Review: A Collection of Dreamscapes by Christina Sng

cover of A Collection of Dreamscapes by Christina SngA Collection of Dreamscapes by Christina Sng
Raw Dog Screaming Press (April 2020)
169 pages; $14.95 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Christina Sng’s collection A Collection of Nightmares won the Bram Stoker award for best poetry collection in 2017. Her follow-up book, A Collection of Dreamscapes, has all the promise of her previous successes. It’s already been listed as one of Reading Vicariously’s Must-Reads from 2020, Tor Nightlife’s Ten Best Horror Poetry Collections of 2020, and Well Read Beard’s Top Five 2020 Poetry Collections, as well as being short listed for the 2021 Stoker Award. Reading the collection, it is obvious why it is receiving so many accolades. It’s a very strong collection of mythic horror poetry that readers will enjoy.Continue Reading

Review: The Crossroads at Midnight by Abby Howard

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cover of The Crossroads at Midnight by Abby Howard

The Crossroads at Midnight by Abby Howard
Iron Circus Comics (February 2021)
320 pages; $18 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Abby Howard is a cartoonist whose interests include dinosaurs, horror, and Spoons, her beautiful cat. She’s been drawing comics since she first discovered there was such thing, eventually putting them online and gaining a following of over 30,000 fans. Her newest collection is The Crossroads at Midnight, a teen horror collection of five short comic stories.Continue Reading

Review: You Died: An Anthology of the Afterlife edited by Kel McDonald and Andrea Purcell

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cover of You Died: An Anthology of the Afterlife

You Died: An Anthology of the Afterlife edited by Kel McDonald and Andrea Purcell
Iron Circus Comics (March 31, 2021)
260 pages, $20 Paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

In her introduction to You Died: An Anthology of the Afterlife, Caitlin Dougherty compares the anthology to a medieval memento mori. This is a fitting comparison. This book is both a reminder, to the reader, that they will die, but also about the equanimity of death. Everyone will die, and once they’re dead, there’s nothing in this world that they can do about it. This anthology confronts these facts head on, and in a way, helps the reader confront their own deaths as well as the deaths of those they love.Continue Reading

Review: Cradleland of Parasites by Sara Tantlinger

cover of Cradleland of Parasites by Sara TantlingerCradleland of Parasites by Sara Tantlinger
Strangehouse Books (October 2020)
89 pages; $14.95 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Sara Tantlinger is a phenom when it comes to horror poetry. Author of three poetry collections, including the award-winning The Devil’s Dreamland, Tantlinger is one of the vibrant new voices in horror poetry. Her newest collection, Cradleland of Parasites, is no exception, and this take on the Black Death is a brilliant and chilling book of poetry.Continue Reading

Review: Many Restless Concerns by Gayle Brandeis

cover of Many Restless Concerns by Gayle BrandeisMany Restless Concerns by Gayle Brandeis
Black Lawrence Press (February 14, 2020)
160 pages; $17.95 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Most horror readers are familiar with Elizabeth Batharoy, one of history’s most famous murderers and the source of much vampire lore. Much less is known about her victims, which leads readers and historians to a lot of speculation as to who these young women were and what drew them towards Batharoy’s clutches. In her newest poetry collection, Many Restless Concerns, Gayle Brandeis uses hybrid text techniques to give voice to these victims, channeling the idea of a collective voice, or chorus, as the persona in this really dark and enticing collection.Continue Reading

Review: Last Dance by Hanna Schroy

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cover of Last Dance by Hanna Schroy

Last Dance by Hanna Schroy
Iron Circus Comics (January 2021)
200 pages; $11.99 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Hanna Schroy is a cartoonist and illustrator living in Austin. She has participated in a multitude of self-published anthologies including Girls! Girls! Girls! curated by Alex Perkins and Thicker Than Blood curated by Mengmeng Liu. She is a long-time dance enthusiast and recent amateur gardener. Her newest endeavor is the middle-grade graphic novel Last Dance.Continue Reading

Review: Aftermath of an Industrial Accident by Mike Allen

cover of Aftermath of an Industrial Accident by Mike AllenAftermath of an Industrial Accident by Mike Allen
Mythic Delirium Books (July 2020)
238 pages, $15.95 Hardcover
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Anyone familiar with horror and dark fantasy knows the name Mike Allen. He’s been a Nebula, Shirley Jackson, and World Fantasy Award finalist. He’s won three Rhyslings from the SFPA. He’s edited a number of award winning books and anthologies. It’s no surprise, therefore, that his newest collection, Aftermath of an Industrial Accident, is an incredible read. This collection of horror and dark fantasy poetry and short fiction needs to be on the shelf of any horror reader.Continue Reading

Review: Meaningless Cycles in a Vicious Glass Prison: Songs of Death and Love by Anton Cancre

cover for Anton Cancre's poetry collectionMeaningless Cycles in a Vicious Glass Prison: Songs of Death and Love by Anton Cancre
Dragon’s Roost Press (October 2020)
114 pages, $9.99 Paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

In Meaningless Cycles in a Vicious Glass Prison: Songs of Death and Love, Anton Cancre creates scenes of death and works to capture them in short, poignant poems. Cancre works within various horror tropes but does his best to keep the ideas fresh and visceral for the reader. This is an interesting collection, and while the poetry is inconsistent at times, fans of horror poetry will enjoy perusing it.Continue Reading

