Simulacrum and Other Possible Realities

Jason V Brock. Hippocampus (www.hippocampuspress.com), $20 trade paper (252p) ISBN 978-1-61498-055-1
Although Brock (Totems and Taboos, a poetry collection) claims in the preface to his first weird fiction collection that readers will find "very few ‘straight-on' treatments of the standard tropes that seem to have taken over the post-King/Koontz/Barker era," most of the 16 story selections have a very familiar modern horror ring to them. "One for the Road" is a predictable tale of the terrors that beset a patron of a secluded highway rest-stop. "Black Box" is an acknowledged riff on the theme of Richard Matheson's gremlin-on-the-airplane- wing classic, "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet." "Van Helsing: His True Story" is yet another revisionist tale that presents the world's best-known vampire hunter as a worse monster than Dracula. Two of the book's more recent stories rise above the routine: "Milton's Children" is a well-wrought tale of Lovecraftian horrors that overwhelm an expedition to an island chain off Antarctica, and the eerie title tale is an account of a malignant figment of virtual reality that escapes into our own world. Poems interspersed between the stories are, for the most part, angst-ridden and polemical exercises that suggest that Brock, who's best known as a filmmaker, is still trying to find his way as a writer of fiction and verse. (June)
Reviewed on: 07/01/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
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