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The darker side : generations of horror

by John Pelan;

  Print book : Fiction

1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Selected story summaries   (2018-12-28)


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by billborre

"Unspeakable" by Lucy Taylor - A woman who is molested by her stepfather is given ordinary words during the act that she will associate with sexual stimulation. This experience makes her feel sex is shameful and in the absence of these words she is frigid. When she meets a thug that she is attracted to he makes her tell him what happened to her. He tracks her stepfather down, learns the words he used on his daughter, then stabs him to death. When he returns to her she is shocked to find that he has carved the words into his penis so that the scars would enable her to climax with him.

"Pets" by James S. Dorr - Gregor tells nurse Eva that he keeps pets when he brings her to his apartment but she is startled to see he is referring to roaches. Eva is later killed in the apartment during an enemy bombing and Gregor wakes in the hospital after having been out for two days only to find his leg amputated. He returns to the apartment only to find Eva's bones picked clean by the roaches. He places the bones in the bed and lies next to her as the roaches consume his spreading gangrene.

"What God Hath Wrought" by Randy D. Ashburn - George suspects his alcoholic wiccan wife of murdering their baby girl but after murdering his wife with a fireplace poker when she slaps their son Timmy Timmy admits to George that he killed the baby because it was upsetting mommy. Timmy's mom has taught him a resurrection spell and the boy returns the mother as a zombie so the three of them will live as a family happily ever after.

"Do You See What I Fear?" by Edo van Belkom - A woman who has had a brain tumor removed recently sees shadow figures surrounding those who are fated to subsequently die. When the shadow figures realize that she is aware of them one of their number suggests to her that she hang herself and she accepts the idea as a way to be free of the knowledge of when the people around her will die.

"The Mannerly Man" by Mehitobel Wilson - This story postulates a society where citizens possess the Right to One, meaning that they can kill any one person they choose to and not be punished by the Authorities but if they exceed one killing they are executed. 

"The Misfit Child Grows Fat on Despair" by Tom Piccirilli - John, an obese man who can capture the souls of those who die within his vicinity and absorb them into himself, is present as a bank robbery occurs and feeds on the souls of a murdered teller and one of the thieves.

"Armies of the Night" by John Pelan - Neve attempts to convince Ian that her dead husband's army miniatures hate her. Before she can dispose of them one of the suspended planes falls from the ceiling severing her jugular leaving her to bleed out.

"Ten Bucks Says You Won't" by Richard Laymon - Kids bet one of their number that he won't go out to the cemetery after dark and defecate on the grave of a disliked teacher. The spirit of the teacher rises from the dead to seek vengeance.

"Pull" by Brian Hodge - A man that the neighborhood guys haven't seen for ten years returns to visit his dying grandmother and after she dies one of his friends contemplates how the neighborhood effects those who live in it.

"All the World's A Stage" by Brian Keene - Jim investigates an abandoned theater when townspeople go missing only to learn that the ghosts of long dead movie stars are kidnapping them in order to have a captive audience.

"Mamishka and the Sorcerer" by Jessica Amanda Salmonson - Mamishka convinces her lover Anton the Jew to flee as he has been accused of sorcery but his pursuers catch up to him after putting Mamishka to the sword and kill him.

"We're All Bozos on This Bus!" by Peter Crowther - Frank thinks he's going on a bus ride with his new foster parents but it turns out everyone on the bus belongs to a coven which is taking Frank into the woods to be sacrificed to their dark entity.

"Standing Water" by Caitlin R. Kiernan - Shanna and Elvin are two bookstore clerks perplexed by a mysterious puddle of standing water out in the alley behind the shop.

"Hell Came Down" by Tim Lebbon - Lucien is a rainmaker whose attempts to bring rain produce only monsters. His mentor attempts to hunt him down and kill him.

"Spirits of the Flesh" by Seth Lindberg - An aging necromancer is trapped by the spirits in his own body when he becomes too enfeebled to control them any longer.

"The Origin" by David B. Silva - This story details the life of a young boy named Dylan Wakefield who grows up to be a thrill killer.

"Just Someone Her Mother Might Know" by Michelle Scalise - A woman's dead mother spies on her as she has sex with her lover.










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