Stories from the Plague Years
"Few horror authors are better equipped to write about madness than Marano."
Stories from the Plague Years
Introduction by John Shirley
About the Book:
Nine tales are arranged in a haunting symphony that guides readers through a tour of the darkest landscapes of human existence. Here, fury and hate grow so strong, they cannot be held within one man's body, and manifest themselves to devastating effect. Cities contain second, unseen cities populated by the vengeful ghosts of those who died too soon. Countries fall to famine and war.
But these are also the tales of love lasting beyond death, love existing beyond all hope, and friendships never forgotten. Included are the widely praised stories "Winter Requiem," "The Siege," and the controversial "Burden," as well as two original novellas.
Marano, acclaimed for his evocative voice, paints lush portraits both terrifying and tender, injecting even the darkest of fantasies with a punk rock sensibility and a touch of the humane. With Stories from the Plague Years, he presents snapshots of a time when our world collided with evil, sickness, and self-destruction and left behind lasting scars on those who dared to survive.
"Crammed with tales that beguile you with lyrical prose, seductive imagery, and spot-on characters that steal your breath with unblinking terror."
"Few horror authors are better equipped to write about madness than Marano. With an expansive vocabulary, a tenacious commitment to poetic prose, and a willingness to follow whatever discursive paths his whim takes, Marano is an acquired taste — but without doubt possessed of a unique talent.... when they hit, they hit big: 'Burden,' about the ghosts of an AIDS-ravaged gay community, possesses an unusual power, and 'Little Round Head,' about a feral child raised by subterranean beasts, is nothing short of a horror classic."
"Stories from the Plague Years is ideal for fans of the kind of horror that gets under your skin and picks away at your brain, for anyone who seeks words of wisdom from an old (and I use that term affectionately) punk who’s seen an awful lot of shit go down in his day and lived to tell about it. Marano has a captivating prose style; I enjoyed the opportunity to see his style evolve and wonder where it will go next."
"His evocative, unique voice gives us nine, terrifying yet tender tales; bridging the gap between a time when our world collided with evil and sickness, to the present—filled with the lasting scars we all wear… and can still touch... if we dare. Stories from the Plague Years is written with a voice wholly unique and powerful, a prose that pulls the reader into the people he creates from the first sentence. These stories don’t have twists that shock and surprise—they have a depth rarely found in fiction. Marano complements this ability with a terrifying realization; leaving the reader actually feeling guilty for being alive… we are all survivors of The Plague Years, we are not meant to be—and to sell this as Marano has, leaves many of his peers in the dust… regardless of the year."
"The images of disdainful or disinterested parents are the true horrors of this story, and Marano captures their apathy and the blasé of their lives quite well. They are characters that could easily fit in the world of a Brett Easton Ellis novel. The vengeful child-spirits, who have returned to exact revenge for their deaths, are the sympathetic characters of this story, and while we know that they returned to commit horrors of their own, we can’t help but be rooting for them, for cosmic justice to right the wrongs done to them.... I'm interested to see where his writing goes in the future... collectors would do well to jump on this now, as Cemetery Dance editions tend to become sought after collectibles."
"With this many unreliable narrators, you may never trust a protagonist again. Award-winning dark fantasy author and frequent Cemetery Dance contributor Michael Marano compiles seven shorts and two novellas for this collection of abstract stories exploring disjointed minds. Explore the delusional brain of a serial killer in "Displacement" or examine how illness erodes sanity ("Winter Requiem"). An inconsistent but intriguing series of mindfucks."
Michael Marano is a former punk rock DJ, bouncer, and the author of the modern dark fantasy classic Dawn Song, which won both the International Horror Guild and Bram Stoker Awards. For almost 20 years, his film reviews and pop culture commentary have been a highlight of the nationally syndicated Public Radio Satellite System show Movie Magazine International. His non-fiction has appeared in alternative newspapers such as The Independent Weekly, The Boston Phoenix and The Weekly Dig, as well as in magazines such as Paste and Fantastique. His column "MediaDrome" has been a wildly popular feature in Cemetery Dance since 2001. He currently divides his time between a neighborhood in Boston that had been the site of a gang war that was the partial basis of The Departed and a sub-division in Charleston, SC a few steps away from a former Confederate Army encampment.
Published in two states: