Tag Archives: A.C. Wise

The Monstrous edited by Ellen Datlow

Overview
Image result for the monstrous ellen datlow book cover

Title: The Monstrous
Author: Ellen Datlow, Jeffrey Ford, Peter Straub, Dale Bailey, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Gemma Files, Livia Llewellyn, Adam-Troy Castro, Kim Newman, Jack Dann, Gardner Dozois, Carole Johnstone, Brian Hodge, Stephen Graham Jones, Adam L. G. Nevill, Sofia Samatar, Terry Dowling, Glen Hirshberg, A.C. Wise, Steve Rasnic Tem, Christopher Fowler & John Langan
In: The Monstrous (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Horror, Short story collections
Dates read: 8th January – 3rd June 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Tachyon
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: “I supppose I do,” I reply.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Horror’s most acclaimed editor reveals twenty riveting tales of the Other gone wrong. Monsters who suffer from heartbreak, betrayal, ungrateful kids, and unpaid overtime. Creatures of darkness that struggle to adapt to modern living. Ordinary folks who find themselves inexplicably transformed. 88 But if you dare, come a bit closer and discover the most terrifying of beings – those who are living under your own skin and peering out from behind your eyes.

Thoughts

This collection is brilliant. It is dark, creepy and intense. It is fun. It gave me goose bumps. And it is filled with monsters who come in ALL shapes and sizes. And I mean ALL. A wonderful, fantastic and seriously enjoyable collection filled with the things that go bump in the night. The things that you really hope aren’t hiding under your bed.

Although this anthology sits in my horror shelf, it isn’t really all that scary. Sure, there are multiple moments of discomfort throughout. But they’re that, you have to think a little too much, or consider the many moments of confusion throughout this story that you really don’t necessarily want to think too much about. And, honestly, it’s not the things that jump out and yell BOO that make me love horror. It’s that underlying discomfort that makes you look at your own life that I am quickly becoming obsessed with.

I absolutely adored this collection. It was filled with some familiar names and new ones. Each and every story made me stop and really think about what the storyline was saying. And even now, when I have still finished the whole collection… I am still thinking about some of the stories that I read.

<- Run, Rabbit, RunA Natural History of Autumn ->

Image source: Amazon

Chasing Sunset by A.C. Wise

Overview
Image result for the monstrous ellen datlow book cover

Title: Chasing Sunset
Author: A.C. Wise
In: The Monstrous (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Horror
Dates read: 24th May 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tachyon
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: “…where he makes us go when we’re bad.”

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

He doesn’t want to be like his father. So he runs. And runs. And runs. But is he running from the horrors, or into a trap?

Thoughts

Running from the past is a pretty common theme in stories. But when that past involves your father and the idea that you too, will turn into a monster? That is a pretty creepy story line.

Whilst reading this short story, I did get kind of pulled in. And swept away. But it was not the kind of story that I was completely obsessed with. Not the sort of story that I strongly remember after I turn that final page.

I did like the ending though. Taking place on a cliffside and ending the thing that has tortured you. There is a sense of completion that is not always around in the short stories that fill The Monstrous collection.

<- Miss Ill-Kept RuntThe Monster Makers ->

Image source: Amazon

The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk edited by Sean Wallace

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of dieselpunk book cover

Title: The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk
Author: Sean Wallace, Jay Lake, Shannon Page, Carrie Vaughn, Anatoly Belilovsky, E. Catherine Tobler, Jeremiah Tolbert, Brian Trent, Rachel Nussbaum, Trent Hergenrader, Gwynne Garfinkle, Genevieve Valentine, Joseph Ng, A.C. Wise, Kim Lakin-Smith, Nick Mamatas, Costi Gurgu, Tony Pi, Cirilo S. Lemos, Erin M. Hartshorn, Dan Rabarts, Mark Robert Philips, Catherine Schaff-Stump & Laurie Tom
Series: Mammoth Books
In: The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk (Sean Wallace)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dieselpunk, Science fiction, Short story collections
Dates read: 18th March 2019 – 25th March 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: The gremlins will be inside everything given long enough and they just want out.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

21 tales of anarchic diesel mayhem. 88 From multiple Hugo Award-winning editor Sean Wallace, a new, cutting-edge anthology of twenty-one vibrant stories that explore the possibilities of history, while sweeping readers into high-powered, hydrocarbon-fuelled adventures that merge elements of noir, pulp, and the past with the technology of today… and sometimes a dash of the occult.

Journey into an era when engines were huge, fuel was plentiful and cheap, and steel and chrome overlaid the grit and grease of powerful machines!

Includes stories by Erin Hartshorn, Trent Hergenrader, Tony Pi, Catherine Schaff-Stump, E. Catherine Tobler, Jeremiah Tolbert, Laurie Tom, Genevieve Valentine, A. C. Wise and many more.

Thoughts

I’ve recently started to thoroughly enjoy steampunk. But this was my first excursion into Dieselpunk. And what an excellent introduction this proved to be! I was enthralled, mystified and totally sunk into some of the stories in this collection. And although it might not be my favourite collection of short stories… it certainly ranks up there.

I found this collection a lot darker than steampunk collections. There is just something about Dieselpunk that is a little more critical, and a little less optimistic than steampunk. Or at least, that’s how I’m finding it. Not that that was a bad thing, but this was certainly a darker collection than the steampunk collections and novels that have been filling my shelves lately.

