Review: Reluctant Immortals by Gwendolyn Kiste

cover of Reluctant ImmortalsReluctant Immortals by Gwendolyn Kiste
Gallery/Saga Press (August 2022)
320 pages; $17.99 paperback; $13.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

This was unexpected. Then again, for those who have ever been treated to one of Kiste’s works, the unexpected is part of the gift she gives to her readers. Gorgeous prose wrapped around the darkest reaches of the human condition in plots that are anything but overdone.Continue Reading

Night Time Logic with Gwendolyn Kiste

Night Time Logic with Daniel Braum

“The Summer of Love: Wild. Psychedelic.
Like a super-feminst Hammer film.”

photo of author Gwendolyn Kiste
Gwendolyn Kiste

Night Time Logic is the part or parts of a story that are felt but not consciously processed. Those that operate below the conscious surface. Those that are processed somewhere, somehow, and in some way other than… overtly and consciously. The deep-down scares. The scares that find their way to our core and unsettle us in ways we rarely see coming…

Hello and welcome. My name is Daniel Braum, I am an author of strange tales, a term coined by Robert Aickman to describe his unique brand of stories. Aickman’s stories were often what we now may call “quiet horror” and often it was ambiguous as to what if any supernatural elements were present and in play. Aickman’s strange tales operated with “Night Time Logic” — the kind of scares and elements that were felt but not consciously processed.  In this column, which shares a name with my New York based reading series, I explore the phenomenon of Night Time Logic and other notions of what makes horror and good fiction by looking at the stories of my favorite authors along with the work of new voices. 

My previous column with author Brenda Tolian explored her collection of stories relating to a setting specific supernatural phenomenon. Gwendolyn Kiste’s latest book Reluctant Immortals is also set in a very distinct place and time in addition to presenting a fresh take on some very well-known characters. Gwendolyn has been a guest of the series both in person in New York and online. You can find one of her appearances here. We begin our conversation with the character of Lucy Westenra from Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula.Continue Reading

Review: Boneset & Feathers by Gwendolyn Kiste

illustrated cover of Boneset & Feathers by Gwendolyn KisteBoneset & Feathers by Gwendolyn Kiste
Broken Eye Books (November 3, 2020)
172 pages; $34.99 hardcover; $12.99 paperback
Reviewed by A.E. Siraki

Gwendolyn Kiste, witches, creepy birds, and odd kids. Need I say more? The author’s prose is as beautiful and engaging as ever in this story of a witch running from witchfinders. This would make a very compelling film or television adaptation and has what I’ve started referring to in my reviews as a “watchable” compulsive quality. It’s also a deeper commentary on the fear men — particularly wealthy older white men — have toward women; that antiquated but dangerous notion about women having power, the implications, and the stubbornness with which it clings to the fabrics in society.Continue Reading

My First Fright featuring Gwendolyn Kiste

Author Gwendolyn Kiste
Gwendolyn Kiste

Two of the biggest horror-comedy films of the 1980s debuted on the exact same weekend in June 1984. Ghostbusters was the bigger success of the two, but Gremlins has remained a fan favorite amongst ’80s kids, and for good reason. It’s silly, with eye-catching character designs that just scream MERCHANDISE OPPORTUNITIES, but it’s also a pretty wicked and nihilistic horror movie. I remember both reveling in and being quite frightened by it as a boy. Gwendolyn Kiste, too, was heavily influenced by Gremlins in her youth, and she’s got some pretty cool ideas for carrying the long-dormant franchise forward. Continue Reading

Review: The Invention of Ghosts by Gwendolyn Kiste

The Invention of Ghosts by Gwendolyn Kiste
Nightscape Press (2020)
64 pages; $30 limited edition
Reviewed by Kevin Lucia

Gwendolyn Kiste is a rare kind of speculative writer: the kind able to craft highly metaphorical and allegorical tales which also vibrate with a resonance that cuts close to the bone and pierces the heart. As a reader, I’ve always needed to feel something in response to a work of fiction. From fun, escapist thrillers to “high brow literary horror,” if I don’t feel something for the characters and about their situations, the story bounces right off me, no matter how finely written it is.Continue Reading

Review: The Rust Maidens by Gwendolyn Kiste

The Rust Maidens by Gwendolyn Kiste
JournalStone (November 2018)
218 pages; $17.95 paperback; $4.95 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

For those out there who are unfamiliar with Gwendolyn Kiste’s gorgeous prose, The Rust Maidens would be a great place to start. After last year’s stellar collection, And Her Smile Will Untether The Universe, Kiste steps out with her debut novel, which rattles the soul in a disturbing, yet beautiful read.Continue Reading

Review: And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe by Gwendolyn Kiste

And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe by Gwendolyn Kiste
JournalStone (April 2017)
210 pages; $15.95 paperback; $3.95 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Remember this name. Gwendolyn Kiste will one day rule the world of dark short fiction if there’s any justice. Every once in a while, a new voice emerges and takes the genre by storm. Several have broken the surface lately and shown tinges of greatness to be, but rarely is one “born” with a style and substance this mind-boggling.Continue Reading

Review: And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe by Gwendolyn Kiste

And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe by Gwendolyn Kiste
JournalStone (April 2017)
267 pages; $15.93 paperback; $3.95 e-book
Reviewed by Kevin Lucia

And Her Smile With Untether the Universe is an amazing collection of speculative fiction by Gwendoyn Kiste which touches on surreal fantasy but never loses its grip on an all too tangible—sometimes painfully so—sense of reality. This is important for me, because I often find that happens with surreal stories of the fantastic. While I admire the world created and the surreal experience rendered, I sometimes feel distant from the characters and their experiences, and the stories fail to really impact me on an emotional level.Continue Reading