cover image Indignities of the Flesh

Indignities of the Flesh

Bentley Little. Subterranean (, $35 (208p) ISBN 978-1-59606-478-2

This collection of 10 nightmarish short stories by Stoker winner Little (The Haunted) is enhanced by the author’s brief contextual introductions and the accompanying pen-and-ink illustrations by Hugo-winning artist Bob Eggleton, which complement the stories without dictating the reader’s visualization. Standouts include the surreal family “celebration” in “Happy Birthday, Dear Tama,” from its opening line—“Puppies were so nice when they were dead, Tama thought”—to its horrific conclusion, and “Gingerbread,” in which a family gift of bringing dough to life takes a dark turn. Less satisfying are stories like “Valet Parking” and “The Black Ladies” that rely too heavily on dream-logic and lack internal consistency. The collection, spanning more than two decades, contains Little’s trademark visceral descriptives and Southwest settings, sure to please fans who may have missed some of the more obscure entries. (June)