Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Blurring the Line - edited by Marty Young - What's fact...what's fiction...the lines are blurred in this anthology

4 of 5 Stars     Review copy

I can't help but like the concept for this anthology.  From editor Marty Young's introduction..."Blurring the Line is a mixture of fact and fiction – but perhaps some of the fact is really fiction, and some of the fiction is fact.  The lines have been blurred between the two, the division lost, and that was the whole point of this adventure."

Most of the stories do a good job of delivering on the anthology's theme, but there are a couple that  just didn't seem to hit the mark in that respect, or at least they didn't for me.  Of course, your mileage may vary.

Introduction – Marty Young – Marty Young is a Bram Stoker-nominated and Australian Shadows Award-winning writer and editor, and sometimes ghost hunter. He was the founding President of the Australian Horror Writers Association from and one of the creative minds behind the internationally acclaimed Midnight Echo magazine, for which he also served as Executive Editor until mid-2013.  In addition to the introduction, he is responsible for the various (non-fiction) pieces throughout this book that help tie all the the various stories together.

Our Doom is Nigh – Tom Piccirilli – In addition to having the opening story in this collection, Blurring the Line is dedicated to Tom who left us earlier this year.  "Our Doom is Nigh" is a very personal piece.  Whether you knew his work intimately or in passing, it's a poignant and powerful telling of the last days of a writer.

Blurring the Line (non-fiction)

Woolen Shirts and Gum Boots – Lisa Morton – Set in the early 1900s, friends Annie and Florence plan a great escape to get away from Florence's abusive mother.

Clown’s Kiss – Tim Lebbon – Clown's should say all you need to know.  A beautifully written story of an aging widower living in Wellington Pond.  One day he see's clowns living next door and an increasing number of abandoned homes, but what is the reality.  Effective use of the anthology's theme.

Seeing is Believing (non-fiction)

Empty Cars – Lia Swope Mitchell – In the author's on words. "An absurd, methodical. and hopeless search for meaning by someone who's having trouble seeing any."

How Father Bryant Saw the Light – Alan Baxter – A somewhat disturbing story of a young priest doing what he can to help a young girl frightened by the Gangle Man.

Candlelight and Circles (non-fiction)

The Good Work – James Dorr – Are witches real?  You know, the scary kind in books and stories. The young witch hunters in James Dorr's story seem to think so.

Fearful Asymmetries – Peter Hagelslag – I absolutely loved this story.  A tale that seems all to possible in today's world where there is apparent danger lurking around every corner.  At what length will our governments and big business go to keep us safe.

Big Brother is Watching (and Predicting) You (non-fiction)

1-2-3 Red Light – Gregory L. Norris – I got a kick out of how the author took a simple game we played when I was a kid and created a terrifying short story of a traffic light with a murderous disposition.  Another story that was very successful within the parameters of the anthology.

Miskatonic Schrödinger – Steven Lloyd Wilson – "What if all of the things our unenlightened ancestors insisted dwelled in the darkness really did, and that it was shining lights into the darkness that we dispelled them?"  An interesting twist on Schrödinger's cat.

Monsters Don’t Exist (non-fiction)

Old Green Eyes – James A Moore – Looking for proof of the existence of a swamp monster. A well told tale that successfully blurs the line between truth and fiction.

A Peripheral Vision Sort of Friend – Alex C. Renwick – A story of the Suscon Screamer.  An actual urban legend I've heard of before.  Interesting how such legends differ, depending on who's telling the story.  True to the anthology's theme and a solid story from a new writer for me.

The Undiscovered Supernatural (non-fiction)

Consorting with Filth – Lisa Hannett – Ghosts blur the line for me more than any other type of entity or monster.  I want to believe, but all of the evidence I've seen can easily be misinterpreted or even faked.

Hoarder – Kealan Patrick Burke – A nice, disturbing little story.  You don't see many door to sales reps nowadays.  This story may help explain why.

Human Monsters (non-fiction)

With These Hands – Brett McBean – A story of ventriloquist who wanted to love children and be loved in return.

The Body Finder – Kaaron Warren – Frank has a gift...a gift for finding ghosts.  He's found and helped many over the years, just not the one he's looking for.  A very well told story.

Building Frankenstein’s Monster (non-fiction)

What’s A Monster without Resurrection? (non-fiction)

Salt on the Tongue – Paul Mannering – Story of a young boy whose mother finds him work with another family and forbids them to feed him.  Believe me, she has her reasons.

Every Time You Say I Love You – Charles L Grant – Another story of bringing back the dead from a true master of the genre.

Honey – Annie Neugebauer – Probably the most unusual story in the anthology, yet truly enjoyable.

The Voices Told Me To Do It (non-fiction)

Distorted and Holy Desire – Patricia J. Esposito – Is the guy who performs at the club an angel, a vampire, or just a man?

Nita Kula – Rena Mason  – A dark and gruesome ending to the anthology.  A solid story from Rena.

The anthology opens and closes with passages from the New International Version of the Bible. From Deuteronomy and Leviticus respectively.  Got me thinking, having read the Bible from cover to cover, it could just be one of the best horror books I've ever read.

Overall, Blurring the Lines was a book I enjoyed reading.  Some stories were much better than others, but reading this was definitely time well spent.

BTW, very nice cover art from Dean Samed.

Blurring the Line is available as an e-book now, with a print version to follow, from Cohesion Press. If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, you can read this one for no additional charge and if you are an Amazon Prime member you can borrow it for FREE from the Kindle Owners Lending Library.


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