As much as I loved these short stories, I did take a long time to read this collection. Mostly because I had to be in a pretty specific mindset to actually read them. There is something a little less approachable and more intense about this genre that I both loved and also found a little hard to factor into my daily reading schedules.

<- The Mammoth Book of Dickensian WhodunnitsRolling Steel: A Pre-Apocalyptic Love Story ->

Image source: Running Press

The Double Blind by A.C. Wise

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of dieselpunk book cover

Title: The Double Blind
Author: A.C. Wise
In: The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk (Sean Wallace)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: DieselpunkLGBTQI
Dates read: 25th January 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: He was asking for it.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

All Rachel wants to do is get revenge on the men who attacked her sister. But, a chance encounter and the warnings of her lover might change the kind of vigilante she chooses to be.

Thoughts

This was a freaking fantastic short story. Especially since it featured the LGBTQI+ world, something that is intriguing me more and more and I’m loving that I’m slowly finding more stories featured in this world.

Although for me, this was mostly about the club and its inhabitants, how they find acceptance and survive in a world against them, there was also the factor of revenge. And how do we seek revenge? Why? And when you’re seeking revenge are you doing it for someone else, or just to assuage your own guilt? There were so many questions bought up in this short story. Ones that left me seriously contemplating the world and my own responses long after I closed the final page. As I said, it was quite intense.

This is just an amazing short story. One that I can’t stop thinking about and thoroughly enjoyed. Definitely a perfect example of the themes and questions posed by a good Dieselpunk tale. Ones that I will continue to contemplate as the time passes, and I look forward to rereading this in the future.

<- Into the SkyBlack Sunday ->

Image source: Running Press

Black Feathers edited by Ellen Datlow

Overview
Image result for black feathers ellen datlow book cover

Title: Black Feathers
Author: Ellen Datlow, Sandra Kasturi, Nicholas Royle, Seanan McGuire, Paul Tremblay, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Bowes, Alison Littlewood, Jeffrey Ford, Mike O’Driscoll, Usman T. Malik, Stephen Graham Jones, A.C. Wise, M. John Harrison, Pat Cadigan, Livia Llewellyn & Priya Sharma
In: Black Feathers (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Horror, Short story collections
Dates read: 23rd January – 27th April 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Pegasus Books Ltd.
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: A sudden croaking cry, and she turns to see the great blue heron flying overhead.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

A dazzling anthology of avian-themed fiction guaranteed to frighten and delight, edited by one of the most acclaimed horror anthologists in the genre.

Birds are usually loved for their beauty and their song. They symbolize freedom, eternal life, the soul. But there’s certainly a dark side to the avian. Birds of prey sometimes kill other birds, destroy other birds’ eggs, and even have been known to kill small animals. And who isn’t frightened by birds who eat the dead – vultures awaiting their next meal as the life-blood flows from the dying.

In each of these stories, you will encounter the dark resonance between the human and avian. You will see in yourself the savagery of a predator, the shrewd stalking of a hunter, and you will be lured by birds that speak human language, that make beautiful music, that cypher numbers, and seem to have a moral center. You will wade into this feathered nightmare, and brave the horror of death, trading your safety and sanity for that which we all seek – the promise of flight.

Thoughts

This is my first collection of horror stories. Actually, it’s really my first ever horror novel. So reading this has been a very interesting journey. One that I was surprised to enjoy so much. And, although I didn’t really read any of these stories late at night, I also didn’t get any horrifying nightmares from the tales either. Unlike some of the crime, mystery and thriller novels that I’ve read.

Birds have always fascinated me. And I’ve been wanting to get a parrot for a little while. This collection definitely cured me of that desire. Actually, it cured me of really wanting anything much to do with birds for a little while if I’m being honest. This story not only used the symbolism and activities of birds as a catalyst for the tales of horror, but also pulled them out of your worst nightmares.

Pick this book up if you want a great introduction to the horror genre. And if you have a bit of a fascination with the avian community…

 <- The Best Horror of the Year Volume Eleven ReviewO Terrible Bird Review ->
Image source: Amazon

The Secret of Flight by A. C. Wise

Overview
Image result for black feathers ellen datlow book cover

Title: The Secret of Flight
Author: A.C. Wise
In: Black Feathers (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Horror
Dates read: 29th March 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Pegasus Books Ltd.
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: POLICEMAN startles and falls back.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

The secrets held in a play and its play house continue to haunt the director fifty years after the lead actress disappears. As the letters and the play unfold, so do the secrets that have been kept hidden over the years.

Thoughts

There are some short stories that tell a tale, start at the beginning and end at the end. Then there are short stories like this one. They are so open ended you’re not sure if you’ve missed something. So different and convoluted that no matter how many times I read it, I won’t feel like I have accessed all of the information.

There is something about plays and theatres that inspire a level of horror that you don’t find in many other settings. I’m not entirely sure why, maybe it is the juxtaposition between the light and gaudy front and the dark and twisty back. The level of secrecy that is inspired by having a backstage in which an actors’ transformation can occur. Whatever it is, it manages to situate feelings and tales of horror beautifully. And helps to twist this horror into one of tragedy and loss.

The secrets of the actors’ change echo the secrets of her life. The ways in which the starlings haunt the directors every moment make things vaguer and vaguer, more and more intense.

 <- Pigeon from Hell ReviewIsobel Avens Returns to Stepney in the Spring Review ->
Image source: Amazon