphorically, or with a sly nod and a wink. Most importantly, we’re a new magazine and we’re still finding our identity: therefore, please don’t self-reject because you’re not sure if your work is a good fit. We won’t know until we see it, so please give us a chance to look!
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Epeolatry Book Review: World War Cthulhu, ed. Brian M. Sammons & Glynn Owen Barrass

Disclosure:

Our reviews may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through the links in this article we may receive a small commission or referral fee. This happens without any additional cost to you.

Title: World War Cthulhu – A Collection of Lovecraftian War Stories
Author: Various, ed. Brian M. Sammons & Glynn Owen Barrass
Genre: Horror/Sci-Fi
Publisher: Dark Regions Press
Release Date: 12th August, 2014

Synopsis: The world is at war against things that slink and gibber in the darkness, and titans that stride from world to world, sewing madness and death. War has existed in one form or another since the dawn of human civilization, and before then, Elder terrors battled it out across this planet and this known universe in ways unimaginable.

It has always been a losing battle for our side since time began. Incidents like the Innsmouth raid, chronicled by H.P. Lovecraft, mere blips of victory against an insurmountable foe. Still we fight, against these incredible odds, in an unending nightmare, we fight, and why? For victory, for land, for a political ideal? No, mankind fights for survival.

Our authors, John Shirley, Mark Rainey, Wilum Pugmire, William Meikle, Tim Curran, Jeffrey Thomas and many others have gathered here to share war stories from the eternal struggle against the darkness. This book chronicles these desperate battles from across the ages, including Roman Britain, The American Civil War, World War Two, The Vietnam Conflict, and even into the far future.

Every story within this edition of World War Cthulhu: A Collection of Lovecraftian War Stories features an original color illustration by artist Wayne Miller.

Dark Regions Press produces a regular supply of genre-fiction anthologies. The same highly experienced writers appear many times. Dark Regions Press authors have been drenched in horror for decades, and I’ve never yet known a book from editors Brian M Sammons and Glynn Owen Barrass that left me disappointed. In short, these guys know their stuff. 

 The anthology’s general theme is warfare, and the setting is the Cthulhu Mythos. Both requirements provide significant scope for authorial flexibility. The feel was never predictable or limited. Armed struggle is one of the great truths of mankind’s existence, and the conflicts featured here—from Ancient Greece to Vietnam, the near future (2087) to World War 2—exemplify that fact. 

 Christine Morgan’s “The Ithiliad” leaps right into the Cthulhu feel, opening with the invocation ‘Father Dagon, hear my prayer’. It was an excellent story that really brought the heroes of the Trojan wars to life, while offering a disturbing glimpse of the dark vengefulness deep within their breasts. The tale provides a cosmic origin for their deities quite unlike that of accepted wisdom. 

 By contrast, “The Boonieman” by Edward M. Erdelac is set during the Vietnam War. The Americans encounter Rin, a village ‘be gio’ or sorcerer about to conduct a sacrifice designed to appease the ‘caan’, the evil spirit of their mountain home. When the caan appears in embodied form it is a terrifying vision worthy of the label ‘Lovecraftian’. 

 I enjoyed each piece of fiction in this anthology, and I appreciated the sheer variety of narrative and style on offer. This is the second Dark Regions Press anthology I’ve reviewed recently, and it would be remiss of me as a reviewer not to mention that both books I’ve read have included only one, solitary female author apiece in an otherwise wholly male lineup. This may partly be a product of the closed-submissions process described in the introduction, a method that tends towards conservatism. This traditionalism is not reflected in the variety of writers published by Dark Regions Press as a whole, but it was a very notable feature of both anthologies that the female writer’s voice was almost entirely absent. 

 In addition to an evocative cover from Vincent Chong, the anthology contained a plethora of black and white images drawn by M Wayne Miller. These were lovely, providing another effective means to draw together the individual stories into a coherent whole that fitted together perfectly. In a book I enjoyed enormously, the illustrations worked every bit as hard as the stories to make that happen. 

 Another gem from a well-known and well-respected player on the modern horror scene. 

out of 5 ravens

Available from Amazon and Bookshop.