Review: In Dreams We Rot by Betty Rocksteady

Cover of In Dreams We Rot by Betty RocksteadyIn Dreams We Rot by Betty Rocksteady
Trepidatio Publishing (October 2019)
200 pages; $16.95 paperback; $5.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

I’ve made no bones about my absolute adoration of Betty Rocksteady’s work. Her novellas have all kicked me squarely in the heart-booty and the couple of shorter works I have read in anthologies were great. So, I can save you a little time and just tell you to buy her first collection of short fiction, In Dreams We Rot.

Okay. Clearly some of you need convincing. That’s fine.

Let’s start with “The Desert of Wounded Frequencies,” an incredible Night Gallery-esque tale of a man on the road, on the run back to a life he tried to leave behind while that life holds something very special in wait for him. This story is about as Betty of a story as you can get. It is surreal, almost but not quite to the point of hallucinogenic, held together by a solid emotional core. Her prose is gorgeously poetic, but never gets so far away from her that meaning and impact are lost.

All a-pitter-patter goes my heart for such things.

But let’s say you like your horror more extreme. Then there is “Post Partum,” which is just so amazingly #&$@ed up, without relying on silly outdated tropes of gross misogyny to assault the reader. There is honestly no way to prepare you for this tale. Or “Root Rot,” a harsh and weird yarn that can best be described as It Follows merged with That One Tree from Evil Dead.

There’s quiet horror. There’s sexy horror. There’s I-Might-Just-Vomit-My-Entrails horror. It’s all really flipping strange and beautiful and makes me happy I have eyes, that get to soak it all into my brain creases.

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