cover image Orphans of Bliss: Tales of Addiction Horror

Orphans of Bliss: Tales of Addiction Horror

Edited by Mark Matthews. Wicked Run, $6.99 e-book (172p) ISBN 978-1-73669-505-0

For this powerhouse anthology, Matthews (The Hobgoblin of Little Minds) brings together 10 horror shorts that capture the vast variations in individual experiences of addiction. In the opening story, “You Wait for It, Like It Waits for You” by Kealan Patrick Burke, a booze- and pill-addicted father traverses dreams, reality, and memory while recovering from an overdose. Burke injects a captivating sense of ambiguity into the gorgeous descriptions, setting the tone for the rest of the anthology. Cassandra Khaw’s impressive ghost story “What We Name Our Dead” sees a woman repeatedly encountering the ghost of her pill-addicted father, who died by suicide. The prose and plot calls to mind 20th-century supernatural fiction, which Khaw masterfully injects with a contemporary spirit. The most artistically daring piece is “Singularity” by Kathe Koja, a brief but outstanding story melding the cosmic, the erotic, and a taste of the surreal. The star-studded lineup of authors—which also includes Josh Malerman and S.A. Cosby—aren’t always quite on their A-game, with a few pieces dragging on a bit too long. Still, these immersive and imaginative tales will be worthwhile for horror lovers. (May)