I have not reviewed an anthology for a while, so I figured I would try Grey Matter's new book Equilibrium Overturned, which is edited by Bram Stoker Award Nominated Editors Anthony Rivera and Sharon Lawson. The novel contains 14 short horror tales. I will state right out front that these authors were striving to bring the reader more unique and inventive stories, than to purely scare them. These days it gets harder and harder to give new twists to a well-used genre, but these authors all gave it a shot and pulled it off well.
First up we have The Final Testimony of Molly Ryder
, by Jeff Hemenway. If you need to enter the mind of a serial killer to find information on his past kills would it be worth the risk? An eerie tale and good way to kick out the anthology.
Second is Amnion
, by John Everson. This is a good example of where the story went more for the odd over horror. This one's a bit sexy too. It is a little fun to imagine what sort of obsessions, that we could not imagine today, might become part of our culture in the future.
Batting third is JG Faherty's Martial Law
. This one was harder to figure out. It was sort of an 'America is Best' wet dream. What would you get if you took a politician who wanted America to dominate the world and gave him an army of undead to make it happen. I found the image of fascist culture destroying undead disturbing, but perhaps on a different level than the author intended.
Through The Ghost Lands
, by Rose Blackthorn was more dystopian than Horror, but an interesting and entertaining, if disturbing tale. In a grim lifeless land three survivors must keep moving or they attract the shades of a billion dead.
In The Collected Sylvia, Volumes 1 to1388
, Geoffrey W. Cole takes us into science fiction world of mythic proportions. I can not say this one did it for me. I missed the point perhaps, for it just seemed like an Id driven ramble to me.
S.G. Lamer presents Perfect Soldiers
. This is an inventive story about a gateway to Hell appearing on Earth. Demons fight by claiming souls more than using talon and claw and only certain folks can resist this psychic attack. I liked this one and thought it might be strong enough to produce a whole novel on the idea.Wombie
, by Martin Slag stumbles toward you next. This is a well written character driven story. A bit of a paranormal investigation with a dash of Lovecraft thrown in. This is one of the more memorable tales and an author I would like to read more of. What is it about; I think this one is up to you to figure out.
Roger Jackson is up next with No-Man's Land
. This one takes as back toward horror. A historical tale cast during WWI. No sides seems to be able to do more than kill each other, but what if one side could figure out a way to use all those dead soldiers?The Alamo Incident
, by Sean Eads is part of his Chronicle of Timaeus Shields. Good back ground work. This was like reading a small novel. I like the character and the action. Only draw back was the glorification of Andrew Jackson, who is a president I can not stand. The Butcher of Gad Street
was written by Stephen T. Fessels. Alright I loved this one. More Dark Fantasy than horror, but very exciting. Again, this was more like a few chapters from and action packed novel. Acrid is a huge warrior and a fun guy to follow around while he tried to rescue his daughter from a nasty demon.The Queen of Thermodynamic Equilibrium,
by Josh Vogt, slowed things down for me. He attempted to set up a whole universe in just a few pages and it felt a little rushed. Feeding off ghosts and the division of the humans who love of hate death did not go over well with me the way it was presented.
Jay Caselberg wrote Compartmental
. This one had my interest fading. A little arty. A little slow.This is not a Horror Story,
by Tim Waggoner brought some fun back into the anthology. A gory comedy piece. It was short and sweet, which is something some author's miss.
Lastly is Sunrise
, by Tony Knighton. This was a nice way to end the anthology. This is another strong character driven story. In a world where the sun and rain can kill you, how can a father hope to keep his sick son alive?
This was a strong and well rounded anthology. A few stories did not resonate with me, but most keep me hurrying to turn pages. More inventive than traditional horror, but that is not a bad thing. Good modern authors here. I expect I will be seeing more work from many of them.
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