Fantasy Kit

Adam McOmber. Black Lawrence, $21.95 trade paper (134p) ISBN 978-1-62557-037-6

Horror author McOmber (The Ghost Finders) uses these 35 speculative shorts to demonstrate the narrative range he can achieve remixing an established set of themes and images, from the weird to the horrific. Figure is a key word across many of these tales, describing everything from a flickering celluloid phantom in “A Horror” to the hirsute solidity of the eponymous monster in “Loup-Garou.” Reiterated across so many situations, this vague term conjures an artist’s jointed wooden model that can be posed anywhere. Other elements similarly recur, if not so obsessively, among them Roman youths (“A Roman Road,” “An Orgy”), children’s stories (“Pan and Hook,” “Deep in the Hundred Acre Wood”), and obscured faces (“The Maze,” “Man with Pillow”). Unpleasant sexual encounters also feature; Jesus, for example, rapes John in “A Memory of the Christ by the Apostle John,” launching John into a terrifying vision of “a cold figure... who would never speak.” Sex is not a connection, and communication is nearly impossible. There’s an alienating chill over all the tales, but none are likely to give readers sleepless nights. Still, the technical experimentation and many of the images will stick in the mind after the final page is turned. McOmber’s fans will want to check this out. (June)
PW EDITORS’ PICKS FOR
THE BEST NEW BOOKS
PW EDITORS’ PICKS FOR THE BEST NEW BOOKS