cover image Black Horse and Other Strange Stories

Black Horse and Other Strange Stories

Jason A. Wyckoff. Tartarus (, $50 (266p) ISBN 978-1-905784-41-7

In several of the 16 inventive tales that make up Wyckoff's first collection of weird fiction, characters sidestep effortlessly%E2%80%94and, to their dismay, obliviously%E2%80%94from the world of everyday normality to dark and dangerous realms that about it. In "The Highwall Horror," a hole in an office cubicle's padding proves a portal to a dimension inhabited by insectoid entities. "Panorama" tells of a man who loses himself in an alternate reality painted by an artist friend. In "The Trucker's Story," movers packing up exhibits from a museum of oddities discover afterwards that each has unaccountably "lost" several years of his life. Though most of these stories skirt the surreal, a number are straightforward tales of horror, including "Raise Up the Serpent," in which children rescued from a Satanic cult prove not to be the innocent victims their benefactors take them for, and "Intermediary," a clever exercise in psychological horror. Although somewhat stilted in their telling, these tales are the work of a writer skilled at navigating the twists and turns of his unconventional horror themes. (June)