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Shock Totem 3: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted Paperback – January 7, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
Book 3 of 9 in the Shock Totem Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Fans of horror stories, pounce upon Shock Totem magazine. Fine new stuff!" --Jack Ketchum, author of Offspring, Peaceable Kingdom and The Woman (with Lucky McKee)

From the Author

My story "Bop Kabala and Communist Jazz" is the first story in this anthology and it seems to be well received. It's heavily influenced by preachers and the beats. Allen Ginsberg casts a very large shadow.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 142 pages
  • Publisher: Shock Totem Publications (January 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615435556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615435558
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #980,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a loyal reader of Shock Totem since its first issue, I figured it was about time I gave them a review. This magazine is a great bargain for anyone who has a taste for the darker side of fiction, not always out & out horror or gore, but definitely dark. It's also perfect for those of you who are fans of "WTF Art", any type of art that leaves that particular American colloquialism as your very first reaction. Now, it is a magazine, a collection of several short stories, interviews, book & movie reviews, with an occasional poem or two, AND, as with all magazines, you may not absolutely love, or necessarily like-a-lot EVERY piece within its covers. However, I GUARANTEE you will find at least one feature you will never forget.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There is always something in an issue of Shock Totem that enthralls me, and for two issues now Mercedes M. Yardley has been the deliverer. Her trips down memory lane have twice led me along a path where something with very sharp teeth greeted me at the end. I don't always go for nonfiction, especially when I'm on the hunt for short stories--which ST provides with great proficiency--but if Mercedes is writing it, then count me in.

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading Shock Totem 4, I had high expectations for Shock Totem 3. And yes, I seem to be working my way backwards! My expectations were completely justified and Shock Totem 3, for me, provided yet another set of wonderfully crafted stories under yet another gorgeous cover.

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!
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Format: Paperback
Full of tales that breathe the dark, the whimsical, the mysterious and the fun. The crew at Shock Totem has a unique taste in fiction and I believe will easily become one of the most respected short story publications for both readers and writers.
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Format: Paperback
Another enjoyable publication from Shock Totem. The writing is good throughout. This collection has obviously been put together with care and attention to detail. Layout and design is impressive, and there's a nice, easy-to-read font.

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.
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