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Shock Totem 3: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted Paperback – January 7, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
In Issue 3, for instance, there's a little gem titled "The Meat Forest" by John Haggerty. Wonderfully surreal in verbal imagery & saturated with originality, this is both a great horror story on the surface & a cutting commentary on the nature of life, including human life. I can imagine the directors & special effects people at Showtime network having a ball turning this piece into an episode for their *Masters of Horror* series. Simply creating 'the meat forest' itself would be an Fx person's wet dream!
Issue 3 has another treasure too, a little story called "Drift" by Amanda C. Davis. It's a lovely story of a small child's fascination with snowflakes. Remember, we ALL loved making snowflakes out of cut paper in school. Let's just say little Caden's fascination with snowflakes turns into a preoccupation, then a fear. Caden's mother & father take him out to play in the snow in an effort to address the fear before it becomes problematic. I'm going to leave the story there.Read more ›
Okay, on to the fiction.
With this third issue of ST, they managed to pack even more stories in its pages than the two previous editions. Things kick off with a nasty little road story from Tim Lieder called "Bop Kabala and Communist Jazz." It's an unsettling little tale with a wheel man a self-styled preacher--of sorts--and a pretty little hitchhiker. From there, things got pretty grim. John Haggerty's "The Meat Forest" is a prison break story set in a Russian landscape that is about as unforgiving as any inmate's nightmare. The characters try to traverse a forest that requires them to always move, never stop, or else they will wind up like the rest of the poor souls who stopped along the way and became just another piece of the Meat Forest.
"Drift" by Amanda C. Davis is another standout story, a child's fear of the snow outside. "The snow is made of bugs," said Caden: that's how the story starts, and by god, the creepiness just ramps up and up as the mother tries to console her child and ease her own paranoia. Aaron Polson's "Wanting It" is another one that does a good job of squeezing every bit of atmosphere out of a story idea, with two friends and their obsession with ghosts and local legends, and wanting them just a little too much.Read more ›
Midway through Shock Totem 3, I read "Drift" by Amanda C. Davis. This story captured me with its very natural, very realistic portrayal of a child. The descriptions brought to mind images of my own little brother and so when tragedy struck (as it always does), it was doubly painful. Amanda managed to take what seemed like a normal winter day and just bury me in her imagination, wording and originality.
"A Birth in the Year of the Miracle Plague" by Jeremy Kelly also fascinated me. It had such a subtle and original take on a well-known fantasy subject (I don't wish to spoil it, so I will not say more) and strong, meaningful characters.
All in all, I found nothing to displease in Shock Totem issue 3. I look forward to reading #2 next!
Favourite stories included `Mr. Many Faces', a heart-breaking tale which stays in the mind a long time after reading. `Drift' is an unnerving story about snow, and is nicely done. I enjoyed the vivid scenery in `The Meat Forest'. The story makes you wonder what you would do in the same situation. The meat forest and prison camp were such great settings that I thought it would be great if the author included them in a longer story, maybe a novel or film script. `Duval Street' is another good one - I actually copied three of the sentences into my notebook, because I liked the sound of them so much. I'll be re-reading that story many times.
The non-fiction is interesting, and I especially liked `Voracious Black', a piece about darkness, and also the interview with D. Harlan Wilson.
There were only two stories I didn't much care for, but that's down to personal preferences. This would make a great addition to the bookshelf of any dark fiction fan. I recommend it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love horror anthologies and this one did not disappoint. I'm thrilled to see that this title has become a series. Read morePublished 16 months ago by KimberlyP
I have all issues of this superb mag. Having read the first few issues, this I have decided is my favourite. Not a sentence wasted. Quality oozes throughout. Buy now or pay later.Published 17 months ago by Adrian Shotbolt
The byline for Shock Totem is: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted. What you get is a collection of stories (and more) that don't fall into the standard horror mix. Read morePublished 19 months ago by DED
I have the whole collection of Shock Totem buried in my kindle want to-reads. I'm glad I opened another one of these books. I found another book added to my shelves. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Donald Armfield
Shock Totem always delivers great stories from great authors. I've never been disappointed in a single story. Read morePublished on June 25, 2013 by aimee b.
I loved it! Shock Totem is one of the best horror magazines out there and this issue made me happy.Published on May 4, 2013 by Jude-Marie Green
I like some good stories..of all types honestly. But these stories seemingly tried to push morals upon the reader and I contributors is the job of a writer. Skip this one.Published on April 15, 2013 by Walking Contra
I got this issue as a birthday present, and I thought it was a fantastic introduction to a new (for me) magazine. Read morePublished on February 8, 2013 by J_Kyle