Review: “A Wish from a Bone” by Gemma Files

2 of 5 stars.

This short story recounts a television crew’s archaeological expedition into war-torn Sudan and their ensuing supernatural possession.

The crew, led by Goss and Hynde, find an easily overlooked ancient temple that contains a deep dry well at its core. The well is inscribed with a Sumerian relief of The Terrible Seven, which are a septet of apocalyptic demons or angels (depending on the source) known as the Maskim.

Hynde, on tape, starts to lecture on the archaeological context when, under the possession of one of the Terrible Seven, he starts to chant ancient verses of their arrival. Meanwhile, a sandstorm forms around the site and all communication cuts off . . .

The unsure nature of third-person identifying a possession and the psychologically compromised first-person recounting of a possession are depicted through a muddle of italics, quotes, and bold fonts. The resultant blur of human characters, Terrible Spirits, prophesy, dialogue, thoughts and actions does nothing to aid the plot. A longer form of tale would have time to build the mythos and establish clearer POVs.

“A Wish from a Bone” appears in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror: 2015 edited by Paula Guran and published by Prime Books. It first appeared in Fearful Symmetries, ed. Ellen Datlow (ChiZine Publications).
[Check out my other reviews here.]

5 responses to “Review: “A Wish from a Bone” by Gemma Files

    • Most of the reviews you see here are short stories that are included within larger anthologies. I try to read 1-2 short stories per day and chip away at whatever novel I’m currently reading. And get some writing in. Obviously, life and work impinge. All of the “disturbing” shorts are from the Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, so they are doing their job by being disturbing. I received a huge chunk of anthologies by Prime Books and decided to do the 1-2 shorts/day thing just to keep up and get the anthology reviews out by the print date. Actually, really excited to be entrusted with so many ARCs for a co. that doesn’t use NetGalley.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, that explains it. As a person who used to read four hundred pages a day (then I discovered SPN and got a blog, and the rest is history), I applaud you.
        That explains the disturbingness.
        That’s awesome that you’ve been entrusted with so much. Keep going 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Lol, If you go to the top of my blog you’ll see a “Book Review Index by Author.” That is the list of novels, short stories, anthologies and poetry collections that I have reviewed since starting the blog last September [with a couple back dated to August when I joined Goodreads]. I had not been reading for a while before that. Making up for lost time I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

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