Anthology Review: Whispers of the Abyss 2: The Horrors That Were and Shall Be ed. by Kat Rocha

Whispers From The Abyss 2: The Horrors That Were and Shall BeWhispers From The Abyss 2: The Horrors That Were and Shall Be by Laird Barron

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This anthology solidly delivers an array of Lovecraft inspired tales. Accordingly, horror and the supernatural permeate the collection with heavy doses of absurdist bents. While the horrific and unfathomable comprise the lion’s share, there is humor and heartfelt represented, too.

Most tales share a fresh perspective rising above Lovecraft fan fiction. The best of the bunch carve their own path through the mythos to great effect. I’ve separately reviewed and rated each of the collection’s component stories, giving top honors and 5 stars to “Shadow Transit” by Ferrett Steinmetz in which a mother is heartbreakingly losing her daughter to forces and voices beyond her understanding.

My 4-star honorable mentions include Robert Stahl’s “Gifts” which also tackles mental illness with compassion and originality. Three others raise the stakes on Lovecraftian horror: Martin James Hunter’s “The Dreadful Machine”, Jonathan Sharp’s “Skoptsy” and Greg Stolze’s “I Saw the Light”. Two more play with Lovecraft’s myth of the dysmorphic folks of Innsmouth. Deborah Walker’s “Baby Rhyme Time: Youngsters Enjoy Initiation at Innsmouth Public Library” takes a playful approach while David Busboom’s “The Vindication of Y’ha-nthlei” employs the 1930’s detective noir voice to wonderful results.

Also included are:
Barron, Laird–“Strident Caller”–3 stars
Enos, Joel–“Now We Are Nine”–3 stars
Fitch, Marc E.–“God Does Damn the Mind”–3 stars
Foster, John C.–“His Carnivorous Regard”–3 stars
Grey, Orrin–“The Labyrinth of Sleep”–3 stars
Hans, Sarah–“Shadows of the Darkest Jade”–3 stars
Palisano, John–“Lucky Chuck Takes the Sunshine Express”–3 stars
Paradias, Konstantine–“Echoes in Porcelain”–3 stars
Pinchuk, Tom–“Nyarlathotep’s Way”–3 stars
Wetmore, Kevin–“Notebook Concerning the Class Struggle in Dunwich, Found in the Ruins of a Construction Site”–3 stars
Wise, A. C.–“We Are Not These Bodies, Strung Between the Stars”–3 stars
Detwiller, Dennis–“The Knot”–2 stars
Fifer, Chad–“The Baby Downstairs”–2 stars
Goodfellow, Cody–“Red Americans”–2 stars
Hudson, Michael–“Five Minutes or Less”–2 stars
Wunner, Nathan–“Death May Die”–2 stars
Byers, Richard Lee–“Kickstarter”–1 star
Poots, Samuel–“The Thing in the Fridge”–1 star

I received this new anthology directly from 01 Publishing through bookreviewdirectory.wordpress.com. They have a Kickstarter Campaign now started and running through April 10, 2016 to expand the collection from e-form to print. As usual, the campaign includes many cool incentives– inspired by Lovecraft, naturally.

[Check out my other reviews here.]

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