Vivisepulture edited by Andy Remic & Wayne Simmons

This is an anthology of short stories from Anarchy Books. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to say about this collection even as I write this as although I enjoyed it there were things that were not as good as I was expecting. I was expecting a more definite theme running through all the stories. Other than very out there weird scary stuff I didn’t find one, but that wasn’t a huge issue for me. The biggest surprise for me was that I found a story that I just couldn’t read. I can’t even tell you why I didn’t like it, but every time I started reading it I got unreasonably annoyed and put my Kindle down. Given the lack of reading time I’ve had this year that was a bad thing. After a couple of weeks I gave up and skipped on past to the next story. I won’t name the story or author, I’l let you read it and try to guess which story I was talking about. The majority of the stories are excellent, and if you only have small reading periods this book works quite nicely.

If you’re going to start a book, then a big name author delivering a killer short story is always a good way to go. I am a fan of the Polity universe, and being an Essex boy I do like to support a local author (especially such a good one). After that things got a little weird for me as I realised that I follow most of the authors on twitter. Not always because they are a writer. Take Lee Harris for example (yes punish him, er sorry too much caffeine). I follow Lee because I like to know what is happening with Angry Robot Books and also because he is a genuine nice guy who says some interesting stuff (well worth a follow). I’ve enjoyed one of Lee’s stories before, but ‘You Always Remember Your First’ was one of the most shocking stories I’ve read in a while. I actually stopped after the first paragraph and re-read it to check it wasn’t just my warped mind altering the words. It wasn’t. This was my favourite story in the collection. I had to read it in one sitting despite needing to get on with other things, it was that enthralling for me.

I love the different settings and time periods as well as the different styles represented in this books. Ian Sales and his ‘Wunderwaffe’ and Jeffrey Thomas with ‘The Lost Family’ offer you a complete change of perspective and view from outside the garden. Time travelling Nazi scientists can never be a good thing and Ian Sales certainly shows the potential for wholesale ruin, whereas as Jeffrey Thomas manages to enclose the battle for human souls within a Hellish construct. Angels and Demons fighting through eternity in a pointless and never-ending war. The real life parallels are rather scary.

Recently I read about the author Paul Cornell (not featured in this book but bear with me) deciding that this year at conventions he will only sit on panels that have female representation on the. If the high quality stories from Jordan Reyne and Danie Ware are anything to go by then we could do a lot worse than give more talented young ladies (as  has just been pointed out to me I actually mean any ladies not just the young ones) an opportunity to show that they can write scary and thought provoking stories as well as anybody.

Other than one story I could not stand and a couple that I thought were a little weak this is a great collection of scary and thought proving stories.


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