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Tales from a Talking Board Kindle Edition
Edited by Ross E. Lockhart, Tales from a Talking Board examines these questions--and more--with tales of auguries, divination, and fortune telling, through devices like Ouija boards, tarot cards, and stranger things.
So dim the lights, place your hands upon the planchette, and ask the spirits to guide you as we present fourteen stories of the strange and supernatural by Matthew M. Bartlett, Nadia Bulkin, Nathan Carson, Kristi DeMeester, Orrin Grey, Scott R. Jones, David James Keaton, Anya Martin, J. M. McDermott, S.P. Miskowski, Amber-Rose Reed, Tiffany Scandal, David Templeton, and Wendy N. Wagner.
About the Author
- ASIN : B075J3Q4MM
- Publisher : Word Horde (October 24, 2017)
- Publication date : October 24, 2017
- Language : English
- File size : 1454 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 177 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,176,337 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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I enjoyed the stories while I was reading them, but I found that most of them didn’t stay with me. One that did, though I’m not sure why, was David James Keaton’s “Spin the Throttle”; its account of teenagers on a bus, complete with hot tub as well as plenty of booze and drugs, speeding to nowhere as an endless, rolling party, didn’t make a lot of sense, but something about it was haunting. On a more cheerful note, my favorite story was David Templeton’s “Questions and Answers,” about a class for the newly dead (nicknamed according to the often-bizarre manners of their deaths) who have been assigned to be the spirits who answer the living via Ouija boards. There are Rules for doing this, it seems—but the most interesting things, including the naming of a famous rock band and its leader, happen when the rules are broken. This story’s warmth and humor contrasted sharply with the downbeat nature of most of the other tales.
As is always the case with anthologies, I enjoyed some of the stories more than others. Yet, as a collected work, I was very impressed by the quality of all the fourteen stories, which were very well written. The editor collected a fantastic range of stories, representing so many different facets of the horror genre. There was a good mix of supernatural and realistic horror. Some of the stories were quite dark and gruesome, while others could be safely consumed by readers who do not typically read the genre.
The challenge of having such a specific anthology theme is that the stories can potentially feel repetitive. However, this was not the case with this collection. The authors avoided this pitfall by each approaching the concept of Ouija boards in a unique and creative way. A few of the stories in the collection took more traditional approaches to the topic, which I certainly enjoyed, while other stories used the idea of the board in completely unexpected ways. Some interpretations were quite literal, while others were completely outside of the box.
The book starts with a fascinating, brief introduction explaining the history of the Ouija board, moving from spiritual tools to benign toys for children. This introduction provided readers, like myself, with the necessary context and background to fully appreciate the collection as a whole.
Here are my thoughts on the individual short shories:
Kristi Demeester - "YesNoGoodbye"
The anthology started out strong with this creepy short story. Told in first person perspective, the narrative was absolutely engrossing, from beginning to end. The story had some fantastic diverse representation with a closeted lesbian protagonist. The writing was clear and concise with vivid, creepy, descriptions scattered throughout the pages. Blending together realistic horror with the supernatural, the story touched upon some very dark and disturbing subject matter. I love a story that can make me so uncomfortable, twisting my stomach into knots. This was one of my favourite stories in the collection.
J. M. McDermott – The Devil and the Bugle Boys
This story had a nostalgic, yet dark tone featuring a group of immature, profane teenager who felt like very realistic adolescent boys.
Anya Martin – Weegee Weegee, Tell Me Do
Featuring a stage performer, this story was a departure from the more classic stories of children playing with boards.
Nathan Carson – When the Evil Days Come Not
This was a compelling narrative set a mysterious school with only three students. The use of the Ouija board set up a wonderfully ominous situation. Mixing together elements of mystery with horror, this story was unexpected and dark.
Tiffany Scandal – Grief
As the title suggested, this is quite emotional and sad read.
David James Keaton – Spin the Throttle
This was an interesting re-imagining of the Ouija board experience without using an actual board. This story included some dark and gruesome moments.
S.P. Miskowski – Pins
Centered around fortune telling rather than Ouija boards, this story was more about the people than the supernatural.
Matthew M. Bartlett – Deep into the Skin
This was easily the most intense and gruesome story in the entire collection. This one is not the for feint of heart. Dark and suspenseful, this story was so memorable and another one of my personal favourites.
Wendy N. Wagner – The Burnt Sugar Stench
This was an interesting, mind-bending story, which left me craving candy. It read more like a piece of science fiction, than horror. As a fan of both genres, I really enjoyed this one even though it did not have the strongest connection the collection's theme.
Amber-Rose Reed – The Empress and the Three of Swords
This was one of the shorter, quieter stories in the collection.
Scott R Jones – Worse than Demons
This story was written as the transcripts of an interview with a fictional horror filmmaker. The movies described sounded so compelling that I kept wishing they were real so I could actually watch them.
David Templeton – Questions and Answers
This was one of the probably the entertaining story in the collection. The idea entire behind this story was incredibly creative and fun. This was not at all scary, but surprisingly heart-warming. Regardless of genre, this was simply just a very good story that will appeal to a wide range of readers.
Orrin Grey – Haruspicate or Scry
I appreciated that this story addressed the social pressures of having children. The author provided an honest narrative of a women who simply had no desire to get pregnant and start a traditionally family. Despite addressing these serious topics, the story will managed to create an unsettling tone.
Nadia Bulkin – May You Live in Interesting Times
Written by an Indonisian author, this story is an excellent example of diversity in horror. Featuring a Muslim, Malasyian main character, this story offered a unique perspective rarely show in the genre. The politics and social demographics of Indonesia were written seamlessly into the plot, while still providing a wonderfully creepy story. The narrative was dark and compulsive, with an ending that made me do a double take. This is another story I highly recommend.
Anthologies are great opportunities to sample the work of several writers at one time. I personally intend to check out more stories by several of the talented authors featured in this collection.
I would highly recommend this anthology to wide range of readers from horror newbies to novices. Regardless of your experience reading the genre, there are stories in this collection that will appeal to just about every reader.
I requested this book from Word Horde Publishing (because, again, Ouija board themed anthologies are pretty much amazing).
Of course, as any of a number of horror movies have taught us, it's also about the quickest way for things to go supernaturally bad, which only adds to the fun. In this book are fourteen stories exploring this seemingly harmless child's toy / witch's keyboard of utter evil, plus the editor's introduction about its fascinating history.
Now, okay, the degree to which these fourteen tales actually involve a board varies ... some focus on cards or other methods of divination/communication ... but the feeling, that exquisite sense of apprehension and possibility, comes through strongly in them all.
If I had one problem with some of the stories, it's with how many of them ended with a kind of leave-you-hanging ... as if the planchette stopped moving, spirits come back, spirits tell me more! Yet even that kind of fits here. Maybe we can't get all the answers. Maybe we shouldn't push our luck to ask.
Among my personal picks would have to be Anya Martin's saucy-fun but ominous Vaudeville-days "Weegee, Weegee, Tell Me Do," David Templeton's clever take on the afterlife in "Questions and Answers," the uncanny candy clairvoyance of Wendy Wagner's "The Burnt Sugar Stench," Matthew M. Bartlett's tattoos-with-a-dark-twist in "Deep Into the Skin," Nadia Bulkin's insidiously haunting "May You Live In Interesting Times," and the sheer night-ride-purgatory weirdness factor of David James Keaton's "Spin the Throttle."
Heh, there I go again, with my faves list still ending up being almost half the TOC, and even narrowing it down that much was a close contest. Tales From A Talking Board is another winner from Word Horde.