Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Review: GHOSTS IN GASLIGHT, MONSTERS IN STEAM edited by Evan J Peterson and Vincent Kovar (Minor Arcana Press)

Another queer horror anthology, with the added bonus of steampunk?!  Count me in!

Ghosts in Gaslight, Monsters in Steam is the new anthology in the Gay City Anthology series from Minor Arcana Press and the Gay City Health Project based in Seattle.  The series "produces vibrant, multi-disciplinary collections comprised of fiction, comics, poetry, photography and art" that raise awareness of the Gay City Health Project.  This volume, the first one I've had the opportunity to read, features a steampunk/queer monster theme and boasts fiction, poetry and some great illustrations.

The book is divided into two "acts"; "Victorian Venom" and "Modern Monsters", and for me, the stories progressed from good to great, making for a very strong second half.  The highlights for me:

Evan Peterson's introduction.  It really sets up his process behind editing the book and what to expect inside, and also had me recalling my younger self, growing up gay and being drawn to that otherness that all LGBT people feel at one point in their lives...

Medium Mechanique by Catherine Lundoff is a wonderful story that successfully blends the steampunk and horror theme of the book with the desperation of wanting to be with that lost love just one more time...

Anthony Rella's The Heart of the Labyrinth offers a mystery, a bathhouse and what secrets lie deep in its core.  Excellent storytelling here!

Monster Movie by Rebecca Brown is a moving remembrance of loving, and even sympathizing with, those classic movie monsters as young person, and knowing what it feels like to be different...

B.E.M.s by Gregory L. Norris is a fun, clever tale that is both light hearted and entertaining and pays homage to classic shows like Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone.

Splinter by Ryan Crawford is a weird tale that takes place in the woods...please do not hike in the forest at night.  You've been warned!

And lastly, Steve Berman brings the collection to a satisfying close with what I think is his most horrifying piece to date.  Boasting the most gruesome villains I've encountered in awhile, Feeding Desire is worth the price of admission alone, with its mix of suspense, burly men, and...meat.  LOVED IT!

Ghosts in Gaslight...is being released in July and you can find out more info here at Minor Arcana's website.

Happy reading!

(This counts towards the 2013 Horror Reading Challenge hosted by Midnyte Reader)

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