Book Reviews, Horror, Short Stories

Horrors Beyond (edited by William Jones)

Horrors BeyondHorrors Beyond
Edited by William Jones
Elder Signs Press, Inc. (2005), Paperback
ISBN: 0975922920 / 9780975922927
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I picked up this book at Dragon*Con 2006 and read it on the airplane. On the whole, the stories are of decent quality; the first few in particular were engaging and very well-written. I particularly enjoyed “One Way Conversation”; I was forced to stop reading this one halfway through because our plane landed in Denver, and I was rushing to our next gate just so I could pick it up again and finish it.

If you pick up this book, however, I strongly urge you to rip out pages 183 through 234 before you start reading. Two of the stories in this collection — “The Prototype” and “False Containment” were very poorly written, with linguistic constructions that had me gritting my teeth every few sentences and very little sense of pacing. “False Containment” at least had an intriguing idea, but the story felt more like an outline than a finished piece of work to me. “The Prototype” seemed hackneyed and cliched, and I honestly could not understand how this story made it into the collection. “Dingbats” was completely incoherent, and I gave up on it halfway through, since I had absolutely no idea what was going on, despite having reread the first few pages twice, nor any sense of where the story was going, and I had no idea who I was supposed to sympathize with.

After “Dingbats” the quality picks up again, though none of the stories after that rise up to the same quality as “One Way Conversation”. These stories are mediocre, nothing earth shattering, but decent brain candy for a two hour flight.

On the whole: there are a couple of gems in this collection which I’m glad I read, but the overall quality ranges from abysmal to mediocre. For that reason, I would hesitate to recommend this collection.