REVIEW: “Click” by Brian Evenson

Review of Brian Evenson, “Click”, Nightmare Magazine Issue 61: Read Online. Reviewed by Winnie Ramler.

In a word- creepy. What do you do when you can’t trust your own memory- when you have no memories to trust? When we forget something, we search for clues and cues- something to help everything “click”, but what if that thing never comes?

More than just a story of how frightening memory loss can be, Evenson’s story made me reflect on the nature of hospitals, care from doctors, and the ways in which we can be mislead by those we are supposed to trust. The main character has no concrete memories to hold on to; he must accept what those around him are telling him. He is given conflicting information and finds it hard to trust even the things he sees with his own two eyes. The nature of reality is fickle, and our grasp on it even more so.

I enjoyed the ways this story moved. We keep moving even when we have questions and things don’t make sense. There is no space to pause and try and ruminate. What would be the point anyways? The reader has as little information as the main character which forces us to experience things as he does with only the barest glimmer of hope that we will get some answers. But what if we never do?

REVIEW: “Don’t Turn on the Lights” by Cassandra Khaw

Review of Cassandra Khaw, “Don’t Turn on the Lights”, Nightmare Magazine 61: Read Online. Reviewed by Winnie Ramler.

I love stories which examine the act of storytelling itself. Khaw reminds us that the story can still surprise us. All it takes is the shifting of a few details. The core may stay the same, but the the impact changes. Horror as a genre can be particularly formulaic in its approach. Readers may expect certain things- for the story to be told in a certain way. Khaw plays with these expectations as she crafts a discussion about who is telling the story and why.

Sally (if that is her real name) isn’t a protagonist in the strictest sense. Instead she is the lens through which we view the story. Like a cardboard cutout, she is dressed in different plots and motivations as we are asked to question what we think we know to be true.

The casual voice of the narrator lent itself well to the varying story plots. Like a museum tour guide, we are taken on a journey through perspective, and not knowing where you’re going is part of the excitement. This was a super fun spooky read that reminded me just how much I love horror.