AS THE SUN GOES DOWN

Tim Lebbon, Author, Ramsey Campbell, Introduction by
Tim Lebbon, Author, Ramsey Campbell, Introduction by AS THE SUN GOES DOWNTim Lebbo $25 (248p) ISBN 978-1-892389-08-4
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Unpleasant people doing disgusting things is a theme that bludgeons its way through this collection of 16 horror stories (12 previously unpublished), by British Fantasy Award winner Lebbon. First up is "The Empty Room," an unsuspenseful gagger about one boy tormenting another then leaving him in the clutches of a monster, while he bargains with the dying kid for his stuff. Equally heinous is "The Butterfly," in which Mary's mother, who "must have shit me out, then carried on fucking the doctor," tries to get Mary eaten by lions to collect on insurance money. When the lions won't bite, Mummy Dearest runs over Mary's legs. Ultimately Mary has her revenge when wild creatures only she can see eat her neighbors, innocent and guilty alike. In Lebbon's science fictional exercise, "Dust," an overweight man in a downed spacecraft is tormented by his companions. Locking him away from the little food left, they delight in torturing him. Some "aliens" and an abusive father also appear, but they do nothing to illuminate these characters or make them more appetizing. There's also a fantasy, "King of the Dead," in which every living thing on an otherwise innocuous island dies horribly. In the closer, "Bomber's Moon," death is clearly the preferred outcome as Danny, who did a horrible deed in wartime, is "feeling the tides of life slowly drawing away from him. With them, went the nightmares." If only the nightmares and unpleasantries created by this collection would also fade so peacefully away. (Apr.)

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