Horror With Something To Say,
This review is from: Chiral Mad (Paperback)
A lot of charity anthologies aren't very good. There, I've said it. A lot aren't bad either, but it's rare to find one that's actually a superior book in its own right. Chiral Mad is raising money to support Downs Syndrome charities, and while that's very worthy I don't recommend that you buy the book for that reason. Instead, I recommend it as that rarest of things - a vastly superior collection of smart, stylish modern horror. You should buy and read it, because it's a phenomenally good book. That's all the reason you need. These stories show just how intelligent and relevant the horror genre can be when it frees itself from shock, gore, and an obligation to actually scare you. These are stories that look at your life and the world you live in, peel back the edges, and say something about what's underneath. Like the best of science fiction, these are stories that comment on the world.
They're fun too, and constantly surprising. My own highlights start with Megan Arcuri's witty and disturbing 'Inevitable', which takes an entertaining body swap scenario and uses it to poke at what identity is. Gary McMahon delivers 'Some Pictures In An Album', in which photographs are examined for forgotten truths and tell a disturbing story full of blanks that you as the reader have to complete as you see fit. Gary A. Braunbeck gives snapshots of a different life that is rotting at the centre in 'Need'. There are many more I loved. Amidst the twenty-seven tales here there were perhaps five that didn't work for me at all, draping vast quantities of style over too little substance, but that's a a staggeringly good hit rate. It's a real pleasure finding the genre I love (but often get frustrated with, due to lack of ambition from so many practitioners) presented with such relevance and skill.