Space Eldtritch. A Lovecraftian horror anthology edited by Nathan Shumate.
“In space, no one can hear you gibber in maddness.” (Theme for Space Eldritch I)
Three stories stood out to me in particular: “Space Opera” by Michael R. Collings, “The Shadows of Titan” by Carter Reid and Brad R. Torgerson, and “Flight of the Runewright” by Howard Taylor. I liked the trajectory of these three stories the best, was sucked in by the tension and the premises they presented, I liked the characters, and the story endings remained most distinct in my mind.
“Space Opera” follows the crew of unempathetic, insect-like aliens on a journey to colonize new worlds. Michael Collings has a wonderful way with description that makes the weirdness of the primary creatures in this story intriguing. His prose is just beautiful, though the world and characters he’s created are terrifying.
Brad Torgerson is a master storyteller. I enjoyed his descriptions and his ability to manipulate tension within the story “The Shadows of Titan,” about a crew of astronauts bound to explore an alien pyramid trapped in the frozen surface of Saturn’s moon, Titan. This author’s voice and style are very distinct, and his first-person narrative makes it so easy to step into the skin of the characters.
“Flight of the Runewright” was both somewhat comical and duly terrifying. The mystery and tension surrounding the protagonist’s escape aboard a ship with runes inscribed on the outside that could drive one mad if viewed with both eyes (or both brain hemispheres engaged) was an intriguing concept and fantastically executed.
Dave Butler’s “Arise, Thou Niarlat From Thy Rest” presented a fascinating threat that wove the lives of characters from three different times and places together in one struggle to either raise a cosmic evil or keep it at bay a little longer. Dave’s ability to shift not only viewpoints but settings from vastly different time periods and universes in an authentic way truly shows off his strengths in versatility as a storyteller.
“The Menace Under Mars” by Nathan Shumate has a similar premise to “Shadows of Titan,” but the pyramid hidden in a Martian crater is a completely unexpected discovery by the crew who stumbles across it, and the dark cosmic forces driving the chaos take on a completely different form. I enjoyed the exploration sequences in the crater away from base the most–the alien architecture was interesting and the tension was great.
David J. West’s “Gods in the Darkness” featured his mastery of descriptive action sequences where a space crew battles a leviathan creature headed for Earth as their ship descends into chaos.
“The Fury in the Void” by by Robert J. Defendi follows a Russian military space crew trying to stop genocide and torture left in the wake of battling ships when they encounter a dark presence in the universe that is far more horrifying than anything else they’ve known. This story had some creepy human-to-alien transformation sequences that I thought were interesting, and an ending that leaves you wondering just what doom awaits the universe.
Overall, a good sampling of stories bound by an interesting theme: Lovecraftian horror in space.
“The Curious Leaf: An Adventure in Wishing” by Danyelle Leafty is the story of a flower who always wanted wings, and a fairy who always wanted to be a flower.
I’ve corresponded with Danyelle online and was invited to read this work. I’ve seen her other children’s stories, but this is the first time I was able to finally sit down and read one.
This is a cute story, short and sweet. The exploration of the flower, Kya’s, magical “greenlife” plant world was charming and intriguing. It was fun to see how this author handled the flower’s ability to communicate, experience sensations, physically express feelings, and ultimately…change. Danyelle has created a beautiful little world, full of wonder and curiosity. Very creative. Delightful.
I enjoyed this.
You can get your own Kindle copy here on Amazon.
