Torn Realities, A Horror Anthology
I remember Buckminster Fuller writing that 95% of scientifically proven reality is beyond the realm of our human sensory tools. Even though we know this, our emotional – and large doses of our rational – makeup is hopelessly tied to our senses. Then, logic would tell us, if we were to have some sort of bleed-through into our senses from that other, over-large part of reality, we would become, well, uncomfortable.
And this is what stories of the horror genre, such as those of Torn Realities, give us – visitations from beyond sensory norms. These stories inject outside-of-reality bleed-throughs into historical settings, into fantasy imaginings, into scientific what-ifs. Setting such stories almost invariably brings a solitary person into a secluded place, or a place in which buried things should be left alone, even into a sense of science beyond our human ability to handle. Mood is set through writerly devices that shine a light on the creepier aspects of such settings, virtually guaranteeing the reader will go to sleep with the lights on.
Not all such widely varied stories in an anthology will resonate with every reader. And, of course, I have favorites among the nineteen stories in this collection, which has been published by Eric Beebe’s PostMortem Press and edited by Paul Anderson.
Horror icon Clive Barker’s Rawhide Rex dresses the Anglo-Saxon classic Beowulf in different clothes and delves into his victims’ lives, even into Rawhide’s psyche.
James Dorr’s The Calm adds weather lore to the French and Indian War era’s backdrop within a lost village.
Jeff Suess’ Hallowed Ground gives us the Civil War’s horror amplified by mystery and eerie presences that shadow the bodies of the dead.
Parenthetically, my story in this collection, The Offering, was an attempt to artistically recreate the mood I experienced of a long-ago visit to Mexico’s Yucatan, the throaty breathing of its jungle life, the guarded friendliness of the native Mayans, the almost creepy serenity of its ancient architecture. As such, it hangs by a thread in relevance to this genre, a genre I have little experience of. Still, Torn Realities is a formidable intro into this genre – whether you’re a long-time fan of horror, or, like me, a newbie.
And for you writers: I’ve never had an editor work with me in such close proximity, craft-wise, as did Paul Anderson. He knew what he wanted from the story in order to have it fit this collection, and he was most patient in shepherding me in that direction.
My rating: 16 of 20 stars
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