Tag archives for Horror

Hooked Up

GuttedGutted by Doug Murano
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was fortunate enough to be advanced a copy of this book prior to publication. And I mean fortunate. This book is destined to generate strong sales, firstly on the strength of the names involved (Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell), and then on the strength of the poem and stories included.
Stephanie M. Wytovich leads off with an effective piece of verse, which leads into what I think is the best story in the book: Brian Kirk’s “Picking Splinters From a Sex Slave.”
That story illustrates what lengths a person might go to to accomodate a loved one, in exquisite detail. The actual tableau is revolting, but the internal logic is inescapable. The tone is perfect.
“Splinters” is followed by Lisa Mannetti and then Neil Gaiman. Both stories are good — not pedestrian, but are overshadowed by the excellence of Kirk’s piece. Christopher Cooke’s “Dominion” levels up one from those and leads into a tetralogy of really effective horror tales by Mercedes M. Yardley, Paul Tremblay, Damien Angelica Walters, and Richard Thomas, before Clive Barker takes center stage with his “Coming To Grief”. I’m not going to say that this story is as good as “classic Barker” pieces like “In the Hills, the Cities”, but it is a Barker story, and has a certain resonance.
The second-best story, John F.D. Taff’s “Cards for His Spokes, Coins for His Fare”, which has distinct Kingian undertones, is set in the early 70s of my own childhood and morphs into a fairly classic ghost yarn. Cheers for the setting and characters.
Amanda Gowin contributes a decent piece, “Cellar’s Dog”, with a good portrait of po’ white trash, and Kevin Lucia adds “When We All Met at the Ofrenda”, which again hits me especially, as I live in the Southwest and am familiar with the lore that contributes to the setting and setup.
That’s followed by good pieces from Maria Alexander and Josh Malerman, before the capstone, Ramsey Campbell’s “The Place of Revelation”, which does not disappoint.
Strong, strong, strong. Pieces that find beauty in grotesquerie, love amid the ruins, that entice you with beauty and magic and then hang you on a meathook, still wanting more.
Gutted will have out your liver and lights in an instant, after you give your heart willingly.
An easy five stars.

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Madder than…

The Madness of Cthulhu Anthology (Volume One)The Madness of Cthulhu Anthology by S.T. Joshi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lovecraftian anthologies tend to be uneven, especially earlier ones, where the stable of writers was fuller.
This is a later and smoother version, albeit with the work of some older and/or completely unexpected scribes. The level of craftsmanship is very high, and everyone clearly knows the material, which is another common issue.
I enjoyed it. Caitlin Kiernan’s story was the best, I thought (and think).

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New Kickstarter for Cthulhu Now Adventures

Hi all, Stygian Fox have just launched our first kickstarter for our first paid-for product!

The Things We Leave Behind is a modern day scenario anthology for Call of Cthulhu focussing on the madness and evil within mankind. Please take a look and support us!

It has a dark focus and has scenarios written by Jeff Moeller, Scott Dorward, Brian M. Sammons, and Si Brake. There is also art by Davide Como and maps by myself, Stephanie McAlea.

We at Stygian Fox are proud of our little twisted, tentacular baby so please take a look and support us!

The Things We Leave Behind Kickstarter

Stygian Fox is a licensee of Chaosium Inc and it’s I.P. is used with permission.

Posted in Chaosium, Crowdfunding, CthulhuNow, Delta Green, Gaming, The Laundry | Leave a comment

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