Review: “Bloom” by John Langan

3 of 5 stars.

Psychological horror meets supernatural urban fantasy in this short story as Rick and Connie pull over on the Thruway to salvage an organ donor cooler aside the road. They take it home.

Without hospitals, police or emergency personnel claiming a missing cooler, the couple contemplate the ice-filled chest and whether to open it. Both are soon plagued with visions and dreams of Rick’s father, a Alzheimer’s-compromised professor that made career-ending claims of aliens coming to Earth from dwarf planet Sedna. Gary wants them to open the cooler . . .

This tale takes the reader on a psychological bender almost to the point of incomprehension. Points must be awarded for conveying imagery that evokes plant, animal, and ethereal overlappingly. The horror “blooms” in this story, like toxic algae, or an orchid . . .

“Bloom” appears in New Cthulhu 2: More Recent Weird edited by Paula Guran after originally appearing in Black Wings II, ed. S. T. Joshi (PS Publishing, 2012). I’d previously read Langan’s “Children of the Fang” which also employed a slow seething, psychological horror across generations of a family.
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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