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What Fears Become: An Anthology from The Horror Zine Paperback – September 13, 2011
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About the Author
Jeani Rector, editor of WHAT FEARS BECOME, is the founder and editor of The Horror Zine and has had her stories featured in magazines such as Aphelion, Midnight Street, Strange Weird and Wonderful, Macabre Cadaver, Ax Wound, Horrormasters, Morbid Outlook, Horror in Words, Black Petals, 63Channels, Death Head Grin, Hackwriters, Bewildering Stories, Ultraverse, Story Mania, Lost Souls, All Destiny, and many others. Her novel Around a Dark Corner was released in the USA by Graveyard Press in 2009.
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Reviewing an anthology is always somewhat difficult. Do I review them individually? Group them? Authors have contributed over 30 short stories, 18 poets contributing one or more poems each and 9 artists contributing. I think I will just say that this book will entertain the deepest fears hidden in the corners of the psyche. Great tales to tweak the imagination, make us feel something is watching, digging into our souls, acquainting us all with what fears become. Is your heart pounding and your spine tingling yet?
Quickly scanning the article for details of What Fears Become: An Anthology from The Horror Zine, I soon learned that Piers Anthony and Bentley Little, two of my favorite writers, are featured in it. Those horror masters deliver creepy twists and turns that make your eyes bleed...a true test of deep-rooted genius.
Reading on, I learned that another of my favorite authors Cheryl Kaye Tardif--although newer than the others--is also featured in this book. That's when I knew I had to grab a copy!
Thank God, with the Kindle I could start reading right away! And Wow--I was treated to the most weird, creepy, frightening tales imaginable; stories that would make Edgar Allan Poe turn over in his grave. I felt like I was in my own private Twilight Zone (with spooks creeping up on me from every side) as I gripped my e-Reader so hard I thought it might shatter like the bodies of so many of the characters in these dark fantasies. From pure suspense to classic horror, this collection from the Horror-Zine freaked me out; just the state of mind I like when racing from one horrifying twist to another. Great horror at its bloodiest, most heart-pounding best!
In addition to the three writers mentioned above, this book features stories by bestselling authors such as Graham Masterton, Ramsey Campbell, Joe R. Lansdale, Elizabeth Massie, Ronald Malfi, Melanie Tem, Scott Nicholson, Conrad Williams and many more.
I usually select two or three short stories as examples of what I like best in a book, but, truthfully, this time around they were all so incredibly horrific I just couldn't choose.
Another thing that makes this anthology so outstanding is the professional editing by Jeani Rector and the fascinating foreword by award-winning, bestselling author Simon Clark. In addition to these dark, malevolent short stories, Rector also compiled a collection of equally nightmarish illustrations and poems by lesser-known artists and poets who will soon make their mark in the dark domain of horror.
I'm impressed with The Horror Zine's policy of giving newcomers a hands-up in the genre and agree with author Scott Nicholson's assessment: "The Horror Zine is the genre's Ground Zero where horror legends merge with the talents of tomorrow." Nicholson is the author of The Red Church, other books and short stories.
Yes, these stories are disturbing, dreadful, eerie, frightening, ghoulish, gruesome, etc. but we can't get enough of them. They're as contagious as a raging disease to true horror lovers. We read on to the bitter end, even when our hearts are palpitating, our hands shaking and our eyes bulging out of our heads. What bittersweet torture...and we love it. Go figure...
Come, then! I invite you to get your copy of this book, but am compelled to remind you to turn the lights on and lock all the doors before you start reading. It's that scary...
Reviewed by Betty Dravis, September 7, 2011
Author of "The Dream Reachers" series (with Chase Von) and other books
Edited by Jeani Rector
Imajin Books, Aug. 2011
Ebook $4.99, Paperback $16.99 U.S.
Cover Design by Sapphire Designs
Review by Christina Francine
What do reader's fears become when they're examined? Top-notch tales, poems, and images will horrify and delight readers in this anthology called What Fears Become. Each feature rips through reality plunging readers into frightful situations deep enough to provoke a bag full of nightmares. It is unlikely readers will set aside a single whisper-read word. Like stepping onto a monstrous scene, their wide eyes can't look away. Thirty-one finely honed eager narratives, eighteen delicious poems, and eighteen visions touch all who dare venture inside.
The foreword is by Simon Clark, and he has nothing but positive comments about What Fears Become. He titles this foreword, "A Small Matter of Life and Death."
