REVIEW: “The Night Kingdom” by Shikhar Dixit

Review of Shikhar Dixit, “The Night Kingdom”, Weird Horror 1 (2020): 62-68 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Content note: Corpses, severe injury, nonconsentual commitment to mental institution.

Now this was my kind of horror! Haunted books, twisted stories, Cathar heresy, and a pervasive uncertainty of what the cause of it all is, all written in an engaging and characterful style. Thumbs up.

REVIEW: “The Devil and the Divine” by Inna Effress

Review of Inna Effress, “The Devil and the Divine”, Weird Horror 1 (2020): 29-34 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

I loved the combination of horror and fantasy that comprised this story. The foreign setting was just familiar enough to make you feel like what was happening could’ve happened anywhere, perhaps even here in the real world; and Clava’s desperate, perverted desire to become the beheld instead of the beholder, and the steps that she takes to achieve this end were chilly and creepy. Beneath all of these was the uncertainty I had whether Clava was the villain — or the victim.

To cap things off, David Bowman’s illustrations accompanying this story were really quite divine.

REVIEW: “White Noise in a White Room” by Steve Duffy

Review of Steve Duffy, “White Noise in a White Room”, Weird Horror 1 (2020): 18-27 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

This story was cleanly and precisely written with elegant language — every word necessary, to the point where I found myself having to go back and reread various parts of it, sometimes more than once, to ensure I wasn’t missing out on some important clue. It had a sort of hard-beaten/detective noir to it, but for all that, I’m not quite sure what was “horrible” about this story.

REVIEW: “Krazy Krax” by Naben Ruthnum

Review of Naben Ruthnum, “Krazy Krax”, Weird Horror 1 (2020): 10-14 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

This is the inaugural fiction story in Undertow Publication’s new horror serial, Weird Horror, which I received a review copy of via my friendship with David Bowman, one of the featured artists in the issue.

I haven’t read a print fiction journal in ages and loved really enjoyed it — it feels so nice in my hands, look so nice on the page, well-formed great art (not just Bowman both other artists are featured as well, with personalised art for every story), plus opinion columns and reviews in amongst the fiction.

But the fiction is what I’m here for, so let’s talk about Ruthnum’s story. For all that horror is a speculative genre, this story was full of gritty realism. The horror comes from how reasonable the narrator sounds, how sympathetic and empathetic, and how he never quite says what it is that has happened. Reading the story was a weird combination of humor and gaslight, and it was altogether creepy. A solid start to the issue, and to the journal itself!