I just got my paneling schedule for Salt Lake Comic Con 2014. Check it out! SLCC will be held September 4th-6th in the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Thursday, September 4th
- 7:00 P.M. – The Appeal of Fear (Room 255F)
Friday, September 5th
- 5:00 P.M – Magic, Myths, Legends, Archetypes and the Supernatural: What Writers of Speculative Fiction Have to Work With (Room 255E)
- 8:00 P.M. – Vampires: The Many Faces of the Most Adaptable Monster (Room 251A)
Saturday, September 6th
- 12:00 P.M. – Monster Song Writing: Music With Teeth (Room 255B)
- 5:00 P.M. – Structuring Life to Support Creativity (Room 150D)
- 8:00 P.M. – Mad Scientists, Supervillains, and Sociopaths: The Road to Insanity (Room 255C)
I will also be selling my books Maladaptive Bind and Blood Oath: An Orc Love Story at Dave Butler‘s table of awesome indie authors.
More information will be posted in the weeks leading up to the convention.
If you’re planning on going, be sure to stop by one of my panels or Dave’s booth to say hi. See you there!
The Loon. A speculative horror novel by Michaelbrent Collings.
Listened to the Audible version, narrated by John Bell. Michaelbrent’s own description of the story works best: “A doctor who has lost his child. A woman in an abusive relationship. A man who thinks he is god. A madman who lives only to kill. These are the people who will come together and find that they are not alone. Cut off by a freak storm, they will discover the meaning of terror…in The Loon.”
The performance was enjoyable, and the story had me on the edge of my seat as the chaos inside the prison setting progressed. It was a little slow and melodramatic to get into at the beginning, but a very tight and intense story by the end. Lots of characters, both likable and unlikable, are killed off in brutal ways, and there’s quite a bit of implicit horror as well. I found this book very intense and enjoyed it much better when I digested it in small doses, listening a few hours at a time. Yet, the story was extremely engrossing. Be warned that this is not emotionally light reading.
The ending was satisfying and…dare I say “happy,” in a way? The characters who survive at the end are the ones that matter most…and I’ll leave it at that.
I’ve read Collings’ “Darkbound” and first three installments of “The Colony” series. While there was still a speculative element in “The Loon,” the horror in this particular story was more real-world than fantastic.
Unique to the audio experience, I’d have to say The Monster passages had cool effects and were my favorite to listen to. Paul, Rachel, and Becky were the characters whose points of view I craved most to return to. Steiger was also extremely creepy and well done in the voice of John Bell. There were a variety of accents that came through in various minor characters that I thought were well done. The narrator did a good job making the unlikable characters unlikable, and the likable characters sympathetic with tone of voice, accents, and other effects.
I went to a steampunk convention up in Salt Lake yesterday called Salt City Steamfest. I haven’t yet produced any steampunk literature or other art, and I’ll confess it’s not a genre I’m personally into as much as others. I didn’t bring anything to sell, but rather went to get a sense of the convention’s atmosphere, network, and say hello to people I knew. The convention became a fun opportunity to reconnect with friends from my indie network, including Carter Reid, his wife Kelly, Dave Butler, James Wymore, and David West.
Xycher Publishing, who will be incorporating a short story of mine into their upcoming Mr. and Mrs. Myth anthology, had a booth in the premium vendor’s room. I had a chance to meet Penny Freeman, McKenna Gardner, Scott Tarbet, Sarah Hyatt, Aly Grauer, and others from the “X-team,” as they…or rather we call ourselves. They’re a very warm, enthusiastic, and easy-going bunch, and I’m pleased and excited to be associated with them for this project.
(I snagged this picture of myself with Penny Freeman at the Xchyler vendor table from the Xchyler Publishing FB page)
I was also spontaneously invited to be on two panels today. One that Dave and James invited me to ended up having no attendance, so we disbanded. The other panel consisted of seven authors and editors (plus myself) from Xchyler Publishing. As most of the audience’s questions focused on authors’ experiences with the editing procedures at Xchyler, and I have yet to go through them, I didn’t say much on that particular panel. It was, however, such a nice feeling to be included by both my indie associates and my new publisher in these things.
The next event I plan to attend is Salt Lake Comic Con, September 4th-6th. My plan is to certainly be on panels and selling my indie books. I will also be bringing some hand-painted dinosaur jewelry boxes to sell. See you then!