Note: I’m trying to post reviews on as many of the short fiction nominees for the Bram Stoker Award as possible before the winners are named April 30th at StokerCon 2017, but I cannot promise to get to all. The full list of short fiction nominees can be found here, including links to those stories available online.
“Reasons I Hate my Big Sister” by Gwendolyn Kiste is told from the point of view of the unnamed younger sister in a family whose elder daughter is inexplicably shedding her skin and transforming into something other than human. It’s a fine example of what Mercedes Yardley calls “whimsical horror”. It’s not silly horror, not juvenile, but it is tender.
Our narrator numbers her complaints against her older sister, Elise, and harbors the resentments common to younger siblings. She is young, jealous and petty, but the reader immediately grasps how insubstantial these complaints are. The narrator’s love and admiration for Elise become more apparent as Elise becomes less human and other humans in the story become more monstrous.
Only siblings, and especially adolescent siblings, can truly appreciate the forces that both repel and bind us to one another during transformation, and Kiste does a super job of conveying that in this short tale. Kiste doesn’t ask too much from the reader. This is a simple and straightforward story that is well written. The ending is heroic. It’s a story I will be happily sharing with teenagers in my orbit.
This story appears in the wonderful anthology Nightscript II, edited by C.M. Muller and published by Chthonic Matter. Continue reading
Drowned in my WIP writing and editing I have once again seriously neglected the blog, but the dearth of new posts is over for now. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFFW) has announced the nominees for the 51st Annual Nebula Awards, to be held in Pittsburgh May 18-21. The full list of nominees published in 2016 can be found here, but in keeping with tradition, my reviews over the next several weeks will focus on the nominees in the short story category, with occasional reviews of some of the novelettes and novellas.
2016 Short Story Nominees
But wait, this is not the only good news for readers like me who have precious little time and want to invest in really good speculative fiction that kind of, sort of fits in the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres. The Horror Writers Association (HWA) also recently announced the Preliminary Ballots for the 2016 Bram Stoker Awards. The awards will be presented aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California on April 29th. Continue reading
Looking for an old school American horror story? Blood Kin by Steve Rasnic Tem, published by Solaris Books/Rebellion Publishing Ltd., may scratch that itch if you’re willing to return to greater Appalachia and the well trod world of inbred families, screaming preachers and the vagaries of nature. I don’t often pick up American gothic novels, not because I don’t appreciate them, but because I overdosed on them as a teenager, and I thought I was done with that type of story.
But maybe not. Continue reading