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Shock Totem 4: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted [Kindle Edition]

Shock Totem , Lee Thompson , Weston Ochse , A.C. Wise , Rennie Sparks , David Busboom , Justin Paul Walters , Jaelithe Ingold , K. Allen Wood
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
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  • Length: 132 pages
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Book Description

In the fourth issue of Shock Totem, K. Allen Wood and crew have compiled yet another eclectic collection of horror fiction. This issue features previously unpublished stories from the likes of Weston Ochse, Lee Thompson, A.C. Wise, Jaelithe Ingold, David Busboom, and others. Also to be found, conversations with Kathe Koja and Rennie Sparks, nonfiction by K. Allen Wood, reviews and more.

Editorial Reviews


"There is a fine array of stories, but what is perhaps most striking is the high quality of the non-fiction pieces. The interviews, essays, and columns, are extremely well done. They are mini works of art in themselves." --Sheila Merritt, Hellnotes

About the Author

Shock Totem is an American literary journal specializing in dark fantasy and horror. The debut issue was published on July 1, 2009. The publication's main goal is to promote and support new and established authors by focusing primarily on fiction, but also through nonfiction articles and interviews (called "conversations").

Product Details

  • File Size: 1253 KB
  • Print Length: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Shock Totem Publications (July 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006B1XG9Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #691,301 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No shock to learn this was a great read. September 26, 2011
Lee Thompson was charitable enough to give away a few copies of Shock Totem's latest issue and I was lucky enough to snag one. When it comes to periodicals, I buy the electronic versions exclusively because of shipping costs to Canada, so this was a real treat. I bought and read a Kindle edition of Shock Totem 1 not too long ago and was eager to read some more.

This time around there was a very diverse ensemble of authors from varying backgrounds, with established names like Weston Ochse, as well as first publications for authors like Tom Bordonaro. There's also a couple of interviews, one with Kathe Koja that turns into an opining on the state of publishing today, and a chat with one of this issue's contributing authors, Renny Sparks, that includes discussion about her music career. And one of the missing sections from digital editions is the book review portion, with some interesting looks on books, films, and albums by John Boden, Robert J. Duperre, and the witticisms of Ryan Bridger. There's also a brief essay by head honcho, K. Allen Wood, that provides a surprising punch to the stomach.

As far as the stories are concerned, this issue begins with a tragic gem by Lee Thompson called "Beneath the Weeping Willow," about Davey, a young autistic boy's ordeals within his family as he and his older brother, Jacob, cope with the break-up of their parents' marriage. The story is told in the rare second-person perspective, which is a hard nut to crack, but Lee seemed to have the perfect story in which to use it. As for the relationship between Davey and Jacob, it's heartbreaking and all too believable.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent horror collection! February 20, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I like to read short story collections. I find a lot of new authors in this manner.
Shock Totem 4 looms large above the average collection.

Running down the stories that I liked the most:
Beneath the Weeping Willow- by Lee Thompson. I liked this one so much I bought some other offerings by Mr. Thompson. 5 Stars!
Full Dental -by Tom Bordonaro. This was his first published story and it was Freaking Awesome! Fun filled, tongue in cheek and creepy. 5 Stars!
Fade to Black-by Jaelithe Ingold. A different type of cemetery story. 4 Stars!
Weird Tales-by David Busboom. Super short, super excellent! 5 Stars!
Playlist at the End-by Weston Ochse. A short story with a music score. 5 Stars!
Dead Baby Day-by Michael Penkas. It sounds much worse than it is. 4 Stars!

A couple of other things you do not find in most collections of this type:
Bloodstains and Blue Suede Shoes by John Boden and Simon Marshall-Jones. This is a bit of a history lesson concerning horror and music. I loved it, especially the parts about Robert Johnson as I'm a big blues music fan. 5 Stars!

Living Dead: A Personal Apocalypse by the editor of this collection, K. Allen Wood. It is a touching, poignant story about an alcoholic father. What makes this story different is that it is true. 5 Stars

In short, I found this collection to be most excellent and unique. I will be looking forward to more of them.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shock Totem just keeps getting more impressive January 24, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Shock Totem 4 is the team's biggest and best collection yet. I say collection, not magazine. This is an important distinction. The term magazine would imply that ST is a periodical, but periodicals have shelf-lives. The bulk of each installment of Shock Totem is fiction--stellar fiction to be more precise--and fiction never goes stale.

My favorite selections of this consistently strong volume are Lee Thompson's melancholy oddity "Beneath the Weeping Willow" (which is narrated in second-person by its young autistic protagonist and never comes off as exploitative even given its difficult premise), "Playlist at the End" by Weston Ochse (which may be one of the very few serial killer stories that I've ever enjoyed, due in large part to its novel "playlist" structure and the sheer quality of the writing and characterization) and "Dead Baby Day" by Michael Penkas (a short-short story that perfectly captures what little jerks kids can be to each other). Also of note are the inclusion of some strong poetry ("Lobo" by Justin Paul Walters) and nonfiction ("Living Dead: A Personal Apocalypse" by editor K. Allen Wood, a true-life-horror story about watching a loved-one hitting bottom).

The paper edition is a sturdy digest-sized book (with numbered spine) and looks great on a shelf. The digital edition (which I picked up when the publishers offered it for free) is all the same fiction and poetry in an attractively-formatted file complete with a linked table of contents. Whichever one you pick up: you can't go wrong.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive quality January 25, 2012
By Becs
The quality of this publication is impressive. The interior layout is extremely well done, and easy on the eye. As with any collection by a number of authors, there are some stories I loved, some I liked, and a couple I wasn't so keen on (but that's just down to personal taste; all were very well-written).

I'll mention my favourites: `Beneath the Weeping Willow' - about an autistic boy - was brilliant and heart-breaking, with excellent characterisation. `Full Dental' was great fun to read. That is one crazy workplace! `Weird Tales' reminded me of old-fashioned ghost stories, and it has a great last line. `Playlist at the End' is a good one about a serial killer's choice of music. As usual with Shock Totem, there's a good mix of fiction and non-fiction. I liked the `Living Dead' essay, and the section showing the inspiration for the stories is a nice touch.

I'll definitely be re-reading Shock Totem #4.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Issue 4 should be arriving through your door.
Love Shock Totem to death. Usually a five out of five read for me but two of the shorts just didn't float my boat this time. Don't be put off though. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Adrian Shotbolt
3.0 out of 5 stars Wise was great always find it eerie when children talk to ghost
Shock Totem always gives me the creeps but this one gave only a mild chill in the air for me.

Beneath the Weeping Willows I read previously in a collection of Lee... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Donald Armfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Consistently Awesome
I hadn't planned on doing another review for Shock Totem but I can't believe how consistently great this publication is. Read more
Published 13 months ago by LovecraftLass
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most consistently high quality horror magazines
The title of this review carries the bulk of my five stars. Not only is Shock Totem consistently great, each issue is consistently varied. Read more
Published on August 13, 2012 by Michael Wehunt
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Gorgeous
The dark and gorgeous cover art of Shock Totem's 4th issue is what first attracted me to the publication. Read more
Published on May 2, 2012 by Alexis A. Hunter
3.0 out of 5 stars Another great edition of Shock Totem
Another great showing by the people at Shock Totem. There were some really great stories in here. My favorite being the lead story, "Beneath the Weeping Willow" by Lee Thompson. Read more
Published on January 27, 2012 by W. D. Prescott
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