(pb; 2003: horror anthology)
Exemplary anthology, originally published as Borderlands 5, with only a few clunkers in the mix. Well worth your time.
1. ) “All Hands” – John R. Platt: Quirky, delightful entry about a man who wakes up with a different pair of hands each day.
2.) “The Growth of Alan Ashley” – Bill Gauthier: Black-humored take on the delusion of “self-improvement” – a strange “growth” on the titular character’s body becomes imbued with increasing, dangerous importance. If this were a film short, I could see this being directed by Eraserhead-era David Lynch, or Videodrome-era David Cronenberg.
3.) “The Goat” – Whitt Pond: Heartbreaking tale about a teenage boy who’s trying to save his supposedly demon-possessed brother from their fellow townspeople.
4.) “The Food Processor” – Michael Canfield: Surrealistic tale about two brothers whose collective desire to build things conflicts with their Father’s desire that they become chefs, like him. Superior, semi-bizarre work, one that would make an excellent Tim Burton film, illustrated by Peter Max.
5.) “Storytime with the Bluefield Strangler” – John Farris: Destined-to-be-a-true-classic story about a little girl who’s being terrorized by a real-life boogeyman.
6.) “The Planting” – Bentley Little: Perverse B-movie gem about a pair of panties, a cabin and a dessicated mummy.
7.) “Infliction” – John McIlveen: Stunning, emotional tale about an ex-alcoholic tracking his runaway daughter, four years gone.
8.) “The Thing Too Hideous To Describe” – David J. Schow: Funny, ultimately sad story about a small-town monster who makes a friend. One of the most imaginative entries in this bunch.
9.) “Magic Numbers” – Gene O’Neill: The operative phrase for this one-of-a-kind work is um, wow. Memorable work.
10.) “Head Music” – Lon Prater: Another destined-to-be-a-classic tale, this one about a young man who’s drawn to a oceanborn monster in the middle of the night. Reminiscent of H.P. Lovecraft’s finer nightmares, or any issue of Creepy.
11.) “Around It Still The Sumac Grows” – Tom Piccirilli: Envy-inducing entry about a middle-aged man who returns to his high school – site of countless teenage humiliations – twenty years later.
12.) “Annabell" – L. Lynn Young: Sublime, sad work about a physically-beautiful mother who seeks to protect her deformed daughter from the barbed horrors of the world.
“Ramis Temporalis” (Gary A. Braunbeck); “Faith Will Make You Free” (Holly Newstein); “N0072-JK1” (Adam Corbin Fusco); “Time For Me” (Barry Hoffman); “Prisoner 392” (John F. Merz); “Answering the Call” (Brian Freeman); “Smooth Operator” (Dominick Cancilla); “A Thing” (Barbara Malenky); “Slipknot” (Brett Alexander Savory); “Stationary Bike” (Stephen King).
So-so entries are: “Father Bob & Bobby” (Whitley Strieber); “Dysfunction” (Darren O. Godfrey); “One Of Those Weeks” (Bev Vincent).