The Blurb on Other People’s Words – Deep Cuts

March 19, 2013 at 1:53 am (horror, Reviews, writing) (, , , , )

It’s great to see a horror anthology dedicated to female horror writers, and the recommendations of stories written by these women. The premise was an interesting one and the anthology contained a diverse collection of tales with some well presented recommendations. Typical of any anthology, there were some stories I really enjoyed and others I wasn’t so keen on. In my opinion, the most enjoyable tales were gripping and straight to the point – as Chuck Wendig says:”Plain Stakes, Stabbed Hard Through Breastbone”. I believe a writer can hone in on the terrifying in either an obvious, visceral way or a more subtle, invasive way, and some of the stories achieved that. The stories that didn’t work for me were the ones that were too metaphorical, in some instances chaotically so, with endings that didn’t make much sense to me or seemed unnecessarily abrupt. Other readers may love these stories, but I didn’t. I think the editors may have been looking for a more “artistic” approach to horror with these, but I found them less engaging and less frightening as a result.

Overall, this was an entertaining anthology, but there were a couple of things that disappointed me – first was the number of stories written by men in an anthology dedicated to female horror writers. Submissions were open to all writers, so it didn’t come as a big surprise, and I understand the editors wanted to show female horror writers have influenced both male and female writers alike but I feel the best way to honour females in the genre is to showcase their work, not just praise it. I also didn’t like certain parts of the format. What I consider the best story in the anthology was first in the line-up, lending to a bit of a let-down after that. I also think that the extra recommendations included in the anthology should have been interspersed amongst the stories, rather than all lumped together at the end.

Here are the highlights of the anthology:

The introduction by Lisa Morton was superb, noting discrimination women writers face in the genre and stating examples she has encountered. She also pointed out, in a very passionate way, that successful female horror writers need to be recognized and celebrated or risk being forgotten.

The opening story, “Crash Cart” by Nancy Holder was both disturbing and frightening on many levels. It was a no holds barred story where the horror exists in the villain, the victim and the protagonist alike. This was my favourite story in the anthology.

Other stories I really enjoyed included “Hollow Moments” by R.S. Belcher- a chilling tale bent on striking fear in those of us who spend much of our lives thoughtlessly plodding through the routine and not really living, “Red Is the Colour of my True Love’s Blood” by Colleen Anderson – a vividly frightening story that blends colours and associated emotions and states of mind with unpleasant events, “Beavers” by Rachel Karyo – a disturbing tale that delves into how becoming a new mother without the proper supports in place can lead to mental instability, and “Pinprick” by Scathe meic Beorh – a story I appreciated in particular because of its dark humour.

The story recommendations were real gems and introduced me to writers that are now on my “to-read” list – a proper bonus to the anthology.

While I might have changed a few things about it if I could, I did enjoy this anthology and I’m including it on my recommended reading list.

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3 Comments

  1. Reviews for Deep Cuts | James Chambers Online said,

    […] the recently released Deep Cuts, including one from Darkeva’s Dark Delights and another from Word Blurb. Many thanks to Dark Eva for calling out my story as “one of the most disturbing.” Deep […]

  2. Scathe meic Beorh said,

    Many thanks! “Pinprick” is now in its expended 27K word novella form in my new story collection CHILDREN & OTHER WICKED THINGS published by James Ward Kirk.

  3. Scathe meic Beorh said,

    Possibly ‘expended,’ but ‘expanded’ to be sure.

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