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This is a fantastic cosmic horror anthology. I wish I had gotten to it sooner! A few of my notes about each story:
“The Incident at the Old McKinley Farm” by Thomas K. Wake. A rural area is visited by a fog that turns out to be more than a fog. I loved the dread in this one and Wake’s use of mind control as a story element.
“Awakening the Freezer” by Nicholas J. Evans. This story has Minority Report vibes. Loved it. (This one and "Under the Floor" were my favorites, though all of the stories are good.)
“She Who Laughs Last” by E.C. Hanson. Something’s going down at the elementary school. We get the story primarily through one of the teachers, Sally. It’s bleak. Is the world ending? The contrast between humans yearning for real life connections and their connections to their phones only elevates the bleakness. Well done.
“As to an Ant” by R.F. Blackstone. Alexander Logue is a military man who must do a high-altitude, low-(parachute)-opening jump to rescue a comrade. Blackstone makes the reader think it’s behind enemy lines like in any other war, but the enemy is much older than a simple human organization. Even though the writing style didn’t click with me, I loved the plot and can imagine it on the big screen.
“What’s Your Handle?” by Tim Mendees. Ashley Willmott is obsessed with contacting alien life. He’s on his radios all the time to the point of drunk-radioing. Mendees teases the reader: is Ash going insane, or did he really contact alien life? The story tension keeps mounting until the final reveal. Fabulous story!
“Under the Floor” by Bryson Richard is the scariest story (what’s down in the basement?!) and borders on extreme horror. Not for the squeamish, but very well written!
“Monster Among Men” by Scott Harper is Lovecraftian and what I expected to see in a cosmic horror collection. I like all kinds of horror, but those who like cosmic horror will particularly enjoy this one.
“The Ancient Evil” by A.P. Sessler. Sometimes humor and horror don’t mix, but Sessler does it with skill. Sessler starts with cosmic horror tropes and throws in absurdity, parody, and a dash of madcap. Fab, light-hearted story with a morbid under-story.
“Not Long Now” by Jonathan Watts. Watts hints at the beginning of the story that something is not going to go well for the job-seeker protagonist. But it’s much, much worse than I expected. Kept me glued to the page.
It's a bit mixed, like most short story collections. A few stories feel less tied in to the cosmic horror theme or just go more for general grotesquery, but there are a decent number that worked well for me. I think it's a reasonable recommend.
A lot of this book was not cosmic horror at all and none of it was very impressive. The one about frozen ppl was especially nihilist in a way that really irritates me. There was one decent one, but that's not worth the price of admission. I'd return this book in a second if I didn't know that Amazon would gouge the author more money than the book cost (yeah, they do that, apparently)