Thursday, September 26, 2013

Horror Without Victims - An Anthology from DF Lewis

3.5 of 5 Stars    Review Copy

An interesting collection of stories that came from the following call for submissions.

"Horror Stories, Weird Literature, Ghost Stories, Literary Fiction. Each story must either subtly or directly reflect the title of the anthology."

Unfortunately, only a handful of stories seemed to pull that off. It's possible I didn't fully grasp the concept, but the anthology definitely got started on the wrong foot for me as the first story seemed to be more of an essay on reading and how weather or music can compliment the reading of a book.  Since the first story in any anthology should really set the tone, I was not looking forward to the rest of the tales and nearly decided not to read them.

For the most part, the stories were of a more literate nature than what I'm used to, that's not a bad thing, but I kept coming came back to the title of the anthology.  If the title is Horror Without Victims and the protagonist is dead at the end of your story isn't there something wrong with that?

Don't get me wrong, there are some very entertaining pieces here.  Take "Clouds" for example.  The clouds are erasing buildings and soon much more.  The tale is quite original, it's entertaining, there is certainly an element of horror, but again, there are victims.

If you've ever tried to come up with a horror story without a victim, it's a lot tougher than you might think.  I applaud the authors in this collection who succeeded where others failed. Alistair Rennie was one such writer who contributed, "The Carpet Seller's Recommendation" to the anthology.  You get plenty of horror and in the end, there is no real victim.  Another story that delivers on the anthology's theme is, "The Yellow See-Through Baby," by Michael Sidman.  A ghost story told by a toddler going through potty training.  A charming horror tale that works on many levels.

To sum things up.  I enjoyed more stories than I didn't, but I was bothered by what I saw as a lack of faithfulness to the theme of the anthology in many of the tales.

Horror Without Victims is available as a paperback from or directly from the printer

If you enjoy literary horror there is a lot to like in this book, just don't be surprised if you find a few victims along the way.

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