Review: Something is Killing the Children Vol. 1 by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera

cover of the graphic novel Something is Killing the Children. Illustration of a child standing alone in the woods.Something is Killing the Children Vol. 1 by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera
BOOM! Studios (May 2020)

128 pages, $13.41 paperback; $12.74 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Something has been taking the children of Archer’s Peak. At first it was just one girl, and the police assumed it was a typical family kidnapping perpetrated by an uncle. But then, young James and his friends have a sleepover, and when it’s over, James is the only survivor. There are bodies and blood. The whole town is in chaos. Then, a stranger with an uncanny knowledge of things who talks to her stuffed-animal octopus arrives and says she’ll take care of things. Something is Killing the Children is a really strong series from writer James Tynion IV and artist Werther Dell’Edera.Continue Reading

Review: The Harrowing of Hell by Evan Dahm

cover of The Harrowing of Hell by Evan Dahmf HellThe Harrowing of Hell by Evan Dahm
Iron Circus Comics (August 2020)

128 pages, $15 hardcover
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

In Christian theology, The Harrowing of Hell is the story of Jesus Christ descending into Hell after his crucifixion and rising, triumphant, three days later on Easter. Evan Dahm has taken this story, as well as some details from apocryphal gospels, and created a very dark graphic novel that, while still religiously based, is sure to appeal to horror readers as well.Continue Reading

Review: Twelve – Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairytale by Andrea Blythe

cover of Twelve by Andrea BlytheTwelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale by Andrea Blythe
Interstellar Flight Press (September 7, 2020)

64 pages, $9.99 paperback; $5.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Andrea Blythe is a well-recognized name in speculative poetry. She is a widely published author, as well as a podcast host. Blythe is most known for her work with fairytales and folktales, and her newest collection, Twelve, based on the Brothers Grimm fairytale of the twelve dancing princesses, is a potent and exquisite addition to her already impressive body of work. Continue Reading

Review: On Quiet Earth: A Zombie Apocalypse Novel by Chris Kelly

cover of On Quiet Earth by Chris Kelly. Shows a decomposing human zombie.On Quiet Earth: A Zombie Apocalypse Novel by Chris Kelly
Severed Press (May 2020)

155 pages, $9.95 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

At first glance, On Quiet Earth reads like a typical zombie survivor novel. The plot is formulaic—survivors band together, try to outrun zombies, and live in a post-apocalyptic world. What makes Kelly’s take on this genre unique is his sparse prose which, coupled with the psychological aspects of the book, make for an interesting zombie read.Continue Reading

Review: A Route Obscure and Lonely by LindaAnn LoSchiavo

A Route Obscure and Lonely by LindaAnn LoSchiavo
The Wapshott Press (December 2019)

60 pages, $7.50 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

A Route Obscure and Lonely is a unique artifact in horror poetry. It’s primarily in blank verse, and while formal horror poetry isn’t rare, what makes LindaAnn LoSchiavo’s poetry unique is that she doesn’t let the form control her poems. While many formalist horror poets fall back on outdated tropes and clichés in their writing, LoSchiavo is able to use those tools and make a very rhythmic poem, while also using modern ideas and imagery to update her poems to 21st century pieces.Continue Reading

Review: Tea with Death: A Gothic Poetry Collection by Abigail Wildes and Jeanna Pappas (Illustrator)

cover of Tea with Death by Abigail Wildes and Jeanna PappasTea with Death: A Gothic Poetry Collection by Abigail Wildes and Jeanna Pappas (Illustrator)
Alban Lake Publishing (February 2020)

101 pages, $19.99 hardcover
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Gothic poetry is an interesting concept. Originally a nineteenth century invention and an offshoot of Romantic poetry, Gothic poetry was pretty much any poem that had elements of gothic literature. However, it was popularized by Romantic poets such as Keats and Coleridge, and became its own subgenre of poetry. Almost two hundred years later, it’s interesting that this subgenre of poetry is seeing a slight resurgence. Obviously, the advent of Gothic music and the Gothic subculture in the 1980s influenced this, but many speculative poets are returning to older models of poetry for inspiration. One such poet is Abigail Wildes, whose newest collection is Tea with Death.Continue Reading

Review: Bone Parish, Vol. 1 by Cullen Bunn (Author), Alex Guimaraes and Jonas Scharf (Illustrators)

Cover of Bone Parish Volume 1Bone Parish, Vol. 1 by Cullen Bunn (Author), Alex Guimaraes and Jonas Scharf (Illustrators)
BOOM! Studios (May 2019)

112 pages, $10.83 paperback; $9.13 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Bone Parish is described as a “chilling necromantic horror story.” The Ash is a new, popular drug sweeping the underground scene of New Orleans. As with any new drug, rival gangs and interests are fighting over the supply, while few know the true secret of its origin — it’s made from the ashes of dead bodies. The visions The Ash produces are spectacular and unique, literally allowing the user to experience someone else’s life, until they overdose and die from the high. Writer Cullen Bunn is able to combine the traditional Gothic milieu of New Orleans with a horror story of necromancy and a typical drug dealer anti-hero story into one really interesting experience for the reader.Continue Reading