Dreams of Ys and Other Invisible Worlds

Jonathan Thomas. Hippocampus (hippocampuspress.com), $20 trade paper (262p) ISBN 978-1-61498-134-3
Thomas (The Color over Occam) demonstrates a gift for subtle horror in his fourth story collection (after 2013's 13 Conjurations). The 13 tales feature full-blooded characters in complex interpersonal relationships, as in "Down the Hatch," which uses marital tension as a backdrop to the discovery of something ancient under the floor of a house without a cellar. Thomas evokes Lovecraft without resorting to slavish pastiche in such stories as "We Are Made of Stars," in which an unknown graffiti artist leaves those words behind throughout Providence, R.I. Time and again he hooks the reader from the opening sentence ("As a rule I washed up before lunch, especially after handling the luminous machine parts"; "I felt uncomfortably like a voyeur, but maybe that was the idea"). In "A Quirk of the Mistral," the most memorable selection, a summons takes the unnamed narrator, a professor of life sciences, to France. There his mentor, a retired professor, shows him a remarkable creature that seemingly survived centuries inside a piece of coal. Aficionados of subtle horror will look forward to seeing more of Thomas's work. (July)
Reviewed on: 11/16/2015
Release date: 07/01/2015
Genre: Fiction
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