Besides penning horror fiction, authors are teachers, radio personalities, newspaper reporters, editors, gardeners, musicians, poets, reality TV contestants, aides at mental hospitals, technical writers, volunteers, graphic designers, inventory clerks, writers of chapter units for history textbooks, receivers of prestigious awards, founders of martial art systems and have had films produced from novels.
The collection opens with "Bast," by Christina A. Larsen, which is about a man who visits his dying grandmother. Do cats really take breaths away? Marty finds out in this eerie yarn. Descriptive.
"Next Time You'll Know Me," by Ramsey Campbell, is told in first-person by a paranoid person who threatens others because he believes they are the reason for all his bad luck. He focuses especially on someone who stole his stories and killed his mother. An unusual story.
Another narrative sure to raise hackles is "Ouija" by Cheryl Kaye Tardif. Liza doesn't like the Ouija board she's had for years and decides to be rid of it once and for all, but her friend, Sharon, is overcome by curiosity. She disregards Liza's warnings and asks the board a question. Suddenly, evil things begin to happen and the women decide to destroy it. By itself, the board reveals who will die and then they do. One night the women's names are spelled out. Now, they're determined to rid themselves of this evil once and for all. Wickedly scary, suspenseful reading. Tardif doesn't disappoint.
Scott Nicholson contributes a narrative readers cannot set aside. Their thoughts are held afterward too. His character, Kelly, becomes pregnant by Chet, the kind of man no woman should ever be with. Kelly decides that even though she's the last of her family, she'll soon have someone to love, to carry her family's name, and to inherit her family's humble farm house. Another infant hovers near Kelly. From the family cemetery Kelly realizes the ghost baby grows at the same rate as the one in her belly does. The white shape hangs around the old Stamey Cemetery, not far from the old Cherokee ceremonial mound. When Chet comes back to Kelly, he cruelly decides she and her baby shouldn't live, yet the ghost baby decides they should.
Poetry in this collection is respectfully good. Not only are the author's imaginations powerful, but it is evident they've studied poetry form.
When examining "A Guide for Ethical Zombie Murder," by Emon Anthousis, readers find six stanzas written in blank verse, and written as a "how-to" accept becoming a zombie. He explains the whys for each step, and the necessary cautions during this change. Authousis ends his rhyme advise on a humorous note.
"Bugs," by Dennis Bogwell, features ten stanzas. The rhyme scheme begins with abab, goes into cdcd in the second stanza, and then into fgfg for the remaining eight. Each line is short, carrying punch, not only creating a sense of squittering like a bug, but by bringing urgency to the exasperation the character feels about dealing with bugs. Readers will squirm themselves with this poem.
Peter Steele, carries a recommendation for those who consider resisting their morbid circumstances with a rhyme called "City of the Dead." The first three stanzas help readers realize their state and how much is changing. The last turns to sharing sentiments of empathy and reveals how the poem's author knows. This is because he was once there himself. Steele knows pain and advises readers a final resolve. Though sixteen lines and the rhyme scheme doesn't fit neatly into the English or Italian sonnet, The City of the Dead" is in fixed form. Each line in the four stanzas tries to stick to ten syllables. Each stanza contains two couplets and goes: aabb, ccbb, eebb, ffbb. No one can argue that Steele studied poetry, or that he has a sense of humor.
Besides writing poetry, poets write biographies, songs, screenplays, comic strips, novels, short stories, and non-fiction. They come from all over the world, won prestigious prizes, and have multi-published. Besides the writing profession, other vocations of poets include Navy engineers, chemists, musicians, and financial systems annalists.
Artwork in "What Fears Become" is in black, white, and shades of gray. Each conjures up feelings of loneliness, deep thought, boldness and a dark slice of freedom. Each dares a peak into crevices and borders, into eyes and into open body parts, and of their situation of thought. Artists include graphic designers, poets, writers, sculptures, tailors, and work in pencil, crayon, pen and ink, watercolors, digital, and oil paints.
Jeani Rector is the editor for "What Fears Become." She is also the founder and editor of The Horror Zine. Multiple publications have featured her stories. A novel called Around a Dark Corner was released by Graveyard Press in 2009 by Rector.
Dean H. Wild is the assistant editor of The Horror Zine. He has written love stories, and been a freelance copywriter.
What Fears Become examines the horrors of human-kind, dares to lift the lid, dares to step into the headlights and to follow dark whispers. Why examine nightmares? Because they remind us that monsters and horror lurk just under the surface, and by examining them we gain strength. Determination to keep them at bay is renewed when we realize horror resides only inches away. What do readers fears become if not examined - reality.